Crows, ravens and their relatives are famed for being very intelligent birds. Several species, including the Caledonian crow and the rook, are known to use tools. For example some drop the toughest nuts on to busy roads and wait for the traffic to crush them. There are over 120 species in this family including jays, magpies, choughs and the common raven (the largest species) distributed worldwide except on the polar caps. Most members form very strong pair bonds that, in some species, last a lifetime.
Scientific name: Corvidae
The following habitats are found across the Crows and ravens distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.
Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.
Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web
Discover the other animals and plants that lived during the following geological time periods.
Corvidae is a cosmopolitan family of oscine passerine birds that contains the crows, ravens, rooks, jackdaws, jays, magpies, treepies, choughs and nutcrackers. The common English names used are corvids (more technically) or the crow family (more informally), and there are over 120 species. The genus Corvus, including the jackdaws, crows and ravens, makes up over a third of the entire family.
They are considered the most intelligent of the birds, and among the most intelligent of all animals having demonstrated self-awareness in mirror tests (European Magpies) and tool making ability (crows, rooks)—skills until recently regarded as solely the province of humans and a few other higher mammals. Their total brain-to-body mass ratio is equal to that of great apes and cetaceans, and only slightly lower than in humans.
They are medium to large in size, with strong feet and bills, rictal bristles and a single moult each year (most passerines moult twice). Corvids are found worldwide except for the tip of South America and the polar ice caps. The majority of the species is found in tropical South and Central America, southern Asia and Eurasia, with fewer than 10 species each in Africa and Australasia. The genus Corvus has re-entered Australia in relatively recent geological prehistory, with five species and one subspecies there.
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