How Can You Tell It’s A Fish Crow?

Fish crow in Mississauga (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

19 December 2021

Fish crows (Corvus ossifragus) are a relatively recent addition to the corvid species found in western Pennsylvania. Most people don’t realize they’re here because fish crows look nearly identical to American crows (Corvus brachyrhyncos).

But now that it’s Christmas Bird Count Season (Tues 14 Dec 2021 through Wed 5 January 2022) we have to identify the fish crows among Pittsburgh’s winter flock of American crows. How can you tell when you see a fish crow? The only reliable way is by the sound of his voice.

We all know that the American crow says “Caw! Caw!”

American crow (Covus brachyrhyncos) from Xeno Canto # XC626214

The fish crow sounds different with his “baby” voice. Sometimes he says “Uh oh.”

Fish Crow (Corvus ossifragus) from Xeno Canto # XC459772

Get some practice listening to fish crows in Zack Chen’s video.

Good luck counting them, though. You can tell fish crows are present by sound but it’s really hard to count the voices!

(photo from Wikimedia Commons; embedded video by Zack Chen on YouTube)

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