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(vertebrate zoology)
A family of large birds in the order Passeriformes having stout, long beaks; includes the crows, jays, and magpies.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a family of birds of the order Passeriformes. The birds are of medium and large dimensions (up to 65 cm in length) with powerful beaks and claws. They have nostrils covered with trichoid feathers (adult rooks are an exception) and straight tails, which are either rounded or stepped. Some members of Corvidae (magpies, tropical magpies, and jays) have very long tails. The plumage is thick and in many species has a metallic luster. There are more than 100 species. They are distributed widely and found everywhere but Antarctica, New Zealand, and certain ocean islands. Their haunts are varied and include forests, steppes, deserts, mountains, and populated areas.

Usually members of Corvidae nest in separate pairs and less frequently in colonies. They are monogamous. They build their nests in trees or bushes, on rocks, and on the roofs of buildings. They lay three to eight speckled eggs once a year in early spring. Most species are roosting and migratory birds. They are omnivorous. Some members of Corvidae are useful as exterminators of murine rodents and harmful insects; others are harmful and damage crops (corn and sunflowers, for example) or destroy the eggs and fledglings of other birds. In the USSR there are 17 species, including the Alpine chough, raven, crow, jackdaw, rook, chough, Siberian jay, magpie, and jay.


Ptitsy Sovetskogo Soiuza, vol. 5. Edited by G. P. Dement’ev and N. A. Gladkov. Moscow, 1954.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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RM mL [O.sub.2]/ BW GS Family Genus/species hg g pg Muscicapidae Turdus merula 2.13 82.8 2.49 Turdus philomelos 2.49 64.9 2.18 Emberizidae Zonotrichia albicollis 2.88 22.1 2.73 Ploceidae Lonchura striata 3.71 10.3 2.84 Passer domesticus 3.10 24.7 2.49 Corvidae Cyanocitta cristata 1.85 80.8 2.86 Garrulus glandarius 1.62 153.0 2.47 Pica pica 1.41 188.3 2.50 Corvus monedula 1.56 203.7 2.49 Corvus corone 1.22 465.2 2.46 Corvus corax 1.01 1029.1 2.42 RESULTS
Sturnidae (2 spp.), Emberizidae (1 sp.), Motacillidae (1 sp.), Alaudidae (1 sp.), Passeridae (1 sp.), Laniidae (2 spp.), Zosteropidae (1 sp.), Corvidae (2 spp.), Dicruridae (1 sp.), Muscicapidae (3 spp.), Pycnonotidae (2 spp.), Cisticolidae (4 spp.), Leiothrichidae (1 sp.), Hirundinidae (1 sp.) belonged to Passeriformes.