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Crows and Jays: Corvidae - Physical Characteristics

birds corvids family bird

Corvids, members of the Corvidae family, range in length from 7.4 inches (19 centimeters) in Hume's ground jay to the northern raven, which is 22.62 to 26.91 inches (58 to 69 centimeters) long. Hume's ground jays weigh 1.47 to 1.61 ounces (42 to 46 grams). Northern ravens range from 2.02 to 3.43 pounds (.92 to 1.6 kilograms).

The Corvus genus of crows includes the crow, raven, jackdaw, and rook. These birds have shiny black plumage, feathers, and harsh calls. Jays are the colorful members of this family. The Eurasian jay and blue jay have blue and white feathers. Magpies are related to jays and plumage (feather) color is often described in the names of these birds, like the green magpie.

Corvids have strong bills. Most birds have black or dark bills, and feathers or whisker-like bristles cover the nostrils of many birds. Members of this family have large feet with strong toes. Birds use their toes to hold onto prey, the food that they hunt.

Corvids have long tails and rounded wings. Wing length varies with the amount of flying a bird does. Long wings are found on birds that migrate, travel long distances from one place to another.

Corvids belong to the Passeriformes, song bird or perching bird, order. While other birds in this order sing sweetly, the corvids' loud, harsh calls are described as screeching or croaking sounds.

Crows and Jays: Corvidae - Behavior And Reproduction [next]

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