Fish Crow vs American Crow: Differences Explained

The fish crow and the American crow can be very difficult to distinguish. If the two birds aren’t placed side by side, it would be challenging for even the most experienced bird watcher to tell the difference between them. However, if you get a chance to look closer, you will notice that the fish crow is smaller than the American crow. 

The fish crow also has a silky smooth plumage compared to the American crow. The bill of the fish crow is also smaller than the bill of the American crow. 

Difference In Calls Between Fish Crow and American Crow 

The call of a fish crow is short and nasal. This is one of the best ways to tell a fish crow from an American crow. The call of a fish crow is very different from that of an American crow. The fish crow call has inflections that sound like someone is saying, “Uh uh. ” 

The fish crow makes a short, high-pitched call when they are in large groups. They also make short, high-pitched calls in flight or perched. 

The American crow gives out a series of loud caws. Don’t expect beautiful sounds from these birds; they are not bluebirds. The American crow will also give out a mix of hoarse and grating coos called a subsong. The subsong can be arranged in sequences that are separated by a minute. 

The young American crow will beg by giving out a high-pitched nasal call. If you aren’t an experienced bird watcher, you may mistake the American crow for a fish crow due to the high-pitched nasal call. When the American crow wants to mob predators, they make a different sound. The sound they give up is a rallying cry in various calls and alerts. Sound is the most definitive way to differentiate between a fish crow and an American crow. 

Difference In Physical Appearance Between Fish Crow and American Crow 

Fish Crow and American Crow
L-Fish Crow; R-American Crow

The fish crow is about 15 inches long. The black color of its feathers is glossy. If you want to distinguish a fish crow from an American crow, you can look at both of them to see which one has a shiny-looking feather. The one with a glossy black feather is probably the fish crow. 

The tail of the fish crow is slightly rounded and has a slight hook at the end. The legs of the fish crow are also black and appear sturdy when they perch. On the nostrils of the fish crow, you will notice some bristles. The bristles are over the nostrils. Just like the males and females of quaker parrots look alike, the males and females of fish crows are identical. 

The American crow measures about 17 inches long. The male American crow tends to be bigger than the female American crow. The weight of these black birds may vary from 300 to 600 grams. Just like the fish crow, the feather of the American crow is all black, and even its legs are black. 

Difference In Behavior Between Fish Crow and American Crow 

The fish crow and the American crow are both omnivores. However, the American crow is more of a hunter than the fish crow. The American crow will catch mice, young rabbits, frogs, and other small animals. The American crow will depend on nuts and acorns when the winter and autumn season comes around. Did you know that the American crow is one of the only birds observed to use tools to get food? American crows may occasionally be seen on bird feeders. 

The fish crow likes to take food from the ground. This is a typical scavenging behavior found in most crows. The fish crow will eat stranded fish, crustaceans, crabs, and shrimp. They are also not beyond eating live fish, eggs, and the chicks of other birds. 

In terms of nesting behavior, the American crow is social and will cooperate with one another during breeding. A mated pair will form large families of up to 15 American crows and remain together for many years. The offspring from a breeding season may not fly off on their own immediately; they will stay in the flock and assist in raising the new hatchlings. 

The American crow builds their nest in trees and large bushes. They may occasionally develop their nests on the ground, but that is rare. They like to nest in Oak trees. The American crow lays anything from three to six eggs. This is unlike the robins that lay only two eggs per breeding season. The eggs that the American crow lays are incubated for 18 days. The babies are fully fledged by day 36. 

On the other hand, the fish crow builds its nest high in a tree. The fish crow lays about four to five eggs that are pale blue-green with blotches of olive brown.

Fish Crow Vs. American Crow: Range and Habitat 

Fish Crow and American Crow
L-Fish Crow; R-American Crow

The fish crow species occurs on the eastern seaboard of the United States. They occur from Rhode Island south to Key west. They can also be seen west along the Northern coastline of the Gulf of Mexico. You may also see these birds frequent Coastal marshes and beaches. 

On the other hand, the range of the American crow extends from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean. The American crow has expanded thanks to tree planting and fire suppression efforts. 

The American crow can be seen in the wilderness, parks, open woodlands, and farmlands. They can also be seen in major cities. However, you will not see the American crow in the tundra because the common raven occupies the tundra. As the name implies, the American crow is common in the United States. The American crow will gather in large roosts to sleep when they aren’t nesting. 

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