Crop - Anatomy and Physiology

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Also known as: Ingluvies


The crop is a food storage device present in avian species. It is usually used when the muscular stomach (gizzard) is full. The crop also softens food.

It is a useful tool for avian veterinarians and owners for assessing if a bird has recently eaten and it is especially important to ensure young chicks always have full crops. It is also a common site for impactions, rupture and surgical entry to remove foreign bodies.

Structure and Function

Crop of fowl(Copyright RVC)

The crop is a muscular chamber. It is a fusiform enlargement of the ventral wall of the oesophagus at the thoracic inlet. It bulges and lies against the breast muscles.


The crop is innervated by the vagus nerve (CN X).

Species Differences

The crop is absent or vestigial in waterfowl (ducks, swans and geese) and owls and tends to be much larger and muscular in seed eating birds and carnivorous birds of prey. Pigeons have epithelial cells in their crop sensitive to prolactin which slough when chicks (squabs) hatch, producing crop milk.


Click here for more information on the Oesophagus - Anatomy & Physiology

Crop - Anatomy and Physiology Learning Resources
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Avian Alimentary Tract

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