A Fish Crow is a fun bird to see while bird watching. Below are some tips to help you identify Fish Crows. We have also put together a list of fun Fish Crow t-shirts, Fish Crow bird patches, birdhouses, bird feeders, binoculars, stickers, and other fun bird watching items.
About Fish Crows
The Fish Crow is superficially very similar to the American Crow. It is smaller, lighter, and has a silkier smooth plumage by comparison. The only other distinguishable difference between the two species is the bill.
Description and Identification
Fish crows are extremely similar in appearance to American crows. These birds can be
differentiated from American crows by their smaller size and shinier, smoother plumage. Although
there are a few more differences between these birds such as bill size and small differences in
plumage coloration, it is extremely difficult to tell them apart unless they are standing close
together. Apart from their plumage, these birds can be differentiated by their unique calls. Fish
crows have a very nasal “nyuh unh” call in contrast to the common “caw caw” call of American
crows. Fish Crows assume a dramatic stance while calling by hunching and fluffing their throat
Fish Crow Size
- Length: fish crows measure about 36 to 44 cm in length.
- Weight: a fully matured bird will weigh an average of 190 to 120 grams.
- Wingspan: the fish crow has a wingspan of about 82 to 88 cm.
The male and female are of the same size.
Fish Crow Appearance
It has an all-black appearance with silvery-black plumage. It lacks the white “collar” of the common crow, which gives it a unique look. The male and female are similar in appearance.
The juvenile birds appear similar to the adults but have feathers that appear uneven and ruffled all around, especially around the necks and underside.
Fish Crow Feeding
Fish crows are highly intelligent and opportunistic birds that will eat anything that is available to
them. Carrion, eggs, and younglings of other birds, fruits, grains, trash, and berries are foods they
commonly eat. As they are closely associated with water, they also eat small invertebrates, crabs,
and turtle eggs. Fish crows are experts at predating the nests of other birds. Common targets for
them are Brown Thrashers, Northern Mockingbirds, Blue Jays, herons, gulls, terns, and a variety of
ducks. These birds mostly hunt in flocks and mostly forage while walking.
In similarity to other crows, the fish crow is carnivorous. It feeds on fish, shellfish, crabs, mussels, insects, and some other invertebrates. From time to time, the crows eat fruits to supplement their vitamin requirements. It also eats eggs and other birds’ hatchlings.
Fish Crow Habitat
Beaches, estuaries, marshes, rivers, and lakes are areas commonly inhabited by Fish crows. As
these birds are well adjusted to human habitation they are able to extend their range northwards.
Other than habitats near water, they can also be found in suburban and urban areas, fields, and
golf courses. When they are away from water they are less common than their relatives —
American crows. During the winter season, Fish crows gather in flocks around areas such as landfills,
estuaries, and feedlots which provide an abundant supply of food.
The species of crows can be found in the eastern seaboard of the United States and parts of Mexico.
Range and Migration
Fish Crows are birds that are commonly founding in the Nearctic range. Although they are native to
the east of America, some of them can be found as far west as Kansas, Iowa, and Nebraska. The
southern range of these birds ends in Florida and their northern range ends at Maine. In-depth
a study has not been done on the migratory habits of these birds, but it is observed that they move to
coastal regions of their range during winter. During the breeding season, they move to inland portions
of their range.
Fish Crow Life and Behavior
They are primarily solitary birds, but may at times live together in colonies, especially where there are many predators. Some of their predators include cats, raccoons, and raptors. At times the crows gang up on their predators, especially to protect their young.
The crows have a typical crow nest that holds 4 to 5 eggs per mating season. The females generally raise the hatchlings on their own.
They communicate by a sound that is described as “a cork coming out of a bottle” and is high pitched. When in flight, individuals that lag behind the group produce a “wok-wok-wok” sound that alerts the other to slow down. They also produce clicks and rattles, that each has their own meanings.
Fish Crow Nesting
Fish Crows form breeding pairs in summers. Courtship displays are observed in Fish Crows but are
not very common. The males might bring food for the females or tap their beaks to get their
attention for mating. Receptive females stiffen their body, hunker down, and spread out their tail-
feathers. Following mating, these birds are observed sitting together while nourishing themselves
by plucking at twigs. Female Fish Crows build nests in about 9 days — males might accompany
them, but they do not help. Fish Crows are known to build very strong and reliable nests. These
cup-shaped nests are built on top of trees with twigs and leaves. Females lay 2-6 eggs which are
then incubated for a period of 16-19 days. Nestlings fledge about 32-40 days after hatching.
Bird Watching Academy & Camp Subscription Boxes
At Bird Watching Academy & Camp we help kids, youth, and adults get excited and involved in bird watching. We have several monthly subscription boxes that you can subscribe to. Our monthly subscription boxes help kids, youth, and adults learn about birds, bird watching, and bird conservation.
Bird Watching Binoculars for Identifying Fish Crows
The most common types of bird-watching binoculars for viewing Fish Crows are 8×21 binoculars and 10×42 binoculars. Bird Watching Academy & Camp sells really nice 8×21 binoculars and 10×42 binoculars. You can view and purchase them here.
Fish Crow T-shirts
If you love the Fish Crow you should purchase a Bird Watching Academy & Camp T-shirt. To help support bird conservation we donate 10 percent to bird conservation activities.
Fish Crow Iron On Patches
Kids, Youth, and Adults love to collect our Bird Watching Academy & Camp iron-on patches. Our bird-watching patches help you keep track of the birds you have seen and identified. You can also display the patches on our Bird Watching Academy & Camp banners.
The Fish Crow is a great iron-on patch to start your collection with. The patches are durable and can be sewn on or ironed on to just about anything.
Fish Crow Stickers
Stickers are a great way for you to display your love for bird watching and the Fish Crow. We sell a monthly subscription sticker pack. The sticker packs have 12 bird stickers. These sticker packs will help your kids learn new birds every month.
Bird Feeders for Fish Crows
There are many types of bird feeders. Here are our favorite bird feeders for your backyard. We use all of these bird feeders currently. Kids will have a great time watching birds eat at these bird feeders. Using this collection of bird feeders will provide a wide variety and many types of birds.
Best Bird Houses for Fish Crows
There are many types of birdhouses. Building a birdhouse is always fun but can be frustrating. These 4 birdhouses have become our favorites. Getting a birdhouse for kids to watch birds grow is always fun. We spent a little extra money on these birdhouses but they have been worth the higher price and look great.