Crows (Corvidae)

Carrion Crow (Corvus corone) - HBW 14, p. 629

French: Corneille noire German: Rabenkrähe Spanish: Corneja Negra
Other common names: Common/Eurasian Crow (with C. cornix); Eastern Carrion Crow, Oriental Crow (orientalis)

Taxonomy: Corvus Corone Linnaeus, 1758, England.
Thought to form a superspecies with C. cornix, possibly also including C. pectoralis; was for long treated as conspecific with former. Situation complex, as narrow bands of hybridization between present species and C. cornix exist across Scotland, through C Europe, in C Siberia and in C Asia, but striking plumage differences, subtle differences in vocalizations, and both narrowness and plasticity of hybrid zones all suggest that speciation has been at least partially achieved. Presence of "black crows" over both W & E regions of Eurasian landmass, separated by C. c.. View all taxonomy...

Taxonomy: Corvus Corone Linnaeus, 1758, England.
Thought to form a superspecies with C. cornix, possibly also including C. pectoralis; was for long treated as conspecific with former. Situation complex, as narrow bands of hybridization between present species and C. cornix exist across Scotland, through C Europe, in C Siberia and in C Asia, but striking plumage differences, subtle differences in vocalizations, and both narrowness and plasticity of hybrid zones all suggest that speciation has been at least partially achieved. Presence of "black crows" over both W & E regions of Eurasian landmass, separated by C. cornix, is noteworthy; preliminary research indicates that these black populations may merit treatment as two separate species, but more extensive investigation required. Within extensive range of E populations (orientalis) there is a cline of increasing bill size from W to E, which has prompted the describing of a further three races: interpositus (described from Japan), saghalensis (from Sakhalin I) and yunnanensis (from S Yunnan, in China) are all regarded as synonyms of orientalis. Two subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • corone Linnaeus, 1758 - Britain (except N Scotland), France, Spain and Portugal E to Denmark, W Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, N Italy and Switzerland; many C European birds disperse S & W in winter, reaching Corsica, Sardinia and SE Europe.
  • orientalis Eversmann, 1841 - breeds from C Siberia (Russia) and N Mongolia from R Yenisei E (N to N limit of taiga) to Kamchatka, Kuril Is and Sakhalin I, and from C Kazakhstan, E Turkmenistan, NE Afghanistan and extreme NW Indian Subcontinent E through Tien Shan and across N China (S to N Qinghai, N Sichuan and Hebei, with isolated population S Yunnan) E to Japan (S to Kyushu); N populations migrate S to E & SE China, also S to NE Iran, Baluchistan and N Pakistan (NorthWest Frontier Province) in winter.