HOODED CROW (Corvus cornix)


This close relative of the carrion crow was thought to be the same species until 2002. While the carrion crow is dominant in England, it is replaced by the hooded crow or “hoodie” in northwest Scotland, Northern Ireland, and the Isle of Man. They have colonised almost every habitat available but are often seen feeding in groups on farmland. As with other corvids, we tend to dislike them as they feed on carrion and songbird eggs, but this incredibly smart species deserves our admiration.

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Alert Status:

Green - 67% increase ↑

Estimated number of UK breeding

pairs: 285,000

Listen to hooded crow song:


The hooded crow is a similar size to the carrion crow but is easily distinguished due to its ash-grey body contrasting its black wings and head. Like other corvids, they have jet-black legs and can often be seen walking along the ground searching for food. The males and females look the same and can only be told apart by accurate measures. They are more sociable crows and can be seen feeding and roosting in groups.

Average Length: 45 - 47cm

Average Lifespan: 4 Years

Average Wingspan: 93 - 104 cm

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Hooded Crow diet

Like their cousins, the hooded crow is omnivorous feeding on carrion, eggs, insects, grain, and occasionally chicks.

How to feed blackbirds: Once they know your garden is safe, hooded crows will eat almost everything you put out from seeds to food scraps. However, having a feeding table will make it easier for them and avoid damaging your smaller feeders.

Hooded Crow breeding and nesting information

Hooded crows are monogamous and form long-term pair bonds and both the male and female contribute to raising the brood. They build a large nest high up in the trees or cliffs out of sticks and occasionally small bones. Mud is pushed in the gaps to create a solid structure and then lined with soft material such as moss and wool. The female usually lays 3-6 eggs and incubates them alone for 17-20 days while the male provides food. Once hatched the chicks can take nearly a month to leave the nest, which means the adults usually only have one brood in a season.

Threats to Hooded Crows

Hooded crows are common across their range and face few threats. However, as with many Corvids, the hooded crow has been persecuted heavily in the past due to the damage it can cause to livestock. It was especially damaging to gamekeepers as it raided nests. However, persecution has decreased allowing some recovery, but licenced killing is still legal. While evidence suggests that crows have a minor impact on prey populations there is some evidence that they can impact the productivity of prey species.

How you can help

Install a feeding table in your garden that crows can feed from as they may damage smaller feeders.

Provide a larger deeper bird bath which they can use to bathe and cool down in the summer.

Don’t scare them away if they come into your garden! If they feel safe, they will return to your garden over and over.

Fascinating Fact

Like other corvids, hooded crows are very intelligent and in Finland have been recorded pulling in fishing lines that have been left in the ice to take the fish caught.
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BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Corvus corone. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/carrion-crow-corvus-corone. Accessed: 29/08/2023.

British trust for ornithology (no date) Hooded crow | BTO - British trust for ornithology. Available at: https://www.bto.org/understanding-birds/birdfacts/hooded-crow (Accessed: 29/08/2023).  

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