Crows: 10 Facts to Know about the Black Bird

Avatar of Shaimaa Olwan
Updated on: Educator Review By: Michelle Connolly

The crows are genus birds that belong to the crow family, they are among the birds known in many parts of the world as there are many types, shapes and species, although it is dominated by the black colour that is called the crow of mourning. The crow is characterised by the prestige of its voice, which makes people pessimistic when seeing it or hearing its voice, in addition to its dark black colour.

The crow is attracted by bright and colourful things a lot, and it is not surprising that people find in the crows‘ nests coloured pieces of soap and shiny golden things. The crow is considered one of the useful birds that are the friend of the farmer, as the crow feeds on pests and insects, just like the hoopoe and monkeys.

The crow is characterised by a relatively high level of intelligence compared to other birds, as it can use tools and build them. In addition to the ability to adapt quickly, its voice is loud and sharp, called squawking.

Crow Facts for Kids
Crow Facts for Kids

Characteristics

Crows are known for their glossy black colour. The length of the wings may reach one metre. They come in different sizes, the length of the crow in general reaches 69 cm, and the length of the American crow is about 45 cm, while the weight of the crow in general ranges from 337 to 1625 Gloom.

Crow behaviour

The crow has a skill in problem-solving and communication, and it does not forget faces, and it is found alone in nature while it feeds in groups, and when one of the crows dies, the rest of the group gathers in order to mourn for the dead and to find out the cause of the death. If it turns out that he has been exposed to predation, they unite together and start chasing predators under the so-called mobbing process.

Young and unmarried crows live together in a group called communal roosting. The crow usually migrates to warm regions. The American crow may harm agricultural crops. In return, it may prevent damage by eating insects.

Crow reproduction

From mid-March until mid-July, the male and female crows begin to build. They nest together for a period ranging from 8 to 14 days, and the female incubates four to five eggs for a period of 18 days, then leaves the nest after about a month, despite her inability to feed herself for another 30 days.

One fledgling remains with its parents for the following nesting seasons to help them care for it and to be free. They are used during breeding, bringing food, and in the spring and summer seasons. They are usually seen flying in family flocks, and in the late summer, fall, and winter seasons, crows migrate and gather from far away to stay together.

Crow feeding

The crow is defined as a carnivorous bird that eats small animals, such as mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and eggs. It also eats insects, seeds, grains, nuts, fruits, non-insect arthropods, molluscs, and worms, in addition to other types of birds. It has also been observed that it eats from garbage and stores food in the short term in trees or on the ground.

The crow feeds on a wide range of foodstuffs, and this large number of them is due to the presence of many types of crows, such as the American crow, the carrion crow, the Australian crow, the small crow and the fish crow.

Crows LearningMole

Nutritional behaviour

The crow has a nutritional behaviour that is distinguished from other birds and animals, and this behaviour consists of the following:

1.      Hunting during the daytime

Crows have great activity early in the morning and in the afternoon. Therefore, their movement increases during this period of time, and their hunting activity increases to obtain food.

2.      Food adaptation in all seasons

One of the characteristics of crows is that they adapt to different regions and seasons. It eats worms and invertebrates in the spring and summer, while its diet depends largely on decomposing waste in the winter.

  • Consuming insects

Crows consume a lot of insects in their diet, and this is very beneficial for farmers because they feed on insects that damage crops, such as weevils and grasshoppers.

  • Food theft and deception

Crows are deceitful birds. They follow adult birds secretly to get their nests after they leave or to prey on their young. They also distract other animals and birds from stealing their food.

  • Intelligence

Crows are very smart, as they throw nuts in front of cars until they break from the wheels of cars and eat what is inside them, and they also throw oysters on rocks to break and eat what is inside them.

  • Hunting

Although the crow is not famous for hunting, it preys and hunts small animals, such as mice and frogs. Opportunism Crows are opportunistic birds, so they depend a lot on their diet to steal fruits from trees quickly and unexpectedly.

  • Finding food underground

Crows are good at obtaining food, even that which is underground. It has special capabilities that enable it to fly and pick up food that is underground very quickly.

Food Digestion in crows

The bodies of crows, like all birds, contain two parts inside the stomach that work to digest food properly and completely. The first part is the glandular stomach, which is responsible for the secretion of digestive enzymes, which enable the digestive system to begin digestion processes, while the second part is the gizzard (or gizzard or muscular stomach), which is a thick part and full of muscles.

