Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Crow, a book-name for the genus Corvus, with over fifty species, the type of the Passerine family Corvidae, universally distributed, except in South America and New Zealand, and reaching to the extreme north of Europe and Asia. The beak is hard, stout, compressed, and sharp at the edges; nostrils at its base, and generally hidden by stiff feathers directed forwards; wings long and graduated; tail more or less graduated; feet and claws strong, the latter curved and sharp. Four, or according to some authorities, five species are British. Three of these - the Raven (C. corax). the Rook (C. frugilegus), and the Jackdaw (C. monedula) are treated separately. The Black or Carrion Crow (C. corone) is from eighteen to twenty inches long, and has the whole plumage black, glossed above with metallic reflections, varying from violet to green, according to the light. In the Grey, Hooded, or Royston Crow (to which specific rank, as C. cornix, is sometimes given), about the same size as the Black Crow, the nape, back, rump, and most of the under surface are smoky grey. The bill, legs, and toes, are black in both. Professor Newton, after carefully examining the evidence for both views, has come to the conclusion "that no specific distinction can be maintained" between these two forms. The chief arguments in favour of this conclusion are the interbreeding of the two forms, and the frequent occurrence of black and grey birds in the same nest. The principal food of these birds is carrion, but nothing of an animal nature comes amiss to them, from a dead sheep to insect larvas. Macgillivray notes that they sometimes feed on crustaceans, molluscs, and worms, and occasionally on grain. They are the natural enemies of game-keepers, for they devour game eggs, young birds, and leverets, and, as a consequence, are shot and trapped without mercy. It should, however, be remembered in their favour that they destroy large numbers of mice and insects. C. americanus, the American Crow, is a smaller form, and feeds largely on grain. C. ossifragus, the Fish Crow, also American, is a coast bird. C. splendens, the Indian grey-necked Crow, though useful as a scavenger, is as mischievous and thievish as a magpie. C. capellana, from the Persian Gulf, is closely allied to the Hooded Crow.