There aren’t many two birds that are so identical yet so different. Yeah, we’re talking about the crow and the blackbird that can often get you perplexed with resembling black plumage. Although they resemble each other, they’re actually two different species.
Looking closely, you can find distinctive features that help you identify who is who. There are some significant differences between these two birds, whether the distinct colored and shaped beaks or the different-looking tails. Besides their physical traits, these birds differ in their vocalization, nest structure, mating pattern, and social habits.
Whether you’re an ornithophile or a twitcher, we can help you with more information regarding the identification features, differences, and similarities between a crown and a blackbird.
Crow Vs. Blackbird: Key Identification Features
Every bird is unique, including the crow and the blackbird. Both have some signatory features that set them apart in terms of physical attributes, behavior, and habitation. Let’s look at the unique characteristics of a crow and a blackbird here.
Unique Identification Features of a Crow
The crow belongs to one of the most intelligent bird genus Corvus from the Corvidae family, which consists of a diverse group of over 120 bird species. We’ll see some unique features here that all the crows share, especially focusing on the American crows.
American Crows have an all-black color pattern, including their bill and legs. The forehead (aka crown), throat, and upper breast are slightly glossy, while the remaining breast part and the neck are somewhat greyish, including the eye ring. But you’ll still have that all-black vibe about the crow after a glance.
American Crow is a reasonably large bird (more giant than Blue Jay or Blackbird). They’ve got long legs and thick necks. Their beak is large and straight, having an arch toward the tip. The tail is shorter and fan-shaped, rounded off at the end. Their vocalization includes a louder and more succinct series of “caw caw caw.”
Crows are social, and they form flocks in significant numbers. They’re curious, mischievous, and love to learn new things. Crows are one of the most intelligent bird species that can even solve puzzles. They’ve their way of finding food, and you’ll see them raiding garbage cans and picking discarded food bags.
Sometimes they can get aggressive, and you’ll see them chasing away more giant birds, including owls, herons, and hawks. They can even become violent with humans. During mating, the crows don’t sing loudly, unlike other birds. They sing at close range, and their song is particular to the social group.
Crows are one of the most widespread birds in the world. BirdLife International estimates the population of American crows to be approximately 31 million. They’re abundant, and you’ll commonly see them in fields, forests, and woodlands.
They’re frequently seen because they often thrive around human gatherings. And that’s why they’re seen on lawns, athletic fields, towns, roadsides, parking lots, and garbage dumps in the towns or cities.
Also read: Can Crows Talk?
Unique Identification Features of a Blackbird
There are many species of blackbirds descending from the huge passerine bird family of Thrush (Turdidae). The common or Eurasian blackbird is the most seen variety and is one of the species of True Thrush.
By seeing their glossy black plumage, you might mistakenly think of the blackbird as a crow. But blackbirds come with some distinct features that make them easily distinguishable from the others. Let’s look at some of them:
The adult male blackbirds have shiny black plumage and blackish brown legs, while the female has a slight sooty brown body with a brownish white throat and reddish-brown breast part. So they’re sexually dimorphic, unlike other birds, including crows.
There’s one particular body part having a similar color pattern in both the male and female blackbirds — their bill; males have a golden yellowish bill while the females have a dull yellow-brownish bill. The color of the eye ring is also common in most blackbirds, which is yellow.
They’re smaller in size than crows but bigger than Blue Jay. Their beak is relatively small, and the tails are slightly tapered. They have black feathers and fly by beating the elliptical wings. The most significant factor that sets the blackbird apart from other birds is its vocalization, which produces melodious songs.
Blackbirds are highly territorial birds. They mightn’t be as aggressive as Robins but quite stubborn as crows about their ground. Although they use it for nesting and pairing, they don’t really use it to obtain food, and they often go afar for hearty meals. They’re unsociable while nesting, but they like to fly in a large flock. They also don’t shy away quickly from humans.
