Nebraska Ornithologists' Union


Date of this Version



“The Fish Crow (Corvus ossifragus) Reaches Nebraska” from Nebraska Bird Review (December 2009) 77(4).


Copyright 2009 Nebraska Ornithologists’ Union. Used by permission.


The Fish Crow (Corvus ossifragus) was formerly endemic to the southeastern United States where it inhabited coastal areas along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts (McGowan 2001). Since the early 1900s, the species has steadily expanded north and west along major river systems (McGowan 2001). Fish Crow range expansion has followed a logical pattern, expanding along major rivers in regions close to established populations, in adjacent states to the south and east of Nebraska. The species was first recorded in Missouri in 1964 (Robbins and Easterla 1992). In 1984, Fish Crow was first reported in Kansas and by 1991 was found breeding in that state (Thomson and Ely 1992). Iowa's first record was in 1991 (Kent and Dinsmore 1996). There are no records from adjacent states to the north and west of Nebraska (Tallman et al. 2002, Andrews and Righter 1992, Scott 1993, Wyoming Game and Fish Department 1997).

The Fish Crow has long been considered an inevitable addition to Nebraska's avifauna. During the summer of 2009, we observed an adult Fish Crow on multiple occasions on the lower Platte River (LPR) near its confluence with the Missouri River. Documentation was provided to the Nebraska Ornithologists' Union Records Committee (NOURC) and this observation was subsequently accepted as the first documented record for the species in Nebraska (Mark Brogie, NOURC Chairperson, personal communication). Here, we describe our observations and comment on the future occurrence of the species in Nebraska.