Crows are fascinating birds found all over the world. In this article, we will discover 10 interesting facts about crows. From their intelligent behavior to their important role in nature, there is much more to learn about these winged creatures than you might think.
Crows Are Smart
Crows are known for their remarkable intelligence. They have a large brain mass compared to other bird species and even have the ability to use tools. Scientists have discovered that crows can solve complex problems and even recognize human faces.
One of the most intriguing characteristics of crows is their excellent memory. Although crows are not as good at talking as, for example, parrots, some can learn a few words. They can also remember the faces of people and other animals, and some studies even suggest that they can harbor grudges against people who have harmed them.
Crows Are Social Birds
Crows are social beings that often live in groups. They communicate with each other through a complex repertoire of sounds and signals. This social structure helps them in hunting for food and protecting their territory.
Crows Have a Varied Diet
Crows are omnivores, meaning they have a varied diet and can eat almost anything available in their environment. Their feeding habits are exceptionally diverse and adapt to their environment and seasonal availability. Here are some of the main food sources for crows:
Small animals: Crows prey on small animals like insects, worms, spiders, and even small vertebrates like frogs and mice. They use their sharp beaks to catch and kill prey.
Crows are known as scavengers and often feed on dead animals, including carcasses of larger animals they can find. This plays an important role in the ecosystem as they help clean up dead animals, preventing the spread of diseases.
In spring and summer, crows like to eat seeds and grains, such as corn, wheat, and sunflower seeds. These food sources provide them with important nutrients and energy.
Crows enjoy various types of fruit, such as berries, apples, and pears. They are often found in orchards feasting on ripe fruit. In some cases, crows will also raid bird nests and eat eggs. However, this behavior can have negative consequences for other bird species.
In urban areas, crows benefit from human waste, such as food leftovers and garbage bags. They are often seen rummaging through trash cans looking for an easy meal. Crows are also skilled at catching fish and can feast on small fish in streams, rivers, and ponds.
Crows adapt to changing food sources and are capable of developing smart hunting and gathering strategies. Their flexible diet contributes to their ability to survive in various habitats, from urban areas to remote forests. In short, crows are omnivores that benefit from a wide range of food sources to meet their daily nutritional needs.
Crows Can Learn from Observation
Crows are exceptionally intelligent birds and have the ability to make and use tools. They do this not only through their own experience but also by observing other crows. It has even been shown that crows can understand the concept of a tool simply by seeing one. This indicates a very high level of cognitive understanding and adaptability.
Crows Have Territorial Instincts
Crows protect their territory with great determination. They will chase away intruders and fight to maintain their area. These territorial instincts contribute to their survival in the wild.
Owls and Crows Have an Instinctive Dislike for Each Other
Interestingly, owls and crows have an instinctive dislike for each other, even if they have never previously encountered the other species. If crows spot an owl during the day, they often try to kill it. This curious behavior between these two bird species remains an interesting topic of research for scientists.
Crows Know Revenge
Although crows are often solitary, they do eat in groups. Did you know that a group of crows is called a ‘murder’? If a crow dies, the entire group surrounds the deceased crow. They investigate how the crow died. Was the murderer a predator? Then the group collaborates to chase the predator. Treat a crow badly? Then other crows may hold it against you. Generally, crows are not dangerous, but if they feel threatened or in the case of revenge, they can be.
Crows Can Remember Human Faces
Crows are capable of recognizing and remembering human faces. If a crow dislikes you, it won’t forget, and this ‘grudge’ can even be passed on to their offspring. This means that the children of the crows may later show the same aversion to certain people.
Crows and the Mysterious ‘Anting’ Behavior
Crows, and other bird species, have the strange habit of covering themselves with ants. Researchers call this process “anting”, but it is still unclear why birds do this exactly. There are various theories, including the idea that the ants act as a kind of insect repellent or that they play a role in removing parasites.
Crows Are Monogamous and Care for Their Family Together
Crows are monogamous animals that form long-term relationships and start families together. What is even more interesting is that their offspring from previous seasons often stay with the family to help raise new young. This social behavior is quite unique in the animal kingdom and indicates strong family bonds.
A Start-up Trains Crows to Clean Up Cigarette Butts
In Sweden, a start-up company has managed to train wild crows to pick up cigarette butts and throw them in trash cans. As a reward, the birds receive peanuts. This innovative project demonstrates not only the intelligence of crows but also contributes to a cleaner environment.
Crows and Differences with Other Birds
Crows are one of the most widespread bird species in the world and are found on almost every continent. They have adapted to various climates and environments, from urban areas to remote forests. The crow, raven, and jackdaw are often confused with each other. The distinction between a raven, a crow, and a jackdaw can be confusing for many, as they all belong to the corvid family and look similar in appearance. However, there are some notable differences:
Size: The raven is generally the largest of the three, with an impressive wingspan and a robust body. Crows are smaller than ravens but larger than jackdaws.
Beak: The beak of a raven is powerful and curved, while that of a crow is slimmer and appears slightly downward curved. Jackdaws have a shorter, straighter beak.
Sound: Crows are known for their noisy cawing, while ravens make deeper, less sharp sounds. Jackdaws have a variety of sounds, including a characteristic “kau-kau” call.
Habitat: Ravens are often found in remote, wooded areas, while crows are more comfortable in urban environments and open landscapes. Jackdaws prefer built-up areas.
Behavior: Crows are social and often live in groups, while ravens are more solitary. Jackdaws are also social but usually form smaller groups.
Although these differences can help in identifying these birds, it is important to note that there is variation within each species, and sometimes individual birds can be difficult to distinguish.
Crows are incredibly fascinating birds with a rich history of interaction with humanity and an important role in nature. Their intelligence, social behavior, and ecological contribution make them a remarkable species worth studying and admiring.