From Tolkien Gateway

Not all the birds are to be trusted.

Crebain by Daniel Govar

Crebain were large birds of the crow-kind, native to Dunland and Fangorn Forest.


The Fellowship of the Ring encountered various flocks of crebain on their arrival in Hollin. Fearing that they were used as spies by Saruman, the Fellowship spent the entire day in hiding, without a campfire.[1]


Crebain is the Sindarin plural of craban. The word was derived from Mannish tongues.[2]

The plural form was known from the Lord of the Rings while the singular form was published in 2007; even before the publication of this singular, craban was the generally assumed form by students of Sindarin, although the forms croban or creban were possible as well.[3]


The similarity between craban and Proto-Germanic *hrabanaz[4] and its derivatives, such as raven, has been noted by several writers.[5][6][7]

Portrayal in adaptations

2001: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring:

A flock of Crebain "from Dunland" appears when the Fellowship is in Hollin. Though Gimli at first dismisses it as a cloud, Boromir notices them going too fast, and against the wind. The Fellowship hide as the birds swoop by.[8] The crebain are revealed to have indeed been spies when they report to Saruman at Isengard later.[9]

See also