Family Crows and Jays (Corvidae)

Least Concern

Bismarck Crow (Corvus insularis)


French: Corneille des Bismarck German: Heinrothkrähe Spanish: Cuervo de las Bismarck

Corvus insularis


, 1903,

Gazelle Peninsula, New Britain, Bismarck Archipelago


Formerly treated as a race of C. orru, more recently as a race of C. meeki. Differs from former mainly in overall morphology (structure, bill size, tail length), iris colour of juvenile, and vocalizations; from C. meeki less markedly in overall morphology, but significantly in iris colour of adult, vocalizations, preferred habitat, flocking behaviour, and flight action (deep wingbeats interspersed with glides vs shallow wingbeats). Monotypic.


Bismarck Archipelago: New Britain, New Ireland, New Hanover and satellite islands.

Descriptive notes

40–41 cm. Medium-sized crow with a massive black bill and a rather short tail. Entire plumage is glossy black; iris pale blue; bill black, sometimes with pale tip; legs... read more


Series of short nasal staccato cawing notes, shorter and more rapid than those of C. orru... read more


Forest edge, partly cleared areas, gardens, and plantations of coconut (Cocos nucifera)... read more

Food and feeding

Probably omnivorous; insects, berries and fruits, including wood-boring grubs in coconut plantations. A tame bird was seen to cache surplus... read more


Eggs reported in Feb–Mar and nestling(s) in Mar. One nest was 50 cm wide and 15 cm deep, lined with coconut palm sheath fibres and... read more


Apparently resident. Flocks appear to be locally mobile; often seen flying at great height,... read more

Status and conservation

Not assessed. Probably not globally threatened. Restricted-range species: present in New Britain and New Ireland EBA. Common in disturbed areas; one of the very few bird... read more

Recommended citation

Debus, S. (2020). Bismarck Crow (Corvus insularis). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 26 February 2020).