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 when the bird last ate and it is especially important to ensure young chicks always have full crops. It is also a common site for impactions 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 small in ducks and geese and is much larger and muscular in seed eating birds. Pigeons have epithelial cells in their crop sensitive to prolactin which slough when chicks (squabs) hatch, producing crop milk. Owls have no storage facility in their crops, so produce a pellet of indigestible material after every meal.


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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