What are the Eating Habits of Crows?

What are the Eating Habits of Crows?

Crows are among the most intelligent and adaptive bird types. Though all know them and have seen them quite often, some are still confused about their eating habits. This article helps you with some information on the same.
Did You Know?
A group of crows is referred to as a 'flock' or a 'murder'.

Crows refer to birds that are members of the Corvus genus. This is a widely distributed genus, in the family Corvidae that has 120 species, which includes the crows, ravens, and jackdaws. Furthermore, they constitute over a third of the entire Corvidae family.

Crows are believed to be among the world's most intelligent animals. Their intelligence has been observed in many areas. Research studies have also revealed their ability of tool use, as well as tool construction. Be it dropping of pebbles in a tube of water or using sticks to get out bugs from trees, their planning, adaptive and problem solving behavior, explain the intelligence of these birds.

Crows are characterized by their all-black appearance. However, other species may be black having a little white or gray plumage. Furthermore, they are sturdy and have strong bills and legs.

Eating Habits

Crows are omnivores and they tend to feed on anything that comes their way. They are quite adaptable, feeding on a wide range of foodstuffs. Moreover, it is said that these birds consume over six hundred different food items.

What Do Crows Eat?

They consume spiders, crustaceans, wild birds and their eggs, nestling birds, amphibians, small mammals, millipedes, snails, reptiles, caterpillars, lizards, worms, clams, scallops, mussels, marine invertebrates, meadow mice, star-nosed moles, and short-tailed shrews.

Furthermore, they also feed on insects which mainly include grasshoppers, weevils, beetles and their larvae, locusts, crickets, etc.

They are fond of apples, almonds, beans, peas, figs, grapes, cherries, acorns, and some wild fruits.

They have preference for wheat, barley, buckwheat, corn, sorghum, and pumpkin or squash seeds.

They also like cranberries, juniper berries, smilax winter berries, nightshade berries, etc.

They are scavengers and feed on dead and decaying matter. This includes dead animals as well as road kills, and waste from slaughter houses.

They love drinking lots of water and they prefer dipping their food in it before consumption.

It has been observed in cities that these birds feed on waste, mainly from garbage bins or that dumped outside food outlets and so on.

These birds consume a good amount of food. When they are not able to eat something, they carry it away and stash it up.

The American crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) or the Common Crow, is a species that is seen and heard most frequently. They consume food ranging from grains, seeds, nuts, berries, to small animals like worms and mice. Furthermore, their diet also consists of many insects, fish, young turtles, shellfish, eggs and young ones of various birds, waste, etc. They also feed on dead animal and bird flesh, however, in very small amounts.

Feeding Behavior

These birds tend to be most active early in the morning and then in the afternoon. They may do some effortless foraging in between.

They adapt food habits to changing seasons and availability, without much difficulty. In spring and summers, they primarily feed on earthworms and other terrestrial invertebrates. While in winters, a major portion of their diet comprises waste grain.

Their consumption of insects that damage crops like grasshoppers, weevils, etc., has proven beneficial to the farmers.

They tend to hide any extra food that they find for future use, usually in trees or rain gutters.

These intelligent birds intentionally throw or place nuts on roadways for cars to crack them open. They also throw shellfish on rocks to crack them open, so as to feed on the flesh inside the hard coverings.

They are said to be tricky foragers, as at times, they follow adult birds to get their hidden nests.

Furthermore, groups of crows distract animals in order to steal food from them.

They even tend to grab or snatch away food from humans eating in open locations.

What to Feed Them?

You can feed them coarsely-ground pet food, meat scraps, egg yolks, cheese, peanuts, walnuts, etc.

Providing these birds with water in the winters will be of much help to them.

If you are a regular feeder, you will find that the crows get accustomed to the way you call them for food. Thus, they will appear instantly or as soon as you call them.

They usually prefer feeding on the ground. Thus, scattering food on the ground in any open location will attract crows.

In case you need to feed a baby crow, you can give it coarsely-ground pet food soaked in water. You can also feed them any leftover food; however, it is better to avoid sweet or fried foodstuffs.