Whenever we talk about birds that have an abundant distribution in almost all parts of the world, “crow” is the first to come up. These clever corvids have adapted to all kinds of environments and are, therefore, found in almost all urban settlements. But did you know that they are also the most hunted birds in the wild?
Here’s a list of all the natural predators of crows in the wild:
- Red-winged Blackbirds
- Blue Jays
In fact, the eggs and fledglings of the crows also have natural enemies waiting to snatch them up and devour them. In this article, we will talk about all the natural predators of crows, their eggs, younger ones, and their corpse.
Natural Predators of Crows
Being both omnivores as well as opportunistic scavengers, crows are undeniably popular predators in the wild, preying on both living and dead creatures. However, that doesn’t mean that no other predator would prey on them.
It might come as a surprise to many, but these corvids also play the role of a food source for other raptors, birds, reptiles, and mammals. In this section, we will learn about all the predators that hunt the crows. We’ll start by discussing the raptors and birds that prey on crows and then make our way to the reptiles and mammals.
Whenever we talk about eagles, the term “apex predators” peeks into the discussion. Do you know what an “apex predator” means? An apex predator is a group of creatures that are generally carnivores, with no natural predator of their own. In a nutshell, apex predators stand at the top of the food chain.
Eagles are apex predators and feed on most other birds and small mammals. Crows are just one of the birds that fall prey to these mighty raptors. Are you wondering how eagles attack crows?
You might be thinking they’d do it in flight, but that’s not really true. The truth is, eagles might be fast, but they’re also large and heavy, unlike the smaller and faster crows. For this reason, it becomes difficult for eagles to get a hold of crows in flight, which is why they generally attack them on land.
Considered the strongest enemies of the crows, the hawks also actively feed on crows and their nestlings. Hawks use their typically structured limbs to attack and hunt other birds. Their limbs consist of three frontal talons and one long posterior talon, a characteristic common in all raptors.
Did you know that hawks use different techniques to kill different birds? This is a unique tendency of hawks that makes them one of the most dangerous predators of birds.
Hawks usually attack crows during the day, as they have a diurnal schedule. A common tendency among hawks while attacking crows is that they generally go for the young, weak, baby crows that are more vulnerable and easier to overpower.
Similar to eagles and hawks, falcons are another group of deadly raptors that commonly prey on the crows. Falcons usually take up the adventurous way to chase crows and hunt them. As crows can easily be found in an urban environment, where the falcons also dwell, these corvids make the perfect meal for the raptors.
Ever since the falcons adapted to the urban lifestyle, pigeons and crows have been their primary food source. These clever raptors have also built their nests on tall buildings to have a secure, safe place for themselves, their younger ones, and food. So, in addition to being an apex predator, falcons are also among the most intelligent birds.
It is also fascinating to note that falcons can use seven different methods to hunt other creatures. Their specially structured talons help them capture the crows and kill them. The crows, on the other hand, also have a bold defense statement. Whenever these corvids spot hawks in the sky, they take a flight to fight with the hawks and defend their eggs and nestlings.
Do you like watching bird videos on the internet? If yes, you might have come across viral videos of owls eating crow brains. Yes, owls love eating the brains of crows. But how do they kill crows? Let’s learn about that.
Horned Owls are a great threat to the masses of crows, even more so than eagles and hawks. Owls have the tendency to attack crows behind their back from the bushes. When the owls prepare to hunt, they hide behind the bushes. And as owls are nocturnal birds, it becomes easier for them to spot resting crows in a roost, which is how they attack them when they meet little resistance.
So far, we have learned how raptors attack crows to prey on them. But did you know that other birds can also attack crows? That’s what we will learn in the upcoming sections. So, keep reading because some interesting facts are coming your way.
Although crows and ravens belong to the same family, ravens are twice the size of crows. Therefore, the fact that ravens can attack crows shouldn’t come as a surprise to most birders. Usually, ravens and crows have a one-to-one fight while they’re chasing common prey.
Ravens also have the tendency to crack and eat crow’s eggs. This makes the crows more protective of their nestlings and eggs whenever they spot a raven around.
Let’s begin by mentioning that kingbirds are not dedicated predators of crows. Wondering why we are studying these birds under this section? Well, it is because the kingbirds have a different motivation behind hunting crows.
Kingbirds are naturally settled birds that do not necessarily hunt and eat. They mostly feed on whatever they can find in their surroundings, including insects, seeds, and fruits. However, kingbirds are very protective of their territory and babies.
A kingbird can easily mob a crow or a roost of crows if they enter their living or breeding territory. However, this is a pure act of defense on their part that comes as a reflex to danger. Kingbirds are, thus, natural predators of crows only when threatened by the crows themselves.
Have you seen a Red-winged Blackbird? If you have, you must be baffled to learn that they belong to the same family as the crows. However, in this section, we’ll discuss how Red-winged Blackbirds are different from crows and can be a threat to them.
Just like the Kingbirds, the Red-winged Blackbirds will only mob crows when they are at risk. This feeling of threat might arise due to the crows eying their food sources, entering their territory, or threatening their babies, eggs, and nestlings. To protect themselves and their babies, Red-winged Blackbirds might even kill the crows.
