Torresian Crows

The Torresian Crow (Corvus orru), also occasionally called the Australian Crow, is about the same size (50-55 cm in length) as the Eurasian Carrion Crow but with a more robust bill and slightly longer legs.

It has the typical white iris of the other Australasian Corvus species but can be distinguished from most (except the Little Crow) by the base of the head and neck feathers being snow white (revealed when blown by a strong wind).

It also shuffles its wings after alighting.

Distribution and habitat

Its range occupies the tropical north of Australia as far south as Brisbane on the east coast where the species seems to be adjusting well to a city life. Over much of this range, it is simple to distinguish from other species, as it is the only corvid found in northern Australia.

The form described here is the mainland Australian race C. orru ceciliae but other races occur on various islands to the north such as C. orru orru (the nominate form from Papua New Guinea and the Moluccas), C. orru insularis from New Britain and nearby islands and lastly C. orru latirostris of Tenimber and Barbar Islands (Maluku province).

It is a little more wary than the southern corvids and seems to recognize the significance of anyone carrying a gun and quickly makes itself conspicuous by its absence.

Torresian Crows


A typical crow in that it will take just about anything. It has been seen taking stranded fish on the seashore, carrion, human food scraps, fruit and insects. Adaptable and intelligent like its North American, European, African and Asian relatives, it has learned how to kill and eat the introduced poisonous Cane Toad without ingesting the poison by flipping it onto its back and delivering a lethal blow with its powerful bill.


Two to four eggs in large stick nest high in a tree.


Quite different from the Australian Raven. A nasal “uk-uk-uk-uk-uk” or sometimes an “ok-ok-ok-ok”.

Photo of author

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