From beak to tail, an American crows measures 40–50 cm (16–20 in), almost half of which is tail. Mass varies from about 300 to 600 g (10 to 20 oz). Males tend to be larger than females. The most usual call is caaw-caaw-caaw.
The American crow is all black, with iridescent feathers. It looks much like other all-black corvids. They can be distinguished from the common raven (C. corax) because American crows are smaller and from the fish crow (C. ossifragus) because American crows do not hunch and fluff their throat feathers when they call.
American crows are common, widespread, and susceptible to the West Nile virus, making them useful as a bioindicator to track the virus's spread. Direct transmission of the virus from American crows to humans is unheard of and unlikely.
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