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Fish Crow

Corvus ossifragus ORDER: PASSERIFORMES FAMILY: CORVIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

Not everyone realizes it, but there are two kinds of crows across much of the eastern United States. Looking almost identical to the ubiquitous American Crow, Fish Crows are tough to identify until you learn their nasal calls. Look for them around bodies of water, usually in flocks and sometimes with American Crows. They are supreme generalists, eating just about anything they can find. Fish Crows have expanded their range inland and northward along major river systems in recent decades.

Calls

Fish Crows have a distinctive caw that is short, nasal and quite different-sounding from an American Crow. This call is sometimes doubled-up with an inflection similar to someone saying uh-uh. They also make an even shorter, higher-pitched call when in large groups, when perched or in flight.

Other Sounds

In aggressive situations, Fish Crows can make a mechanical rattle that lasts about a second.

Search the Macaulay Library online archive for more sounds and videos

Find This Bird

To find Fish Crows, you’ll want to listen out for them. Chances are that many of the crows around coastlines, lakes, and waterways within this species’ range are Fish Crows. It will be very hard to tell them apart from American Crows by sight, but listen for the short, nasal, often doubled cah notes to give them away.

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bird image Blue-winged Warbler by Brian Sullivan

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