top of page

Counting crows

Well, someone has to - and good job they did. This Hong Kong resident bird's global population appears to be in freefall, down to under 2,000 from an estimate of up to 30,000 just over a decade ago.

There are a total of 130 species under Corvidae, including some species of Magpie and Crow, but here we are referring to the unique Collared Crow (Corvus torquatus); this one from Mai Po in Hong Kong.


One study led by Paul Leader, Director of AEC Ltd, collected recent distribution and population data in South China, He and his team recently published the findings of this study in an international peer-reviewed journal Forktail. Mr. Leader explained, “This is the first systematic global population estimate for this species. We found the largest population was in the Dabie Shan area, a conjunction with three provinces: Hubei, Hunan and Anhui with a total of 450 individuals recorded. Hong Kong was found to be the second most important area for this species with a peak count of 362

individuals recorded. Though this species could still be found in other provinces, it was absent in some areas such as Shandong, Shanxi and Shanghai, and crucially the total population was estimated at fewer than 2,000 individuals.” This study was from 2017.

Soooo, what does Counting Crows mean?

and do you remember the rock band? songs included.....Mr Jones? Round here?

Anyway, from what I remember as a kid, mainly on car journeys, the number of crows you see predicts the future: Seeing just a single crow is considered an omen of bad luck. Finding two crows, however, means good luck. Three crows mean health, and four crows mean wealth.

This is not to be confused with Magpies...(and who amongst you remembers that TV show?) One for sorrow,

Two for joy,

Three for a girl,

Four for a boy,

Five for silver,

Six for gold,

Seven for a secret never to be told.

In Hong Kong, we can see 5 species of crows: two are native residents: Collared Crow and the Large-billed Crow Another resident species is introduced; the House Crow. Whilst the remaining two species are rare winter visitors.


bottom of page