Crow Lifespan: How Long Do Crows Live?

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Crows are easily recognizable by their dark appearance and foreboding reputation. As scavengers who eat almost anything, including dead animals, they have come to be symbolically associated with death. No wonder so many of us get goosebumps when we see a flock of crows nearby — called murder, by the way.

Although they are one of the most famous birds, there are still many mysteries surrounding them. So if you're interested in unraveling the mystery behind crows, let's dive into the lifespan of crows!

Raven Crash Course

Crows, ravens, and rooks are all members of the genus Corvus. All of these birds belong to the corvid family, which also includes jays, magpies and nutcrackers. Crows are mainly found in the United States and Canada.

largest crow indian jungle crow
Crows have been known to mimic human voices and voices.

©Marut Sayannikroth/Shutterstock.com

Unlike many other birds, crows are known for their loud and often distinctive calls.

Crows have more than 20 calls, but it is their call that stands out the most. In addition to being unique in appearance and sound, crows are also very intelligent. Some crows have larger brains than humans, according to research done by Dr. Kevin J. McGowan of Cornell University's Laboratory of Ornithology.

How long can crows live?

In the wild, American crows have a life expectancy of about 7-8 years. However, they have been known to live up to 30 years in captivity.

These are a few factors that affect the life expectancy of crows. Adult crows don't have many natural enemies. However, they are vulnerable to hawks, owls, hawks and mainly humans. Mortality in crows usually occurs during the first year of life. Many of the young crows still living in the nest will die from malnutrition, adverse weather changes, and attacks by large predators.

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Average Lifespan of a Crow

The life cycle of crows is very similar to that of other birds. Interested in learning how crows mature into the dark-feathered birds we know? This is an outline of the life cycle of a crow from hatching to adulthood.

nesting

In crows, both females and males build nests. This usually occurs over a period of 8 to 14 days, starting as early as mid-March and ending as late as mid-July. After nesting, the female incubates 4 to 5 eggs over the next 18 days. During this time, she may be fed by her spouse and sometimes by her children from the previous year.

fledgling

There are two hungry crow chicks in the nest.
Some crows may stay with their parents for up to five years.

© Moisieiev Igor/Shutterstock.com

Once 18 days have passed, the eggs hatch. Baby crows are called chicks, and they will begin to grow rapidly. Many of them will begin eclosion anywhere between 28-35 days. Full-winged means that the young bird has grown enough wing feathers to fly.

young adult

Once the chicks are fully fledged, they move into young adulthood. Although they often leave the nest at this point, they have not yet begun to completely fend for themselves. They will continue to be fed by adults for the next 30 days.

Crows are incredibly social birds and it is not uncommon for them to live in flocks. These family groups will include male and female crows and their cubs from the past two years. This is because usually one or more crows choose to stay with the family until the next nesting season.

Crows that stay home will help build the nest and help feed the next round of chicks.

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adult crow

Adult American crows do not start breeding until they are at least two years old. This is actually earlier than other breeds that don't start until they are at least four years old. When nesting season is over, family groups often join other crow families in communal nighttime roosts. Crows use communal habitats to exchange information and find mates. This is because some birds have easier access to food because of their age or knowledge of the surrounding area.

Some of the oldest crows ever recorded

Largest crow - Raven
Crows are the smartest birds in the world.

© Wright There/Shutterstock.com

Crows are wild animals, so a crow's lifespan is largely dependent on food availability and predation levels. However, when kept in captivity, they have been shown to live very long lives. Interested in learning more about how long crows live in the wild and in captivity? Here are some of the oldest crows ever seen.

  • Tata the Crow, who lived in the hamlet of Woodstock in Bearsville, died after her 59th birthday. He is believed to be one of the oldest known crows and has lived through 11 US presidents. Owner Flones explained that the bird was born in a Long Island cemetery in 1947. The crow was injured during the storm and was later found by a cemetery worker. The workers brought the crow to a local family and lived with them for more than half a century.
  • According to Cornell University, the oldest wild American crow on record was photographed in Washington state. The crow is said to have been at least 17 years and five months old when this photo was taken.
  • The Saginaw Children's Zoo recorded Edgar the Crow's lifespan at nearly 26 years. Edgar is one of the oldest crows ever recorded in captivity at a North American zoo. He is very friendly and loves to say hello to everyone who comes into his area.
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featured image

Crow perched on an old wooden post
Crows can imitate and retain random sounds.

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about the author

Volyanikach


Volia Nikaci is a freelance writer and content editor with a passion and expertise in content creation, branding and marketing. She has a background in broadcast journalism and political science from CUNY Brooklyn College. When not writing, she enjoys traveling, visiting used bookstores, and hanging out with her significant other.

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