Crows (Corvidae)

BIRDS / PERCHING BIRDS /

 True Crows (Genus Corvus)

Crows, Ravens, Jackdaws & Rooks.

The crow genus makes up a third of the species in the family Corvidae. The members appear to have evolved in Asia from the corvid stock, which had evolved in Australia. The collective name for a group of crows is a ‘flock’ or a ‘murder’.

Carrion crow (Corvus corone) Resident
Carrion Crow Copyright Peter Drury

Carrion Crow Copyright Peter Drury

The plumage of carrion crow is black with a green or purple sheen, much greener than the gloss of the rook. The bill, legs and feet are also black. It can be distinguished from the common raven by its size (48–52 cm or 18 to 21 inches in length as compared to an average of 63 centimetres (25 inches) for ravens) and from the hooded crow by its black plumage, but there is frequent confusion between it and the rook. The beak of the crow is stouter and in consequence looks shorter, and whereas in the adult rook the nostrils are bare, those of the crow are covered at all ages with bristle-like feathers.

Where these can be seen: Common across the nature reserves

 Holarctic magpies (Genus Pica)

Pica is the genus of two to four species of birds in the family Corvidae in both the New World and the Old. They have long tails and have predominantly black and white markings.

Eurasian Magpie (Pica pica) Resident
Magpie (Pica pica) in flight Copyright Peter Drury

Magpie (Pica pica) in flight Copyright Peter Drury

The Eurasian Magpie is resident throughout Europe, much of Asia and northwest Africa. It is considered to be one of the most intelligent birds and also animals. The expansion of its nidopallium is approximately the same in its relative size as the brain of chimpanzees, orangutans and humans.

The Eurasian magpie is 44–46 centimetres (17–18 in) in length—in the adult over 50% of this is tail—and a wingspan of 52–62 centimetres (20–24 in). Its head, neck and breast are glossy black with a metallic green and violet sheen; the belly and scapulars (shoulder feathers) are pure white; the wings are black glossed with green or purple, and the primaries have white inner webs, conspicuous when the wing is open. The graduated tail is black, shot with bronze-green and other iridescent colours. The legs and bill are black.

The magpie is omnivorous, eating young birds and eggs, insects, scraps and carrion, acorns, grain, and other vegetable substances.

Where these can be seen: Common across the nature reserves.

Crows Gallery