This study set out to examine the symbolic meanings and ambivalent characteristics of a crow in Korea and Mongolia, and thus understand the concepts of the bird among people in these two countries. The crow has a strong image due to its ill omen both in Korea and Mongolia, but it originally held the symbolism of principle and good omen based on the traditional faith of shamanism. In Korea, the concept of a sun bird with three feet held important meanings in the culture. In Mongolia, there was no concept of a sun bird for the crow, but it played its roles as a heavenly god, envoy of a deity, interpreter of a god, incarnation of a deity, and guardian. In Korea, the crow also played similar roles as a heavenly god, envoy of a mountain spirit, grim reaper and protecting being against the backdrop of shamanism.
In both these countries, the crow often appears to deliver news or information in tales, which derives from an ancient idea that the crow is fundamentally a divine spiritual envoy. The crow has ambivalent characteristics, preventing disasters as a dark god and also serving as an unlucky ill omen due to its strong power, black image, and crying sound. In many folk beliefs, the crow predicted different things according to the occasions, times, directions, and places of their cries. In Korea, the crow generally represented something ominous. In Mongolia, it represented something neutral or lucky, in addition to something ominous in general. The crow is similar in Korea and Mongolia for its ambivalent characteristics between good omen and ill omen and between good and evil despite some differences, and perceptions of the crow have changed basically based on shamanism.