The gizzard is used to grind food using Pellets, and the granules, which are produced by the giblets, consist of the food remaining without digestion, such as bones, sand, gravel, feathers, seeds and solid bodies.

These granules are useful for the bodies of crows, in addition to their contribution to breaking down food. It is also a very important source of calcium and for the formation of eggshells in the female body.

Types of Crows

They are classified into four different types, which we include as follows:

1.      The American crow

This includes the American crow, the fish crow, and the northwestern crow, and it is characterised by short, square tails. The beaks are straight and black.

2.      The Common crow

It is black, its feathers are swollen around its throat, and its beak is thicker than the American crow, and it prefers to live alone or in pairs.

3.     Covered with black feathers

They usually have light-coloured eyes with grey feathers on the head, neck, and chest, and their bodies are covered with black feathers, and they are small in size compared to others, and their beaks are short.

4.      Northern and central Europe and Asia

They are black in colour, their skin is pale and grey around the beak, and their leg feathers are dense compared to others.

Crows LearningMole
Close up of American Crow sitting on a wooden ledge; Pacific Ocean coastline in the background; San Simeon, California

Where does a crow live?

Crows are spread all over the world, the American crow lives in North America, specifically in large areas, such as agricultural lands, pastures near trees, and suburbs, and common types of crows live in northern Europe, Scandinavia, Iceland, and Greenland. In Asia, on the coasts of the Pacific Ocean, in the Himalayas, India, Iran, northwest Africa, and the Canary Islands.

Crows live in many habitats that spread all over the world except Antarctica and can be found in the tundra, in mountain forests, deciduous forests, evergreen coniferous forests, in deserts, pastures, steppes, on the edges of rainforests, and in cities and villages. In the Americas, the crow prefers to live in sea coasts, treeless tundra, and cliffs Rocky, mountain forests, settles on the banks of rivers open, plains, deserts, and forest lands.

Crows’ habitat according to their types

The places where crows live vary according to their types:

Common raven

It is the most common type of crow. It lives in northern Europe, in Scandinavia, Iceland and Greenland, and throughout Asia from the Pacific Ocean to the Himalayas to India and Iran, in northwest Africa and the Canary Islands, and in North and Central America to as far south as Nicaragua.

 American crow

It can be found throughout North America, but it is more prevalent in agricultural lands and open pastures that abound with trees near it.

Carrion crow

The raven or common raven can be found throughout Europe and Western Asia, especially in wide open areas, such as plains and steppes.

What do crows eat in their habitats?

Crows are carnivorous birds, as they feed mainly on small animals, such as mammals, amphibians, and reptiles also feed on eggs, carrion, insects, seeds, grains, nuts, fruits, non-insect arthropods, molluscs, worms, and some other types of birds. Leftover food from the garbage and crows usually store food in their hideouts, as the amount of food is sufficient for a short period of time.

Crows’ behaviour in their habitats

Crows live in large, cohesive families. They hunt together, feed together, defend their habitats and raise their young together, and with the approach of winter, crows gather in large groups at night, and their numbers range from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands.

There are many possibilities that explain this behaviour, such as the desire to exchange information or protect itself from predators, or simply seek warmth. Between 5-6 eggs, green or olive in colour, with markings in a dark colour, and young crows remain with their parents for nearly six years of age before separating from them to begin to reproduce.

Crow Chicks in the nest
Crow Chicks in the nest

Crows Average Age

The average age of the crow is that most crows in the wild are about 20 years old, but some of them may live longer than that, and the longest time a crow lived in the wild reached 29 years.

Crows who live in captivity can live longer than that. That. This is because their lives are not endangered by a predator that lives in the wild, and the longest period a crow lived in captivity was recorded for about 59 years, and the average lifespan of a crow varies according to its type. For example, the American crow can live for up to 20 years in the wild.

Fun Facts about Crows

There are some unbelievable facts about crows you will not believe to be true. Here they are:

Crows do not fear raptors

Crows are not afraid of raptors, such as hawks and eagles. Rather, they approach the eagle when it eats its prey and settle down for a while, then start chasing it. So, the crows fly and attack as a plane pounce, and the raptor is forced to lower its head so that the crow does not hit it with its wing or tail. After several times of manoeuvring, the eagle gets bored and flies, leaving the rest of its prey, and the crows eat it.

Crows defend their babies to death

The pair of crows take care of their offspring in the nest and bring them food. If a falcon hovered near one of the falcons, you would find that the parents would set off and start chasing the falcon by flying until it disappeared from the area, and the danger would be removed from their offspring.

