|Conservation status||Probably increasing as it expands its range farther north and inland.|
|Family||Crows, Magpies, Jays|
|Habitat||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 fields a few miles from the water.|
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 and other waterbirds, if adults are frightened from their nests, Fish Crows may destroy many 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.
Both parents probably bring food to nestlings. Age when young leave the nest not well known, probably 3-4 weeks.
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.
Often a few pairs nest in a 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.
Illustration © David Allen Sibley.
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Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds
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Mostly permanent resident. Withdraws from some inland parts of range in winter.
- All Seasons - Common
- All Seasons - Uncommon
- Breeding - Common
- Breeding - Uncommon
- Winter - Common
- Winter - Uncommon
- Migration - Common
- Migration - Uncommon
See a fully interactive migration map for over 450 bird species on the Bird Migration Explorer.Learn more
Songs and CallsTwo calls, both distinct from the American Crow's familiar caw: a nasal kwok and a nasal, two-noted ah-ah. In breeding season, young American Crows have a similar kwok call.
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How Climate Change Will Reshape the Range of the Fish Crow
Audubon’s scientists have used 140 million bird observations and sophisticated climate models to project how climate change will affect this bird’s range in the future.
Zoom in to see how this species’s current range will shift, expand, and contract under increased global temperatures.
Climate threats facing the Fish Crow
Choose a temperature scenario below to see which threats will affect this species as warming increases. The same climate change-driven threats that put birds at risk will affect other wildlife and people, too.