8 Birds That Look Similar to American Crows


Have you seen a few birds that you thought were Crows but then suddenly realized there was something different? Then you got caught in a spiral of wondering how many blackbirds you’ve assumed were Crows? Well, you’ve come to the right place to settle this misperception. 

Crows, Rooks, and Jackdaws belong to the Corvidae family, which represents birds that resemble Crows. Some of these similarities are conical beaks, height, wingspan, and their iridescent feathers. Some examples include the Alpine Chough, the Eurasian Jackdaw, the Western Rook. 

There are plenty of birds that look like an American Crow, so don’t think you’re a terrible birdwatcher.

Let’s check out some of the birds that look similar to the American Crow and possibly learn something interesting about them. 

You can also check out our detailed post on Birds That Look Similar To Cardinals.

The Birds That Represent Crows

Crows are medium-sized birds that belong to the genus Corvus. Ravens and Rooks are also part of the Corvus genus, and they are all part of the Corvidae family, which also has Magpies and Jays. 

Crows have a unique, loud caw and distinct conical beak. They can reach 17.5-inches in height with a wingspan of 2.5 ft. Their pitch-black feathers have a purple and blue iridescent.

Globally, there are approximately 40 species. There are three types of Crows in America alone and since they look similar to each other, people are able to differentiate them from the sound of their unique cries. 

  • American crow [Corvus brachyrhynchos] 
  • Northwestern crow [Corvus caurinus]
  • Carrion crow [Corvus corone]

Often we get confused between ravens and crows, check out the post “Ravens vs Crows” to know how crows are different from ravens.

Birds That Look Similar to American Crows 

Some of the other members of the Corvidae family and some other species of Crow-like birds:

Corvidae Family: Alpine Choughs

Alpine Choughs

Another member of the Corvidae family, the Alpine Chough, is also known as a Yellow-Billed Chough. 

Location:

As the name suggests, these birds are found in western parts of China through the Alp regions and their breeding spots in the Spanish mountains. Since these birds cover a lot of ground, getting an exact estimate of their population is challenging. However, research suggests that there are roughly 650 000 in Europe alone. 

Physical Characteristics:

These birds can grow up to 16-inches in height and have a notable wingspan of 2.8-ft to get them through the mountain ranges.

Alpine Choughs also has a fan-shaped tail, and their coats are glossy and all black with small dots on their chest.

Corvidae family: The Eurasian Jackdaw

These Passeriformes are also part of the Corvidae family, and like their Crow cousins, they enjoy cultivated lands and pastures. There are approximately 31 million of these birds in Europe alone. Since being introduced in the United States during the 1980s, they’re growing at a reasonable rate.

Location: 

The Eurasian Jackdaw, also known as the Western Jackdaw, is a bird found across Europe, Northwest Africa, and Western Asia.

Physical Characteristics:

Jackdaws can reach up to 14-inches in height and have a wingspan of around 2.4-feet long. These birds also have grey eyes, but the feet and beak are black like the American Crow.

These birds are black from head to toe, but they don’t have the same iridescence shimmer. Instead, it has a glossy appearance and is topped with silver-gray feathers covering its back and throat. 

Corvidae family: The Western Rook

The Western Rook is one of the more intimidating-looking birds you’ll find on this list. Their plumage doesn’t have an iridescence tint. Instead, when the sun hits their back creates a lovely sheen of a combination of blue and purple.

These large Passerine birds can grow to reach 17-inches in length and have an impressive wingspan up to 2.5-ft. The other feature is identical to the American Crow, apart from its beak, white-gray, and slightly dips at the tip. 

Rooks have been spotted in North America but are more commonly found from the Corvidae family, alongside Crows and Ravens. 

Other Bird Species That Resemble American Crows

There are birds from other species, like the Icteridae or the Sturnidae family, which look similar to American Crows:

Artamidae family: The Black Currawong

They’re one of the only birds on this list that also has pitch-black legs and feet. These birds are considered the ‘Crow’ of the Australian region, and it’s easy to understand why. 

Location: 

Firstly, they’re native to the island state of Tasmania in Australia, and their plumage doesn’t have an iridescence quality. Their feathers look like charcoal with a slight purple tint. 

