Backyard Birds

Hooded Crows

The Hooded Crow(Corvus cornix) (sometimes called Hoodiecrow) is a Eurasian bird species in the crow genus. It is so similar in structure and habits to the Carrion Crow (Corvus corone) that for many years they were considered by most authorities to be merely geographical races of one species. However, since 2002, the Hooded Crow has been elevated to full species status.


Except for the head, throat, wings, tail, and thigh feathers, which are black and mostly glossy, the plumage is ash-grey, the dark shafts giving it a streaky appearance. The bill and legs are black. There is only one moult in autumn, as in other crow species. The male is the larger bird, otherwise, the sexes are alike. The flight is slow and heavy and usually straight. The length varies from 48 to 52 cm. When first hatched the young are much blacker than the parents.

The Hooded Crow, with its contrasted greys and blacks, cannot be confused with either the Carrion Crow or Rook, but the kraa call notes of the two are almost indistinguishable.

Distribution and habitat

The Hooded Crow breeds in northern and eastern Europe, and closely allied forms inhabit southern Europe and western Asia. Where its range overlaps with Carrion Crow, as in northern Britain, Germany, and Siberia, their hybrids are fertile. However, the hybrids are less well-adapted than pure-bred birds, and this is one of the reasons that this species was split from the Carrion Crow. In the UK, the Hooded Crow breeds regularly in Scotland, the Isle of Man, and the Scottish Islands. It also breeds widely in Ireland where it is locally known as the Grey Crow, which is what its Welsh name, Brn Lwyd, translates as.

In autumn some migratory birds arrive on the east coast of Britain.


The Hooded Crow is omnivorous, diet similar to that of the Carrion Crow, and it is a constant scavenger. It drops mollusks and crabs to break them after the manner of the Carrion Crow.

On coastal cliffs, the eggs of gulls, cormorants, and other birds are stolen when their owners are absent, and they will enter the burrow of the Puffin to steal eggs.


The bulky stick nest is normally placed in a tall tree, but cliff ledges, old buildings, and pylons may be used. Nests are occasionally placed on or near the ground. The nest resembles that of the Carrion Crow, but on the coast, seaweed is often interwoven in the structure. The four to six brown-speckled blue eggs are incubated for 17-19 days by the female alone, who is fed by the male. The young fledge after 32-36 days.

In Israel, this species is parasitized by the Great Spotted Cuckoo, whose normal host, the European Magpie is absent from that country.


Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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