Torresian Crows Corvus orru are the most common of the Crow family in the northern part of Australia and are the most likely of the Crow species that you will encounter. In Broome it is the only Crow species and we do not have Ravens, so it makes identification easy. If you go birding in more southerly regions you will encounter other Crow and Raven species and identification can then become more problematic.
Torresian Crows are observed both in town and in the bush and they build very large nests. At this time of year we observe the Torresian Crows chasing off Channel-billed Cuckoos when they arrive from the north. There is an overlap of distribution for both the Torresian Crows and Channel-billed Cuckoos at this time of year in Australia. The Channel-billed Cuckoos will attempt to deposit their eggs in the nests of the Torresian Crows. Despite the chasing the Torresian Crows are not always successful, because on several occasions we have observed adult Torresian Crows feeding almost fully fledged Channel-billed Cuckoos.
Torresian Crows always appear to be curious and will wander around on foot amongst the gardens and parks. They are a large black bird with a piercing white eye. The Torresian Crows are rarely alone and will feed on roadkill if it becomes available as well as grain, fruit, insects and other invertebrates. The Torresian Crows below were checking out the bush side of a street in Broome.
The inquisitive nature of Torresian Crows soon had them across the street in a garden. In Broome we can access free mulch from the local Shire and this is a good source of insects. It was interesting watching the Torresian Crows pick over the mulch with their feet looking for food.
Although identification might be harder in other areas of Australia in Broome we only encounter the Torresian Crow. When we travel south we need to take into consideration other species and often it is the sound that initially distinguishes them from the other species rather than their appearance. Torresian Crows can be very vocal in a group calling out “arr, arr, arr, arr”. There’s actually a rather bad joke about why they get hit by trucks-they can’t say “truck”-only “car”!