Fish Crow (Corvus ossifragus)

Fish Crow

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Corvidae | [latin] Corvus ossifragus | [UK] Fish Crow | [FR] Corneille de rivage | [DE] Fischkrahe | [ES] Cuervo pescador | [NL] Viskraai


Monotypic species

Physical charateristics

Listen for this smallish crow near tidewater. Identify it by voice, not size; measurements of the American and Fish crows broadly overlap.

Listen to the sound of Fish Crow

[audio: Crow.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 81 cm wingspan max.: 86 cm
size min.: 36 cm size max.: 40 cm
incubation min.: 16 days incubation max.: 18 days
fledging min.: 28 days fledging max.: 35 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 4  
      eggs max.: 5  


North America : East, Southeast USA


Tidewater, river valleys, swamps, woodland, farmland.
Overlaps in habitat with American Crow, but more likely to be near water, especially along coast, where it forages on beaches, marshes, and estuaries. Inland from coast, usually follows the drainages of large rivers, although it may feed in woods or fiel
ds a few miles from the water.


Often a few pairs nest in loose colony. Courtship may involve male and female flying close together in gliding display flight.
Nest: Site is in upright fork of tree or shrub. May be very low in coastal growth of pines, cedars, or quite high in deciduous trees in inland swamps; nest height may be 5-
70′ above ground or even higher. Nest (probably built by both sexes) is a bulky platform of sticks and strips of bark, lined with softer materials such as grass, rootlets, hair, feathers, paper, pine needles, even manure.
Eggs: 4-5. Dull blue-green to gray-green, blotched with brown and gray. Incubation is by female, possibly assisted by male, about 16-18 days.
Young: Both parents probably bring food to nestlings. Age when young leave the nest not well known, probably 3-4 weeks.

Feeding habits

Omnivorous. May feed on practically anything it can find, including carrion, crabs, shrimp, crayfish, a wide variety of insects, berries, seeds, nuts, bird eggs, turtle eggs, and garbage.

Usually forages in flocks. Does most foraging by walking, especially on shores or in very shallow water, also in fields; sometimes forages in trees. May carry mollusks up into the air, then drop them on rocks to break the shells. In colonies of herons an
d other waterbirds, if adults are frightened from their nests, Fish Crows may destroy many eggs.


This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be increasing, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Fish Crow status Least Concern


Mostly coastal; southern New England to Florida and eastern Texas. Migration: Mostly permanent resident. Withdraws from some inland parts of range in winter.

Distribution map

Fish Crow distribution range map

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