Taxonomy of the Northwestern Crow Corvus caurinus


Currently there is a proposal to The North American Classification Committee to consider re-splitting Northwestern Crow from American Crow. This proposal has garnered interest in a recent article by Robert W. Butler, published in British Columbia Birds, so we have decided to make the article generally available rather than having it confined to the Members Only pages of the British Columbia Birds website. You can download the paper here.

Taxonomy of the Northwestern Crow  Corvus caurinus

Robert W. Butler

1Pacific WildLife Foundation, PO Box 112, Reed Point Marina, 850 Barnet Highway, Port Moody, BC   V3H 1V6

Abstract: A recent genomic study by Slager et al. (2020) suggested that the Northwestern Crow (Corvus caurinus) and the American Crow (C. brachyrhynchos) hybridized along a >1400 km wide zone between northwest Washington and the north coast of British Columbia. A reanalysis of those data suggests hybridization is confined to coastal valleys inhabited by humans and isolated from much of the British Columbia coast by uninhabited fjords and where genetics of crows has yet to be described. Based on these results, it is recommended that Corvus caurinus be retained as a full species.

Key words: Corvus caurinusCorvus brachyrhynchos, speciation, subspecies, hybrids

PDFiconButler, R. W. 2021. Taxonomy of the Northwestern Crow Corvus caurinusBritish Columbia Birds 31:41–46.

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