Collared Crow

Collared Crow Corvus torquatus Nearly a Chinese endemic, the collared crow occurs in eastern, central, and southeastern China in a range bordered by Liaoning to the northeast, Gansu to the northwest, and Yunnan to the southwest; it is also on Hainan and in northern Vietnam. Very much tied to lowlands, the collared crow is patchily distributed across its range and is apparently declining. Most often found on or near agricultural land, especially rice paddies near streams and scattered trees; avoids areas favored by large-billed crow, as for example dense forests. Like most crows, feeds almost entirely on ground, but unlike many crows consumes little carrion. Monotypic and unmistakable; at first glance or from a distance, may be mistaken for a Daurian jackdaw, but Daurian jackdaw is noticeably smaller and stockier and is completely white below throat. Collared crow has greyish-white plumage restricted to nape, upper mantle, sides of neck, and across breast. Rest of plumage glossy black. Feet black. Juvenile has looser plumage with white areas washed grey. In size, head shape (low, flat crown) and bill (slender, pointed, black) very much like carrion crow; but carrion crow has entirely black plumage. Typical corvid array of caws and croaks, usually more high-pitched than those of large-billed crow. — Craig Brelsford


Daniel Bengtsson served as chief ornithological consultant for Craig Brelsford’s Photographic Field Guide to the Birds of China, from which this species description is drawn.

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