Crows are amongst the most intelligent of birds, several species, such as the Jay, store food through the winter and a few species have developed the ability to use tools. Most are remarkably adaptable and quick to exploit new food sources and many live close to man. The crows are small to moderately large birds, indeed the ravens are the largest of all passerines, and most are birds of woodland and forest. All have stout beaks with bristle-like feathers covering the nostrils, and they feed on a wide range of prey.
Crows are long lived and generally monogamous. The breeding season is often timed to exploit abundant prey for the nestlings, so Rooks, for example, nest in March to feed on earthworms in April, whereas Jays, on the other hand, nest in April or May to exploit caterpillars.
The Carrion Crow, common over most of Britain, is replaced by the very closely related Hooded Crow, in north-west Scotland (indeed hybrids can commonly be found where the two meet, in a zone which is steadily moving northwards).