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12.6: Couvs branchyrhynchos: American Crow

Difficulty Level: At Grade Created by: CK-12
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Common Name

  • Crow
  • American Crow


The crow varies in height from 16-21 inches. The crow is distinguished by the dark black feathers, beak, and feet. This bird is known for its black, raven-like coloring and large size. The bird is known for being intelligent and a great problem solver, and for having a habit of stealing shiny objects. Because of this, often near crow nests people find jewellery and other objects.

Humans affect the crow in many ways. One of the most impactful ways is human waste. As humans today we are producing trash hazardous to our environment, dangerous to our animals and other plant species. The American crow tends to hang around human areas to scavenge for food.

The American crow was first discovered and described by Christian Ludwig Brehm in 1822. It’s scientific name, Corvus Brachyrhynchos means "short-billed crow", from the Ancient Greek language brachy- (βραχυ-) "short-" and rhynchos (ρυνχος) "billed".

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Corvidae
  • Genus: Corvus
  • Species: C. brachyrhynchos


The American crow tends to live in urban areas in which they can scavenge for food. The crow thrives throughout North America; they are very versatile and adaptive animals. They are most typically found in the inland areas. They tend to stay in urban areas, in which they live in an inorganic environment. This is because they wait for food, and while doing so interact with humans.


Cell Biology

The American crow species contains eukaryotic cells. This type of cell features many different types of organelles. All of these organelles serve a specific purpose. For example, the nucleus contains genetic material. The cellular membrane is a skin around the cell that acts as a shield and keeps all the inner parts of the cells together. The lysosomes are a crucial part of the cells. Its their job is to discard of any waste in the cell. The Golgi apparatus is important because it sends protein to different places in the cell. There are still many more important organelles in the eukaryotic cell.


The American crow is to believed to have evolved in central Asia and spread to North America, where they adapted to the climate very quickly. All birds first originated from a certain branch of dinosaurs called theropods. A dinosaur fossil discovered in the 1960s named Deinonychus showed evidence of the evolution of flight. Dinosaur experts believe that dinosaurs that lived among the trees lept into the air to run away from predators or to catch food, resulting in wings. Another theory is that the early bird ancestors lived among the trees. The power of flight allowed them to jump from branch to branch.

The American crow is often confused with the northwestern crow (C. caurinus). Its ancestors became separated by Ice Age glaciation west of the Rocky Mountains. The two species are much alike. There is a marked difference in voice, however.

Anatomy and Physiology

All birds are vertebrates, modified so they have the ability to fly. Birds are known to be the last existence of prehistoric dinosaurs. Birds are warm blooded, unlike lizards and most reptiles. Birds have thrived throughout history evolving, over the years to thrive in existence. They are unique to the kingdom of Animalia for their pneumatic bones, meaning they are hollow. Their hollow bones allow them to fly and carry themselves in the air easier. Birds have a four-chambered heart, which serves to deliver oxygen to the rest of the body. The four-chamber heart helps to circulate blood so the body properly receives oxygen.


The peregrine falcon is non-aggressive toward humans and animals that aren’t prey. This animal is solitary except during mating seasons, when they mate, then care for young. They kill small animals like rabbits for food.




  • Jalani Taylor
  • Sophia Fuller

Supervising Faculty

  • Amy Huff Shah


  • Museum School, San Diego, California


  • Published prior to review.

Edit History

  • Created: April 5, 2013
  • Version 1.0 submitted to CK-12: July 11, 2013
  • CK-12 edits: in progress


  • Middle School (grades 6-8)

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Date Created:
Jul 18, 2013
Last Modified:
Jan 30, 2016
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