What Do Crows Eat?

What Do Crows Eat?
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What Do Crows Eat? Spotting a magnificent black hue, crows are birds famed for their intelligence. These birds are also notable for their caw. Crows are omnivores, meaning they can eat just about anything depending on what is available.

Their diet may include small mammals, fishes, amphibians, reptiles, insects, eggs, seeds, grains, fruits, and nuts. They also eat other birds and mollusks.

Table of Contents

What Do Crows Eat?

Type of Crow Diet
American Crow Insects, worms, larvae, grains, nuts, fruits, young rabbits, mice, frogs, eggs, and nestlings of other birds.
Pied Crow Seeds, peanuts, fruits, birds, eggs, carrion, lizards, mollusks, tortoises, and garbage.
Northwestern Crow Insects, crabs, fishes, nuts, berries, seeds, shellfish, birds eggs, garbage, and carrion.
Cape Crow Bulbs, fruit, seeds, dung-beetles, small amphibians, and chicks.
Fish Crow Fish, crabs, carrion, shrimp, crayfish, berries, nuts, insects, seeds, nuts, bird and turtle eggs, and garbage.

Crows Diet By Types

Biologists have described over 40 species of crows. All these species are classified in the genus Corvus which also includes ravens, jackdaws, and rooks. A representation of the different types of crows that have been described will be analyzed in this section.

What Do American Crows Eat?

Kingdom Order Family Genus Species
Animalia Passeriformes Corvidae Corvus Corvus brachyrhynchos

What Do American Crows Eat?The American crow eats just about anything, and its diet includes insects, worms, larvae, grains, nuts, fruits, young rabbits, mice, frogs, eggs, and nestlings of other birds. It also eats carrion.

  • This crow is native to the North American region (Canada and the United States).
  • The American crow inhabits open areas with trees nearby. It can also be found in grasslands, agricultural areas, urban parks, and suburban areas.

What Do Pied Crows Eat?

Kingdom Order Family Genus Species
Animalia Passeriformes Corvidae Corvus Corvus albus

What Do Pied Crows Eat?In the wild, the pied crow feeds on seeds, peanuts, fruits, birds, eggs, carrion, lizards, mollusks, tortoises, and at times, garbage.

  • The pied crow has a wide distribution in Africa.
  • It can be found in a plethora of habitats which may include rainforests, grasslands, shrublands, inland wetlands, and artificial terrestrial and aquatic areas.

What Do Northwestern Crows Eat?

Kingdom Order Family Genus Species
Animalia Passeriformes Corvidae Corvus Corvus caurinus

What Do Northwestern Crows Eat?The northwestern crow also feeds on a vast range of insects, crabs, fishes, nuts, berries, seeds, shellfish, bird’s eggs, garbage, and carrion.

  • The northwestern crow is endemic to the northern Pacific coasts.
  • This crow mostly inhabits urban areas and intertidal shores.
  • It can also be found in open woodlands and forests.

What Do Cape Crows Eat?

Kingdom Order Family Genus Species
Animalia Passeriformes Corvidae Corvus Corvus capensis

What Do Cape Crows Eat?Cape crow feeds on a varied diet that includes bulbs, fruit, seeds, dung-beetles, small amphibians, and chicks.

  • The cape crow is also known as the black crow.
  • Its habitat types include shrublands, grasslands, inland wetlands, mountain peaks, and artificial/terrestrial lands.

What Do Fish Crows Eat?

Kingdom Order Family Genus Species
Animalia Passeriformes Corvidae Corvus Corvus ossifragus

What Do Fish Cows Eat?As the name suggests, the fish crow feeds on fish, crabs, carrion, shrimp, crayfish, berries, nuts, insects, seeds, nuts, bird and turtle eggs, and garbage.

  • This crow species is small and is native to the southeastern parts of the United States.
  • It inhabits farmlands, woodlands, swamps, river valleys, and tidewaters.
  • This species is commonly found next to water bodies, primarily along the coasts. These areas are good foraging sites for this type of crows.