You might be wondering how can tiny birds like the grackles attack crows? Well, the reason is quite similar to the one discussed earlier. Grackles attack crows to protect their young ones, eggs, and nestlings.
Grackles are small in size and have low chances of attacking an adult crow alone. However, when a group of grackles plays the game, they are more likely to win. Whenever grackles spot crows in their territory, they make a flock and attack the crow. This makes the lone crow frightened, and it goes away.
The predator study involving crows and blue jays has to be one of the most interesting studies in the history of avian predation. Wondering why? To give you a hint, both these birds belong to the same family, Corvidae. Now let’s learn why they attack each other.
We know that one of the common features of the Corvidae family is that they eat others’ eggs to survive. It indicates that blue jays might try to eat crows’ eggs and vice versa. And in order to save their eggs from each other, both the crows and blue jays attack each other.
Because both these birds are somewhat equally strong, which one would win in a fight depends only on its intensity. However, the mere fact that they can fight each other to protect their babies is quite intriguing and tells us a lot about avian life.
Now that we have learned about the avian creatures that are natural predators of crows, let’s talk about the reptile that threatens the crows. In the upcoming section, we will study snakes and their reason for attacking crows.
The family of snakes is quite large and diverse; some of them are terrestrial while others are aquatic. The snake species that can become a threat to crows are the ones that are terrestrial as well arboreal in nature. These snakes have the ability to attack crows from the trees.
Usually, the snakes living on trees have a camouflaged body as a natural defense. This makes it difficult for birds like crows to recognize them. Once the snake spots its target, it prepares for the attack. Snakes are slow hunters, but due to their ingenious techniques, they often manage to take down their prey in the end.
Some snakes have a worm-like tail that attracts birds such as crows as a food source. They take advantage of this opportunity and kill the birds that are attracted to their tail. And when you’re attacked by a snake, it is almost impossible to survive.
Snakes slowly wrap up the creature they are hunting between their bodies and then constrict themselves. This makes the bird in their hold lose its breath, slowly leading to death. Once the bird is dead, the snake will loosen their grasp and eat it. While this might sound cruel to many of you, it is just a part of how the natural food chain works.
Following this, we will discuss the mammals that are known to prey on the crows. Let’s get started with it.
Raccoons are considered one of the most dangerous predators of crows. A raccoon can attack, kill, and eat crows to fulfill its appetite. In addition to hunting crows, raccoons are also on the lookout for their eggs and nestlings. It is impossible for the crows to identify a safe place to hide from raccoons because they can be found everywhere.
Cats are carnivore mammals that also prey on birds. Crows happen to be one of their primary food sources. Do you wonder how cats hunt crows? Well, cats are excellent terrestrial and arboreal animals.
These feline creatures are fast enough to chase down crows on the ground within seconds. They also have the tendency to eat the young crows and the eggs in a nest, making them a strong crow predator. However, crows and cats are often seen engaged in a one-to-one fight while the chase for food continues.
Being both tiny and surprisingly fast, the squirrels are also known to prey on the young crows. Due to their size, it is natural to assume that they cannot win over a fully-grown adult crow. This is why their primary target is the crow’s eggs and young ones.
However, squirrels can be attacked and killed just as easily by a flock of crows. It can happen not only when squirrels attack the nestlings of crows but also when crows are simply hungry.
Predators of crow eggs
In the last section, we learned all about the creatures that are natural predators of crows. Now, we’ll discuss the predators of crow eggs. It is no secret to us that every bird has a group of predators waiting to kill them even before they are born.
Crows protect their young ones and eggs as fiercely as the next birds. However, all predators have a way of finding a trick to reach their food. The most notorious predators of crow eggs are hawks, horned owls, arboreal snakes, cats, squirrels, opossums, red-winged blackbirds, and blue jays (almost all predators we discussed earlier).
These predators rely not only on a crow’s egg but also on the eggs of other birds. They are always on the lookout for crows to leave their nest alone so that they can attack their eggs and feed on them.
With this, we come to the end of this section. So far, we’ve already learned which animals or birds go after the crows, their nestlings, and eggs. But what about a dead crow? What eats dead crows? We will discuss that in our upcoming section, so keep reading.
What eats dead crows?
Have you ever come across a dead crow on your way to somewhere and found it missing while coming back? If you have, haven’t you ever wondered who took it away? Was it a cleaning person or another animal? Well, it could’ve been either, since there are creatures that would feed on a dead crow as well.
Although it is quite uncommon, birds like eagles, hawks, vultures, falcons, owls, and kites feed on dead crows. While vultures are most commonly indulged in such affairs because they’re pure scavengers, the others might also do it if they come across a fresh corpse.
Sometimes, the stray cats and dogs are also seen taking away dead crows. However, there is no clear evidence on if they really eat the dead bird or not.
With this, we’ve come to the end of this article. Today, we’ve learned that crows, the most widespread corvids in the world, are hunted by all kinds of predators in the wild.
While a majority of their predators belong to the avian world, some of them are also terrestrial or arboreal and go after their nests. Even after the crows die, there are many animals that would be happy to feed on their flesh, particularly the vultures.