The truth about the Corvid-19 and what you need to know – part 4.

We continue our coverage of the real truth about the Corvid 19 with a move back home to Europe and a closer look at the bird most UK people will have in mind when they hear the word “crow”.

This is practically the type species of the Corvids, and so no Corvid-19 analysis worth its salt should overlook it without needing to eat it.


Photo of a Carrion crow scavenging in Dorset by Ian Kirk on CC 2.0 licence. Many thanks to the photographer.

We are presenting the info for each Corvid in a similar tabular form and there will be a publication available at the end of the series where you will be able to get hold of the combined table.

Common Name Carrion Crow
Other names Common crow
German Aaskraehe
French Corneille noire
Russian Чёрная ворона
Polish Czarnowron
Scientific Name Corvus corone
Number of species in the genus 45
Number of subspecies in this species 2 or 4 (see below)
Literal meaning of Scientific name Raven (Latin) crow (Greek)
Described by Linnaeus 1758
First attested in literature Known and written about from classical times.
Wingspan (cm) 100
Length bill to tail (cm) 52
Distribution Two distributions, one in Western Europe, the other in East Asia, with a large belt in between of the closely related hooded crow.
Remarks There are two subspecies of carrion crow and it is the most common crow in the UK, and this is what we would call it as I was growing up. One is the West European version and the other is the East Asian one. The bird which separates them is the hooded crow Corvus cornix which was previously considered a subpecies (or rather, four subspecies as itself has four subspecies). In Warsaw we never see fully black crows (ravens and rooks yes, but the crows per se are only hooded crows) and one rarely sees hooded crows in the UK. It is a loner and an omnivore including a penchant for carrion, hence the name.  The bird exhibits extraordinary intelligence and is able to mimic human vocalisations, close to the levels exhibited by ravens. They distinguish between different human and crow faces and hild grudges a long time against people or animals which disturb them. They tend to get into extensive conflicts with seagulls which prey on their nests.
Migrations Slightly migratory. Winter and summer areas are marbled on the map.
Sexual dimorphism Barely noticeable, other than a slight crest on some males, which are larger
Close relatives As mentioned above the carrion crow and the hooded crow are related and also they are known to be capable of fertile crosses but are apparently not to one another’s taste ( a phenomenon known as koinophilia)
Not close relatives thought to be close Confused with rooks, although they have white faces, and ravens which are much larger, but these birds are close relatives also, as is the very similar American black crow.
Cultural significance Countless cultural references exist, one that comes to mind is the “monstrous crow, as black as a tar barrel” in the Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee poem in Alice through the Looking Glass.