Maine is home to several species of large, smart, loud, occasionally obnoxious, sometimes eerie, endlessly fascinating birds called corvids. Our two species of jay belong to this family, Canada Jay and Blue Jay, as well as three similar-looking black birds: American Crow, Fish Crow, and Common Raven.
Crows and ravens are notoriously difficult to tell apart from one another, but we’re here to help.
Though American Crows are more common than Common Ravens, both species can be found in every county of the state. Fish Crows, on the other hand, are much less common and are generally only found along the coast between Kittery and about Brunswick, and then only in the summer. However, Fish Crows are expanding their range in Maine and have been spotted as far north as Bangor.
Ravens are larger than both species of crow in Maine, about the size of a Red-tailed Hawk, but again can be tricky if seeing a bird by itself. Thankfully, there are some helpful features of a raven’s body that make it easier to distinguish. Ravens have larger bills than crows (in fact, American Crow’s name Corvus brachyrhynchos translates to “Short-billed Raven”), and a distinct wedge-shaped tail in flight. Crows have a simple fan-shaped tail.
Keep an eye (and ear) out for your local Corvids!