Fish Crow - Corvus ossifragus
The fish crow is around 15 inches in length. It is a glossy black with a squared-off to slightly rounded tail, a stout, pointed black bill with a slight hook at the end, and strong black legs and toes. It has stiff bristles over its nostrils. Males and females look alike. The fish crow is almost identical in looks to the American crow. It is slightly smaller and has a longer tail and longer wings, but the differences are very slight! In fact, the only way to easily tell them apart is by their calls. The American crow has a "caw caw" call, and the fish crow has a nasal "nyuh unh" call.
The fish crow is only found in the United States. It is found along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts. Some birds in the northern most part of its range may migrate in the fall.
The fish crow is found along fresh and salt water lakes, rivers, beaches, marshes, and estuaries. It may also be found at the edge of forested areas near marshes and estuaries.
The fish crow is omnivorous. It eats turtle and bird eggs, crabs, shrimp, fledgling birds, seeds, insects, peanuts, grains, and fruit. It also eats carrion and garbage. It feeds on the ground, around the edge of the water, and in shallow water. It also forages in trees for eggs and nestlings.
The male and the female build a nest of twigs lined with pine needles, animal hair, weeds, grass, and Spanish moss. The female lays 4-5 light blue-green eggs with brown blotches. The female incubates the eggs. The eggs hatch in 16-18 days. The male brings food to the female while she is incubating the eggs. The chicks fledge in 28-35 days.
The fish crow's range has been expanding. It has been moving up the Mississippi River and along its tributaries in recent years.
Audio Credit: xeno-canto.org Mike Nelson