Crows can count to nine

Perhaps the crow is the only animal that can count to nine. It was observed that a crow lived near a rabbit hole and was inhabited by nine rabbits. It is known that the crow is fond of collecting food and shiny things. It was noted that the crow was standing, waiting on its tree for the rabbits to come out and leave its hole. It did not approach the hole to search for things until after the ninth rabbit left the hole.

Crows’ eggs are green

The female lays a number of between four and five olive green eggs dotted with black at a time, incubating them for 18 days, and the baby crows are able to leave the nest after four weeks, and the parents continue to feed them until they reach the age of sixty days.

Crows recognise human faces.

The researchers discovered that the crow could not only recognise human faces but also classify them into good people and bad people.

life close to humans

Crows have always lived closer to people than in forests. Evidence for this is the ever-present presence of crows, whether in Noah’s Ark or the foundational texts of humanity such as the Old Testament or the Qur’an. Similarly, crows have a special place in Japan, manifested in various rituals. Either way, for these birds, living close to humans presents some advantages.

While, in recent years, wild boars and bears have chosen to live close to humans to take advantage of the crops, crows have long recognised their benefits. Among the biological reasons behind their proximity to humans are their voracious diet and developed mental faculties. They can utilise crops, human excreta, and waste for food.

Crows are also aware that after funerals, offerings at gravestones are good to eat. Thus, they could establish links between human activity and the resulting food. Thus, humans and crows have coexisted for a very long time. But over time, these birds came to be seen as noisy neighbours.

Widespread damage associated with crows

When the media talks about crows, they are treated very differently from those reserved for endangered species, such as the Japanese ibis or storks, as they are seen as a pest, a source of harm. For example, she is accused of spreading rubbish everywhere, squawking exceptionally loudly, and soiling the walls with her excrement.

Crows Crimes

On farms, the great-billed crow loves the stables. He is fond of grains of corn and wheat mixed with cows’ food. The compost heaps near the stables hide a treasure trove of insects and other earthworms. All this would still be possible if it had stopped there, but the crows dare to attack the cows’ udders, which are at the height of their beak.

The bruises caused by the crow’s beak pecking lead to mastitis, which in the worst case, may lead to the slaughter of the animal. Sometimes the repeated blows hit an artery, and the animal dies of bleeding. Crows can also be carriers of disease. For all this, the cattle breeders do not like them at all.

In zoos, which the great-billed crow also loves, he finds a very diverse diet in animals that range from herbivores to carnivores. Thus, the zoo is a natural paradise for the crow! Which, in addition to stealing food, pecks small animals, causing them injury. This makes crows unwelcomed visitors to zoos.

In electric companies, crows do significant damage to electric companies. They build their nests on electricity poles and towers, which often impede the passage of electricity. When the nest comes into contact with power lines, it sometimes deprives thousands of homes of electricity.

In cities, not only do crows dirty the streets by ripping open rubbish bins, their squawking is a source of diurnal noise, and their aggressiveness towards humans during the breeding season is a problem. In autumn and winter, they settle in large numbers on electric wires and on trees along streets, where the noise and droppings they scatter are a nuisance to residents.

Sometimes comes to the presence of ten thousand crows above the trees, so the many droppings pose a health problem. In recent years, it has become common to suffer from this type of problem with the arrival of crows, from the mainland, to the cities of Kyushu Island, in the southwest of the country.

Developed mind

However, the crow, a source of many annoyances, is often called the feathered primate. It is brilliant, though he has behaviours that are annoying to humans. To the extent that crows can adapt to complex human actions, they can also adapt the human response to the problems they raise to devise new, more complex behaviours.

The crow has a more developed brain than other birds. Its brain represents 1.4% of its total weight, ten times that of a chicken’s brain (0.12%). In humans, this is 1.8%, making the crow much closer to us humans than its feathered counterparts. Crows can place nuts on the road where cars are supposed to pass, and they may move them if their calculations to crack the shell fail.

Thanks to this intelligence, they have long known that living close to humans provides them with food and shelter. It adapted to the successive changes in daily human life. Since man now produces more than he can consume, crows have more food and materials at their disposal, and their numbers increase.

If you enjoyed learning about this facinating animal why not check out more fantastic facts about other animals: Koalas, Land Animals, Sharks, Raccoons, Moon and Sun Bears, Rats, Sheep, Chickens, Cats, Pandas, Monkeys and Whales.

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