Corvus (heraldry)

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Former County Dublin coat of arms

In heraldry, the term Corvus refers to depictions of either crows or ravens, as they are not distinguished from each other. A corvus is usually depicted with hairy feathers and closed wings. The term shares the same roots as the genus corvus, the Latin term for raven.[1]

A crow speaking will have its mouth agape or open as if it were speaking. Crows may also be called corbies, as in the canting arms of Corbet, c. 1312.

The Cornish chough is also depicted in heraldry, but is only distinguishable if proper, meaning depicted as black with red beak and feet. For canting purposes, the Cornish chough is sometimes called a beckit.[2] County Dublin in Ireland, Lisbon, the capital of Portugal as well as the city of Moss in Norway have crows in their coats-of-arms.

The Hungarian family Hunyadi also used the raven in their coats of arms. Matthias Corvinus of Hungary named his famous library (Bibliotheca Corviniana) after the bird. It might have inspired the uniform and name of his mercenary army (Black Army of Hungary), and his illegitimate son, János Corvinus also wore the bird's name.

The Corbet (Corbel, Corby, Corbe) family from the Channel Islands are also names having been corrupted over time from the Latin word corvus.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Jobling, James A (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. p. 119. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
  2. ^ SCA - West Kingdom College of Heralds - Heraldic Templates Archived 2008-02-22 at the Wayback Machine[unreliable source?]