Bird Database

Fish Crow

(Corvus ossifragus)

State of the Birds
At a Glance



Short distance


Strongly increasing


None identified

Conservation Actions

None identified

Fish Crow

(Corvus ossifragus)

Most people aren’t aware that there are two species of crows in New Hampshire. While the widespread American Crow is familiar to all (and usually just called “crow”), its smaller relative the Fish Crow tends to fly under the proverbial radar. The two are identical in plumage, and the only sure-fire way to tell them apart is by voice. In contrast to the familiar caws of the American Crow, Fish Crow vocalizations are more nasal and often two-noted, a raspy “ca-ha” instead of a throaty “caw.” The two sometimes mix, so unless members of a flock are calling you might not know which species you’re seeing.

Chances are, however, that you’re seeing American Crows. Fish Crows are a relatively recent colonist to New Hampshire, first showing up with any regularity only in the 1970s. At this time, and through the 1990s, they were restricted to the extreme southeastern part of the state (especially the Dover/Durham area). Since then, Fish Crows have spread rapidly up the Merrimack and Salmon Falls River valleys and are now reliable in the Lakes Region as far north as Plymouth and Conway. In the west their stronghold is around Keene, but there are increasingly more records north along the Connecticut River. Most Fish Crows migrate out of the state in the winter, although they are becoming more expected in towns along the Massachusetts border.

Fish Crows in New Hampshire seem to have a strong relationship with people. Even back in the 1980s the best places to find them were shopping centers and the parking lots of fast-food restaurants. As the population increased, birds in the south diversified their habitat use somewhat, but along the leading edge of the expansion they are still most likely in these low-density urban settings. Early in the range expansion, including outside of New Hampshire, the species showed a pattern of appearing in cities far from the edge of the range and gradually filling in behind later. Clearly this is a species that is well-adapted to the developed landscape and shows no sign of being impacted by the activities of human beings.

Seasonal Abundance

Relative abundance based on eBird data. Numbers indicate likelihood of finding this species in suitable habitat at a given time of year, not actual numbers encountered.

Fish Crow
Range Map

Information for the species profiles on this website was compiled from a combination of the sources listed below.

  • The Birds of New Hampshire. By Allan R. Keith and Robert B. Fox. 2013. Memoirs of the Nuttall Ornithological club No. 19.

  • Atlas of the Breeding Birds of New Hampshire. Carol R. Foss, ed. 1994. Arcadia Publishing Company and Audubon Society of New Hampshire

  • Birds of the World. Various authors and dates. Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology.

  • Data from the Breeding Bird Survey

  • Data from the Christmas Bird Count