Corvus corone

Since moving to the harbour 18 months ago I have come to know the local avian residents quite well. There is the flock of friendly pigeons who feature in a lot of my blog posts, a family of jackdaws, mallards and not forgetting the mute swan pair, often accompanied by a canada goose.

Of all of the birds in the area the carrion crows have proved to be some of the most difficult to approach and photograph. Usually quite tame, for some reason this particular pair are skittish and uneasy, quick to take flight if something unsettles them.

Today they were a little more trusting and with some patience (and bribery in the form of grapes!) I was at last able to capture some reasonable images.

Wings spread wide to slow the bird for landing.
IMG_4432-2 (2)
Tucking into the grapes



It would appear the two individuals are a breeding pair as they are rarely seen apart and have occasionally been seen preening each other (not today sadly). One of the birds has a small tuft of white feathers on the chest, the only way to tell the two birds apart.

One of the pair with white feather on the chest

When one of the pair found a source of food they would call to the other with the familiar harsh “caw caw” sound. This is usually accompanied by bobbing the head up and down.

Crow calling

Here one of the birds has erected it’s head feathers, this is usually a sign of aggression or conflict.

IMG_4528-2 (2)
Crow with head feathers raised
A close up

Crows, like many of the corvid family have bright blue third eyelids to protect against injury and keep the eyes clean from debris.


Carrion crows appear all black but under the right light conditions you can see subtle hints of blue and purple reflecting from their glossy feathers.

Carrion crow – Corvus corone

All photographs copyright of Claire Stott/Grey Feather Photography 2017 ©

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