Keeping the World’s Most Intelligent Bird

Hooded crow

Uploaded to Wikipedia Commons by Andreas Trepte

Whereas the time period “most clever” might be questioned by some parrot homeowners, a lifetime of working with birds in zoos and at dwelling leaves me in favor of granting a number of Corvids (crows, ravens, jays and their kin) that honor…no disrespect to the superb talents of different birds! My fascination with this hen household started once I took in nestling American Crows and Blue Jays as a baby, and continued by means of work with their unique kin on the Bronx Zoo. In Japan, I used to be astounded by the tool-using wild Carrion Crows (please see article under). Among the many most charming of all is the amazingly-intelligent and curious Hooded Crow (Corvus cornix). Massive, energetic and (very!) costly, Hooded Crows are usually not for everybody, however the skilled aviculturist can ask for no finer or extra responsive pet.


Hooded Crow Description

As soon as seen, this spectacular hen is not going to be forgotten. The pinnacle, wings, chest and tail are clad in typical Corvid shiny black, which is nicely-offset by the sunshine to darkish grey plumage (typically un-flatteringly described as “soiled gray”!) protecting the remainder of the physique. It reaches practically 2 ft in size, and sports activities a powerful wingspan of 36 to 40 inches.


Hooded crow , light colored

Uploaded to Wikipedia Commons by Bob

Lengthy thought-about to be a shade variant of the Carrion Crow (C. corone), the Hooded Crow is now acknowledged as a definite species. 4 subspecies have been described.



Vary and Habitat

The Hooded Crow’s large vary extends from Nice Britain to western Asia (the western fringe of the vary isn’t well-defined) and from simply south of the Arctic Circle to the southern coast of the Mediterranean. These populations that migrate in winter attain northern India, southern China, Iran and Afghanistan.


Hooded Crows appear to favor open forests and wooded scrub, however are very adaptable, colonizing farms, villages, brushy grasslands, desert fringes and cliffside forests at 3,000 ft or extra above sea stage.



Uploaded to Wikipedia Commons by Bugaga


Though usually described as “stick nests”, these constructed by the Hooded Crow are literally very advanced constructions. The inspiration is often of brief, stout sticks, however animal bones could also be integrated – in some areas, this behavior has given rise to some odd superstitions, as could be imagined! A number of distinct layers are positioned over the inspiration, with moss, grasses and roots used as binding supplies. The interior cup-like space is lined with feathers, fur, wool and/or discarded rags and the like.


The eggs, numbering 2-7, hatch in 18-20 days, and the chicks fledge at 4-5 weeks of age.


Hooded Crows as Pets

Even informal remark of untamed people will reveal crows to be unusually clever. The truth is, current research have proven their tool-making and problem-solving talents to be on par with these of some nice apes (please see articles linked under).


Opening garbage bag

Uploaded to Wikipedia Commons by Thermos.

Like most if not all of its kin, Hooded Crows are glorious mimics, and readily copy sounds and phrases. Naturally social, crows rapidly bond to their homeowners and should even study to answer easy instructions. Though they’ll develop into fairly daring – free-ranging pets usually torment canines, cats and human guests alike – their nice intelligence is accompanied by a delicate nature. For all their toughness, Hooded Crows are simply harassed by unkind conduct (actual or perceived!) on the a part of their homeowners…and they won’t forgive or overlook!


As is true for younger kids, their energetic minds have the capability for each studying and mischief. Certainly, Hooded Crows appear pushed to govern, and if potential destroy, something they’ll get their highly effective beaks upon. That is an outgrowth of their pure conduct, and can’t be “skilled” away. Hooded Crows ought to by no means be left at massive in a room that isn’t fully “crow-proofed”. Earlier than permitting your hen entry to a room, undergo it as in case you had been about to launch a gang of toddlers, after which examine once more!


In flight

Uploaded to Wikipedia Commons by انفی


Hooded Crows are massive and really energetic, and want loads of flight house. A custom-built or industrial outside aviary, or a properly-outfitted indoor room, is the one possibility for a pet Hooded Crow. Industrial cages designed for even the most important macaws fall far in need of their wants.


Hooded Crows stored outside are typically very vigorous. Though they readily adapt to chilly climate, heated shelters ought to be accessible throughout winter. Given their wide selection, it’s doubtless that people from southern populations could also be considerably cold-sensitive, so attempt to decide your pet’s origin if potential. Indoors, Hooded Crows are greatest situated the place they’ll observe folks…in addition they take an curiosity in televisions and telephone conversations.


Even when offered sufficient house, Hooded Crows will languish if not stimulated by toys, behavioral enrichment, and out-of-cage time. Day by day interplay with folks is important if they’re to stay handle-able. Regarding dealing with, it should be understood that the beak is a formidable weapon, and that even unintentional accidents could be VERY extreme. It’s essential to maintain one’s face and eyes out of attain, and to know that crows can’t be trusted on this regard. Please publish under for additional data on dealing with.

Hooded crow, adult

Uploaded to Wikipedia Commons by pelican

Weight loss plan

Though they take an extremely wide selection of meals, Hooded Crows have distinct carnivorous leanings. Rodents, carrion, eggs and bugs type a big a part of the pure food plan.


Crow homeowners have had success with diets based mostly on cat and canine meals, however I desire a food plan much like that I’ve used for a lot of crows, magpies and jays in zoos. Industrial bird-of-prey food plan, into which I combine pigeon pellets and softbill meals, offers the majority of their meals consumption. I imagine that complete mice or chicks and bugs are important in assuring correct calcium consumption and long run well being.


Tossing a handful of crickets or different bugs into your crow’s aviary is an excellent approach to preserve the hen occupied. Canned grasshoppers, snails and different invertebrates can be utilized to offer essential dietary selection. A variety of greens, chopped nuts, and fruits (in reasonable quantities) must also be offered. Arduous-boiled eggs are an particularly favored deal with.


The Hooded Crow’s pure food plan accommodates an excellent variety of complete animals, and is probably going calcium-rich. Along with pink or grownup mice, pets ought to obtain calcium and vitamin/mineral dietary supplements. Pure daylight and full spectrum bulbs must also be offered.




Additional Studying

African Pied Crow Care

 Do Software-Utilizing Crows Surpass Parrots and Apes in Intelligence?

Japan’s Wonderful Carrion Crows



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