Freitag, 19. April 2013

Portrait (April 19th, 2013) - Corvus corone LINNAEUS

In the most cases, I'm not able to make articles about birds because I don't have the right equipment to make some good photos. However, some birds are accustomed to humans and not so shy. Last Week, I met such a bird, which was very curious and not afraid to get in contact with me. This bird was Corvus corone corone L. from the Corividae family (Corvids). In English, the species is known as Carrion Crow and in German as “Rabenkrähe” or “Aaskrähe”. 

C. corone corone - habitus (note the feathers on the beak)
The Carrion Crow is a larger bird, which can reach an average length of 47 centimetres (18.5 inches) and an average weight of 540 grams (1.2 pounds). The beak is thick and completely black. There are also some feathers at its base. It's mostly straight but curved sharply at the top. Compared to other crows and ravens, the head is very flat. The voice is a bright “kraah” or “aark”.

C. corone corone - minutes before; the bird checked me
with caution before it aproach

The plumage has a shiny, black colour (typical “Raven black”) with a slight blue tint and the wingspan is between 85 and 110 centimetres (33.5 to 42.3 inches), while the Rectrices (the “tail feathers”) are narrow. The flight is very evenly with no sudden movement-changes. On the ground, they move mostly hopping.

C. corone corone - sideview; the bird has approached.

C. corone corone lives in small swarms, which fuse with other swarms. This happens mostly in the evening, when the swarms look a place to sleep. At the beginning of the breeding season, male and female birds leave the swarm in pairs to built nests in trees or on electricity pylons. The average Breeding time are twenty days. The chicks have a brighter plumage and become fledge after four weeks. The maximum age of the Carrion Crow is about 19 years.

C. corone corone - the bird is very close and you can see
his face with the black iris

The birds are very intelligent and capable of learning. They have also a kind of self awarness.

The Carrion Crow is an omnivore, which eats everything from carrion (name) over berries and seeds to meat and insects. The birds search their food mostly on the ground. They look under stones and wood. If they have found something, which is to hard to eat (like a walnut), Carrion Crows take it with their beaks and drop it from a great high to crack it.

C. corone corone - view from above; the bird looks for
an old key, which lied beside the bench. 

Many people have difficulties to distinguish the Carrion Crow with the common raven (Corvus corax). But the Raven is much larger (average length: 64 centimetres) and has a cuneiform tail. The voice is also deeper.

C. corone corone - the plumage is a little bit bright.
maybe this is a younger bird or a hybrid.

C. corone is native to Europe and East Asia. The species is highly adaptable and have settled many different habitats like the edge of forests, farmland, cities and parks. It's a very common bird, which form massive stocks in some cities.

Today, the species Corvus corone is subdivided into two sub-species: the Carrion Crow and the Hooded Crow (Corvus corone cornix), which has a grey-black plumage. The Both sub-species are fully capable to mate and in regions with both sub-species, hybrids are very common.

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