Here's a picture (by Rob Curtis) of a crow carrying and eating the corpse of what looks a bit like a small hawk or falcon:

Crow carrying dead bird

Other pictures clearly show the crow is eating the dead bird. This image shows the underside of the head and beak; this one shows its legs, which are grayish.

  1. What bird is being eaten?
  2. Is this bird a usual part of the corvid diet? Or did the crow just opportunistically scavenge a dead bird?

2 Answers 2


Crows are omnivorous, and will eat almost anything they find or can kill.

In this case the prey looks like a Yellow-Shafted Flicker.

enter image description here

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I would add that most corvid are scavengers, and there are also some that are "specialized" at that, such as the Carrion Crow (Corvus corone). $\endgroup$
    – nico
    Commented Sep 15, 2012 at 11:20
  • $\begingroup$ Also, do you think the crow killed the woodpecker (rather than scavenging it)? $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 17, 2012 at 22:00
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Mechanical snail - I don't think that there is any way that anyone could know the answer to this question unless they were a witness to what happened. $\endgroup$
    – Alan Boyd
    Commented Sep 18, 2012 at 5:01
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I agree with @AlanBoyd that we cannot know for sure but I would say it is unlikely that a crow could catch and kill a healthy flicker. So just based on that, it seems more likely it scavenged it. $\endgroup$
    – DQdlM
    Commented Feb 25, 2013 at 15:53
  • $\begingroup$ The crow looks like it is just admiring the dead flickers' colors. I think it picked it up in the way it would pick up any colorful thing. The flicker probable died by flying into a window. $\endgroup$
    – peter
    Commented May 8, 2018 at 21:32

It's eating a flicker woodpecker. And yes, it did kill it and is eating it. Crows and ravens are omnivorous but also predators. They will opportunistically kill any small prey they can catch. Most birds are too quick for a crow, but flickers and all woodpeckers are notoriously slow flyers. It's about the only type of bird that is both small enough and slow enough for a crow to catch. Attached are some images of crows as predators.

Crow v Flicker 1

Crow v Flicker 2

Crow v Flicker 3

Crow v Rabbit 1

Crow v Rabbit 2

Crow v Rabbit 3

Crow v Rabbit 4

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Biology.SE! This looks like a good answer, but answers are much more likely to receive a favorable response if you include supporting references (primary literature is best). Without that support, it is hard to know whether this is normal behavior. This is a good example of how to format references. ——— You may also want to take the tour and then consult the help center pages for additional advice on How to Answer effectively on this site. Thank you! $\endgroup$
    – tyersome
    Commented Jun 6, 2021 at 16:35
  • $\begingroup$ In addition, please provide a citation/source for the images you are using — images must be credited to their creators just like quotes are to their authors. This is generally considered good practice in scientific communication and will help other users understand by providing context. $\endgroup$
    – tyersome
    Commented Jun 6, 2021 at 16:36

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