Like crows, the blackbirds are also common in towns, roadsides, and gardens. However, they love to live in broad-leaved trees inside dense vegetation, coniferous forests, thicket, or hedges. You’ll also see them in the cultivated lands, green parks, and wherever there’s green around you.
Crow Vs. Blackbird: Key Differences
Although crows and blackbirds are Passerine birds, they belong to two different family groups, such as Turdidae and Corvidae, respectively.
North American blackbirds are smaller than the crows. North American crows are generally 16 to 21 inches long & weigh 400g, while the European blackbirds are 7 to 11 inches long & weigh around 102g. Besides the size, the primary difference in their appearance is the beak, which is larger and slightly arched for the crows and more petite & straight for the blackbirds.
Also, the color of the beak in a blackbird is yellowish, while it’s black or slightly greyish for the crows. The eye ring color is also different; it’s yellowish for the blackbirds while black for the crows. Other dissimilarities include tails, which are tapered for the blackbirds and straight & fan-shaped for the crows.
Crows sometimes get aggressive and violent, but that never happens with the Blackbirds. However, blackbirds aren’t as intelligent as the crows, especially when learning new things or solving problems while finding food. Blackbirds usually fly as part of a massive flock of hundreds of birds, whereas crows like to fly alone or with a small flock.
There are a few distinct behaviors noted in crows like they’re cooperative breeders who raise nestlings birds that even aren’t their own. They also get involved in winter brooding, where they gather in thousands in an area having large trees. American crows are also known for anting where they allow the ants on the anthills to climb onto them.
Although both the birds love to live around the urban environment due to food abundance, there’s a difference in their habituation. Blackbirds build their nests in the forest area or inside the dense vegetation.
On the other hand, crows love building their nests in the open landscape, having a lot of trees where they can conveniently breed, gather food, and roost. Crows lay 3 to 9 eggs per clutch, whereas blackbirds lay around four eggs per clutch.
Blackbirds are pickier than crows. They don’t raid garbage bins, and most;y eat grains & fruits. On the other hand, the crows aren’t picky eaters at all. They often collect food from garbage and also eat worms, insects, fruits, or grains. The crows also snatch eggs from other nests. On the other hand, blackbirds are more naive while having their food.
One significant difference between these two birds is their vocalization. Crows make a series of very loud caws, while blackbirds produce a melodious squee followed by a rhythmic gurgle.
The blackbirds live for around four years on average, while the average lifespan for a crow is about 7 to 8 years. One interesting thing about the crow is that they hold funerals for their deceased fellow and even keep a vigil for the fallen crow.
Crow Vs. Blackbird: Key Similarities
We’ve seen a lot of differences between the crow and the blackbird. Now it’s time to see where they become so similar. Let’s find out.
- Crow and blackbirds belong to the same Passerine order, the largest order of birds, which is mainly characterized by the Anisodactyl Arrangement of Toes (3 toes face forward while one backward).
- The black color dominates both the birds’ body patterns, and their wing shape is also elliptical.
- Both forage their food and build nests in the trees.
- They like coming to urban environments and don’t quickly shy away from humans.
- Crows and blackbirds also have similar eating habits, like they eat human-made foods, fruits, and grains.
- They are both monogamous, meaning the mated pair will stay together as long as they live.
Videos Of Crow and Blackbird
See the video to learn more about the intelligence and lifestyle of a crow (an American crow)
See the video to learn more about how amazing the blackbirds are.
It’s time to get some more FAQs answered here.
A group of crows is called by an interesting term “murder.” This name originated from folktales that narrate how crows gather to decide the capital fate of some fellow crow.
Crows are more intelligent than blackbirds in solving problems, avoiding being hunted down, remembering faces, or mimicking sounds.
Blackbirds and crows are among the few birds who have adapted nicely to urban environments. And probably that’s why you’re curious about both of them. They’ve got quite some similarities regarding appearance and living patterns.
However, you must’ve seen they’re pretty different when you pay closer attention to their appearance, behavior, vocalization, or habitation. If you haven’t seen them closely, try putting a few pieces of berries or apples in your garden or lawn to attract them and have a better look.