How Do Crows Hunt?

How Do Crows Hunt?

Crows forage for their prey using various techniques. Some crows stab the ground to find and capture insects while others dig the sand to find prey like clams.

  • Some crows wade on shallow water to ambush their aquatic prey.
  • Some species like the American crow walks on the ground and pick any prey they spot.
  • They also ramble along trees and their branches to pick eggs and ambush other birds’ nestlings.

When Do Crows Eat?

Crows are diurnal meaning they will tend to be active during the daylight hours. They will be found foraging for food and eating during the day.

How Often Do Crows Eat?

Crows will be seen actively foraging for food in the morning and the afternoon and easy search for food in between. This eating pattern confirms they will feed very often during the periods when they are the most active.

What Eats Crows?

What Eats Crows?

Throughout their life stages, crows are predated on by a considerable number of organisms.

  • Some of the common predators that feed on crows include some snake species (garter snakes), some hawks (red-tailed hawks, Cooper’s hawks, and sharp-shinned hawks), squirrels (eastern gray species), and raccoons.
  • Other predators include domesticated cats, and dogs, humans, some owl species (long-eared owls), and eagles.

Where Do Crows Fit in the Animal Food Chain?

Crows play a vital role in the animal food chain.

  • They prey on a large number of small organisms which include frogs, mice, worms, larvae, road-kill, and nestlings, thus impacting their local population.
  • This wide array of diet is useful in ensuring that these small organisms do not overpopulate their ecosystems.
  • Crows are also a source of food to various organisms like the hawks, owls, humans, raccoons, and snakes, thus promoting their survival.
  • Crows are scavengers, and this role is instrumental to the food chain because it helps rid the ecosystem of the bodies of dead organisms.

In general, the presence of crows in the animal food chain is an indication of a healthy and thriving ecosystem.

Cite this article as: "What Do Crows Eat?," in Bio Explorer by Jack Kirsten, July 5, 2019, https://www.bioexplorer.net/what-do-crows-eat.html/.

Key References

  • “Facts About Crows”. Accessed July 05, 2019. Link.
  • “A Murder of Crows | Crow Facts | Nature | PBS”. Accessed July 05, 2019. Link.
  • “ADW: Corvus brachyrhynchos: INFORMATION”. Accessed July 05, 2019. Link.
  • “American Crow Overview, All About Birds, Cornell Lab of Ornithology”. Accessed July 05, 2019. Link.
  • “African Pied Crows” – Rosamond Gifford Zoo Education Volunteers. Accessed July 05, 2019. Link.
  • “IUCN Red List of Threatened Species”. Accessed July 05, 2019. Link.
  • “Northwestern Crow | Audubon Field Guide”. Accessed July 05, 2019. Link.
  • “Northwestern Crow Overview, All About Birds, Cornell Lab of Ornithology.” Overview, All About Birds, Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Accessed July 05, 2019. https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Northwestern_Crow/overview.
  • “Error – Cookies Turned Off”. Accessed July 05, 2019. Link.
  • “IUCN Red List of Threatened Species”. Accessed July 05, 2019. Link.
  • “Fish Crow | Audubon Field Guide”. Accessed July 05, 2019. Link.
  • “Fish Crow ID”. Accessed July 05, 2019. Link.
  • Laux, Vern. “Crows vs. Owls: Enemies Ordained by Nature.” WCAI. Accessed July 05, 2019. https://www.capeandislands.org/post/crows-vs-owls-enemies-ordained-nature.
  • “scavenger | National Geographic Society”. Accessed July 05, 2019. Link.
  • “File:Northwestern Crow RWD2.jpg – Wikimedia Commons”. Accessed July 05, 2019. Link.
  • “File:Cape crow, Corvus capensis, at Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Northern Cape, South Africa (35947035601).jpg – Wikimedia Commons”. Accessed July 05, 2019. Link.
  • “Kenneth Cole Schneider | Flickr”. Accessed July 05, 2019. Link.

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