Hooded crow (Corvus cornix)

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassAves
OrderPasseriformes
FamilyCorvidae
GenusCorvus (1)
SizeLength: 44-51 cm (2)
Wingspan: 84-100 cm (2)

Receives general protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (3), but can be trapped, shot or their eggs and nests destroyed under the terms of General Licences issued by government (4). Included in the Birds of Conservation Concern Green List (low conservation concern) (5).

The hooded crow, or 'hoodie' (6) is now recognised as a different species to the carrion crow (Corvus corone) (4). Both are around the same shape and size as a rook (Corvus frugilegus), but the hooded crow is easily identified by its two-colour plumage; the body is a dirty grey, while the wings, tail, head and bib are black (2). The calls are harsh and croaky, and include a 'kra-kra-kra', which may have given rise to the imitative name 'crow' (6).

In Britain, this crow mainly occurs in north and western Scotland, it also occurs in Ireland and on the Isle of Man. Elsewhere it is widespread throughout central and northern Europe between the Arctic in the north to the Mediterranean in the south (7). Where the distributions of carrion and hooded crows meet, there is a zone of interbreeding where hybrids with intermediate plumage occur (6). In Britain, these hybrids arise in a band roughly between Aberdeen and Glasgow (6).

Open woodland, moors, agricultural land where there are groups of trees, town parks and shores where there are woodlands (2).

Like the carrion crow, this is an omnivorous species, taking a wide variety of food, including insects, molluscs, eggs from other birds' nests, berries and fish (2). Hooded crows are intelligent birds; in Finland they have been seen reeling in fishing lines left in holes in the ice to obtain fish (8). Other aspects of their general biology are very similar to that of the carrion crow.

Hooded crows are perceived as a threat to livestock, as they are believed to kill and injure young lambs and trapped sheep (6). Although they do cause some problems of this nature, the perception is greater than the reality, and they have been persecuted as a result for many hundreds of years (6).

No conservation action is targeted at this species.

For more on British birds see the RSPB website:
http://www.rspb.org.uk

For more information on this and other bird species please see:

Information authenticated by the RSPB:
http://www.rspb.org.uk/

  1. National Biodiversity Network Species Dictionary (July 2002): http://www.nhm.ac.uk/nbn/
  2. Mullarney, K., Svensson, L., Zetterstrom, D., & Grant, P.J. (1999) Collins Bird Guide. HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, London.
  3. Naturenet. (July 2002): http://www.naturenet.net/law/wcagen.html
  4. RSPB (2003) The population status of birds in the UK http://www.rspb.org.uk/Images/5_20625.pdf
  5. RSPB (2003) Pers. comm.
  6. Greenoak, F. (1979) All the birds of the air; the names, lore and literature of British birds. Book Club Associates, London.
  7. Lack, P. (1986) The Atlas of Wintering Birds in Britain and Ireland. T. & A. D. Poyser Ltd, Calton.
  8. Bruce Wilmore, S. (1977) Crows, jays, ravens and their relatives. David and Charles (Publishers) Ltd, London.