Physical Characteristics:

One of the larger birds on the list, the Black Currawong, reaches up to 20-inches in length and has an impressing wingspan of 2.5-ft.

These large birds have intimidating yellow eye color and a big black bill that dips slightly at the tip. Their tales are tipped with white feathers, and they have a small patch of white by their wings. 

Icteridae family: The Common Grackle

The Common Grackle is one of the closest resemblances of the American Crow on this list. These long-legged birds are corn farmers’ worst nightmare, for they love eating their crops.

Location:

These birds are native to North America and belong to the family Icteridae, particularly in the Rocky Mountain region; their population steadily declines as it currently sits at 90 million in the United States. 

Physical Characteristics:

They’re also one of the smallest birds on this list as they reach up to 13-inches tall and have a wingspan of 18-inches.

The female Grackle is lighter in brown while the male is black with an iridescence blue, green, and purple shimmer, especially by the head. 

The Common Grackle has yellow eyes, which is a great way to identify which bird you’re seeing, especially since American Crows have powerful black eyes. 

Icteridae family: The Common Raven

Some of you who see the word “Raven” instantly think of the Three-Eyed Raven from Game of Thrones. If you can recall how it looked, their appearance is similar to the American crow apart from the third eye. In fact, they are often confused with each other. 

Location: 

More prevalent in the western regions of California and Mexico, Ravens have a wedge shape to their tale. In contrast, American Crows have a more fan silhouette.

Physical Characteristics:

The Common Raven and the American Crow are both pitch blackbirds from the family Corvidae.

The Common Crow is larger than the American Crow as it can reach 27-inches in height with a wingspan reaching up to 4-ft in length and a sharper beak. 

The iridescent feathers create green and shades of blues and purples. Apart from their size differences, the Common Raven also has a different flight pattern to the Crow with a raspier and louder call.

Icteridae family: The Red-Winged Blackbird

The Red-Winged Blackbird is one of the smaller birds found on this list but similar to the American Crow. There are around 150 million across the US and Canada. 

Location

Like the American Crow, they’re found across the States. They breed along the Western coast, from Alaska all the way down to the coastline of Honduras. Compared to the American Crow, these birds have conical-shape bills, but they are smaller in size. 

Physical Characteristics:

The male Red-winged Blackbird is a fellow Passerine bird with distinct red and yellow patch-like shoulder pads. They belong to the Icteridae family and can grow up to 9-inches in length with a wingspan up to 16-inches.

The females have a completely different color and aesthetic. Their brown and pale feathers create these streaks down their chest and are dark brown otherwise. 

Sturnidae family: European Starlings

When Starlings fly in groups of hundreds and sometimes thousands in what appears to be a technically coordinated movement in the sky.

This phenomenon is called murmuration and continues to baffle scientists. No wonder Schieffelin wanted to bring them to the US. 

Location: 

Native to the Great Britain and Ireland region, the European Starling was introduced to the North American region by Ornithologist Eugene Schieffelin in 1890. There are now over 200 million across the United States. They prefer open areas and are commonly seen in Florida and Texas.

Physical Characteristics:

The Starling can reach 9.8-inch in height with a wingspan of 16-inches and a shiny iridescent plumage producing purple and green color.

However, the Starling has a party trick. They change from this black bill and plumage in the summer to a brown coat with white spots; even their bills switch to a yellow. 

Conclusion

Crows and their following members of the Corvidae family share similar physical qualities. The Common Ravens are often misconceived by the American Crow due to their striking similarities and being the only pitch-black birds in the US.

Fine-tuning your ears will be able to distinguish the American Crow with their unique cry. 

Sources

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/

https://animals.mom.com/crows-same-blackbirds-10078.html

https://www.birds.cornell.edu/crows/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/

https://www.theguardian.com/science/grrlscientist/2014/oct/18/caw-vs-kraa-meaning-in-the-calls-of-crows-and-ravens

Donald Bergeson

I have always been fascinated by the skill, strength, and beauty of birds.They help in maintaining a balance of ecological environment. At Best Bird Guide, I share all of my experiences and discoveries that I have got so far and inspire more devoted fans.

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