corvidaid. caring for corvids and other wildlife

The Carrion Crow

The carrion crow (corvus corone) is found throughout Britain. Its feathers are completely black, although a stunning purple to blue sheen can be seen in the light.

A carrion crow’s length can range from anything between 45 to 56cm – which makes an average bird larger than a rook, but smaller than a raven (a huge corvid at the best of times). At Corvid Aid though, we have seen both very small crows and overly large ones!

Males are usually larger than females, although this is not always the case – and so should not be used as a reliable indicator of a bird’s sex.

A carrion crow’s bill and legs are black; the inside of the mouth is pink in youngsters turning to black as a bird reaches maturity – a useful trait for identifying a crow’s age. Eyes are dark brown in adults and blue/grey in youngsters.

The wings in-flight are broad and less “fingered” than a rook’s, also, the tail is squarer. The whole appearance of the crow is streamlined.

When seen standing, the crow looks solid, the feathers are neat and tight to the body, unlike the rook’s “baggy” appearance. The crow also lacks the rook’s white face, although young rooks can sometimes be confused with crows as the white develops with age. A rook’s beak however is slender while that of a crow is of a stronger appearance and much broader.

Moulting takes place once a year between May and July, with youngsters moulting first. This takes around three months to complete.


like tweets, only a little louder!