Little Crow

Did you know?

Little Crows behead caterpillars before eating them.

Main call a short sharp, nasal and monotonous nark-nark-nark-nark, or quark-quark
Facts and Figures
Research Species: 
Minimum Size: 
Maximum Size: 
Average size: 
Average weight: 
Breeding season: 
July to October
Clutch Size: 
16 days
18 days
Nestling Period: 
29 days
31 days
Conservation Status
Associated Plants
Plants associated with this species
Basic Information
Scientific Name: 
Atlas Number: 
What does it look like?

The Little Crow is the smallest crow in Australia.   Approximately the same size as an Australian Magpie it is a slender bird with a slender bill.  When perched a Little Crow appears slim and flat chested. It has a comparitvely large head and skinny legs and when flying it's wings appear long and broad.

The head, neck, upperparts, breast, flanks and undertailcoverts of a Little Crow are glossy black with a bluish-green sheen, the intensity of the sheen varying with light. The rest of the bird's underbody, undertail and underwing are black but not glossy.

Similar species: 

It is very difficult to distinguish Little Crows from other ravens and crows other than by call. Little Crows most closely resemble Torresian Crows in shape but, while it is the smallest of the Australian ravens and crows, the differences in size are slight and are only useful in direct comparison. Little Crows are only slightly smaller than Little Ravens. 

Where does it live?

Widespread to the west of the Great Divide in mainland Australia, including South Australia and most of Western Australia. Little Crows are rarely found in far northern tropical areas of Australia and are not seen in Tasmania.


Little Crows are found mainly in dry open woodlands, especially in Mallee, Mulga and other acacia scrubs. They are also seen in worked farmland and often forage round human activities where food is available, including towns, homesteads, rubbish tips, campsites and roadsides, taking food scraps, road-kills and other carrion. When breeding they may be seen in wetlands or watercourses because mud is used to build nests. 

Seasonal movements: 

Little Crows are highly mobile, except in breeding seasons when breeding pairs defend small territories round nest-trees. For the rest of the year, breeding pairs will join large nomadic flocks. Their movements to breeding sites are related to water availability.

What does it do?

Little Crows are omnivorous, eating insects, reptiles, small vertebrates, fruit, grain and meat or carrion.

Gregarious throughout year, Little Crows can be seen in small to large and loose flocks, usually of 5-100 birds, but sometimes in larger flocks of hundreds or even thousands, more often in nonbreeding periods. They are rarely seen in pairs, singly or in small family groups and often associate with other Australian crows or ravens at sources of food, such as road-killed animals or grasshopper swarms.


Little Crows can breed whenever conditions suit, often after heavy rain.  Their nests are made of small sticks and mud, lined with bark, feathers, leaves or fur. The nests are usually built in an upright, multi-pronged fork at, or near, the top of a tree, usually among foliage but occasionally in a dead tree. 

Nestlings and fledgelings fed by both parents. 

Living with us

Little Crows are often attracted to human created food sources such as farmland, town garbage, campsites, and schoolyards. They often take eggs from fowl yards and sometimes eat commercial grain crops.  Little Crows are widely considered a pest of  the sheep industry, especially in lambing season, although studies have shown that they usually only attack sick or dead lambs.  Conversely they are useful to farmers and pastoralists because they eat large numbers of grasshoppers, blowflies and other insect pests or their larvae.

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