Carrion Crow, Corvus corone corone

Other Names:
Ket Crow, Black Neb, Carner Crow
Habitat: A variety of habitats, from open farmland and moorland, coasts and sea cliffs to busy urban areas. Almost everywhere, including towns and cities, farmland and woodland, moorland and seashore.
Distribution: Worldwide: Both Hooded and Carrion Crows are found across Europe throughout the year.
UK: All except Ireland and north-west Scotland.
Numbers: Worldwide:
European Summer: 5.5 to 12 million pair U.K. : One million territories in 2009
Food: Carrion, invertebrates, seeds, fruit, eggs and any scraps for the garden visitors.
Breeding: 4 – 6 blue or green eggs with brown spots in a stick and mud nest built into a tree top of cliff ledge.
Bill: Heavey Black long beak
Length: 46 cm.
Wingspan: 98 cm

Carrion Crow

The word crow comes from Old English crawe and comes from the birds call, as does the verb ‘to crow’. Carrion Crows are easy to please when it comes to food. They will take eggs, fledglings, frogs, toads and some vegetation but there seems to be nothing they like better than a corpse. The Anglo-Saxon gor (carrion) gives Ger Crow, Ket Crow comes from the North Country where ket means carrion and Midden Craw comes from dung or filth. Black Neb in Northumberland. Carner Crow in Norfolk.
The Carrion Crow is completely black, including the bill which is used to prise open food and may have given rise to our ‘crowbar’. The Romans had their corvus, a piece of iron used as a grappling hook on ships.
There are many plants with local names including the word crow. Shepherd’s Needle is known as both the Devil’s Darning Needle and Crow Needle but the strongest association is with buttercup family (Ranunculacae) as in Water Crowfoot, Crowflower (Meadow Buttercup), Crow Toe (Creeping Buttercup) and Crow Claws (Corn Buttercup) among others.
Carrion and Hooded Crow were at one time taken as the same bird, today are taken as both subspecies of the Crow family, but hybrid crosses are often seen in the wild were the two meet.
The Carrion Crow is one of our least-loved birds and is the classic symbol for evil and misfortune. Like the Raven it is associated with death, picking on the flesh of dead animals and even humans on the battlefield.
They are sociable birds but do not move in flocks like the Rook. When I first started birding it was often said one large crow was a Carrion Crow a flock were Rooks, at the time Ravens were not seen in Kent still scarce today (2015), but were I found the rule very correct then today not so. I still only see them nest in isolation from fellow corvids but the Rooks still nest in groups, being a Rookery.
It is partially a migrant with many Continental birds visiting Britain in the winter months.

Pewter Pin Wren preening,
Wren photograph
Pewter pin Wren photo photopgraph by Paul Cumberland
pewter pin
of a Wren
by Paul Cumberland
Photo by
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