What’s This Post About?
Crows are intelligent birds with outstanding traits and unusual behavior that are different from other bird species. They’re clever, intelligent, and aggressive, but their fun side is yet undiscovered— which is them playing with water and having fun with it.
During your bird watching hours or maybe when you’re out, you probably might have come across crows playing around in birdbaths or puddles. Did that make you think about whether they can swim in water or not? Or are they capable of staying afloat in water for long periods of time like how ducks do?
Crows cannot swim; they do not have webbed feet to help them stay poised in water. They can float on water which means that they do not die or drown the minute they fall in the water. They use their tails and wings to stay afloat on the water for hours before their feathers become too heavy for them to swim.
How Do Crows Look?
Crows have a black-colored plumage from the head down to their feet. They usually have a brown iris, black feet, and are about 17.5 inches (45 cm) in length with a 33.5-40 inches (85-100 cm) wingspan. It’s hard to tell them apart from a raven since both the birds have black plumage overall.
DID YOU KNOW?
Crows lay around 3-9 eggs.
This jumpy bird has a diamond-shaped tail and weighs around 520 grams. They make up 3/4th of the species in the family of corvids which is why they’re sighted a lot more than other members of this family.
Crows initially evolved from Asia and then spread across the world. They are mostly found in temperate continents, excluding South America and a few other islands. Over the years, we have seen them spread in other parts.
These blackbirds prefer living near human settlements and urban areas because that’s where they get most of their food from.
Crows and humans have a love-hate relationship. Although these birds are pretty intelligent and smart, they still are seen as pests by most of the human population because of how noisy and aggressive they are.
These birds have a mob mentality and will attack and lunge at anything or anyone they perceive as a threat to them.
DID YOU KNOW?
Sometimes older crow siblings (juveniles) help their parents raise baby crows.
Can Crows Swim?
Crows cannot swim in the water because they do not have naturally webbed feet as ducks do. Nor is their body made to function in water; their shape is a lot different from those of ducks. They have a chunky body and a long neck which makes it very difficult for them to swim.
Their body proportions and dynamics do not allow them to swim in the water, but you would be amazed to know that although crows cannot swim in the water, they still love water. They can be seen drinking water, dunking their food in it, and even bathing in it during pleasant weather.
These energetic birds do not swim, but they’re often spotted near water sources like puddles, waterlogged areas, and sometimes big birdbaths.
Crows can definitely stay afloat on water and even use their wings to move forward, but if they stay in water for long, they might end up drowning since using their wings to push and swim around can cause a lot of energy loss, and that might end up tiring them out.
Crows can’t swim! Here’s footage of a crow not being able to swim properly in water.
This video shows a man encouraging a crow fallen into the pool to get out of there. It’s clear that the crow doesn’t like it that much in the water, its wings and feathers weighing it down as it propels forwards trying to get out of the water.
Crows are solitary birds, but they prefer moving around in larger groups.
Do Crows Like Water?
While crows may not look like it, they’re very fond of water. They’re often sighted near water sources drinking, dunking and eating, and bathing in it. They love to play around in birdbaths as well; this way, they stay clean and rid their feathers of dirt and muck.
Crows, just like any other bird, love to swish around in water given that the water source they’re in isn’t too deep because if it’s deep, they might end up soaking their feathers in water which might cause them to get heavier and might affect their flying capabilities.
If you see a crow in a deeper water body like in a pool or lake, try rescuing it because crows cannot stay afloat in water for long and will eventually drown if not rescued in time.
Want to see a crow bathing? Here’s a video of a crow taking a bath in a puddle.
Crows love playing and bathing in water simultaneously, which is evident when you look at this video of one having fun in the water.
To sum it up, crows are non-aquatic birds, which means that they’re not equipped with the right body and feet to help them stay in water for long hours. So the next time you spot a crow near a water source like a lake or a pool, just know that it’s there to drink water and play around in it.
Can Crows Float on Water?
Crows’ bodies and its tail play an important role in helping them float on water. When they’re on the water’s surface, they expand their tails and open their wings wide; this increases the surface area of their underbody, enabling them to float in water.
If a crow accidentally falls in deep water, what it can do to survive is that it can float for several hours. Their bodies are light, and their bones are hollow, which consequently reduces their overall body mass. Therefore, it’s safe to say that crows can very easily float on water but only for a short period.
DID YOU KNOW?
Crows have 250 different calls.
Why Can’t Crows Swim?
They can float on water, but it requires a tremendous amount of energy to do so because they have to keep their heads up by constantly flapping their wings in the water. Once they get tired, they start drowning in water. This is because they do not have double-layered feathers like ducks do.
Crows do not have webbed feet like ducks do, which hinders their ability to swim. Webbed feet in ducks help them balance themselves in water bodies. On top of that, they do not usually end up in the water, but when they do, their bodies help them stay afloat for a short period.
Other birds like ducks or swans have double layers of feathers, which allows them to float in water. This is because these double-layered feathers actually have an insoluble coating of fatty acids and organic compounds that do not dissolve in water.
This is one of the reasons why aquatic birds’ feathers remain dry and light, making it possible for them to swim without getting tired or drowning.
DID YOU KNOW?
When a crow dies, a mob of crows holds a funeral for the dead one. They do this because they want to survey and learn if any potential threats in the area caused the crow's death.
Do Crows Die in Water?
Crows cannot swim in larger water bodies like oceans, canals, lakes, and other deep waters. They’re not built to function in water. Although they can survive for a few hours or for as long as they can keep themselves afloat, they eventually die if not rescued in time.
They have been seen hanging out near water bodies, but they never intentionally go for deeper waterbeds. Instead, they look for puddles, shallow lakes, and large birdbaths to go about their water drinking and bathing business.
Brief and small dips in water are acceptable, but they never go in water bodies intentionally.
DID YOU KNOW?
Crows are social birds that mate for life, but sometimes they can be a little promiscuous as well, mating with other crows outside of their pairing.
Have a look at this video of a man rescuing a crow who almost nearly gave up.
This poor crow had been trying so desperately to fly off and was completely tired; it was just laying in the water with its wings splayed out with most of its beak underwater till it got rescued by a man.
To sum it up, crows cannot swim in water like ducks do but can stay afloat over the surface for few hours. So it’s safe to say that crows aren’t meant to swim or stay in water for longer than a few minutes because if they do, they’ll die.
Crows’ bodies and feet do not allow them to stay poised and balanced in the water, so they can barely keep their heads up in the water.
If you want to learn more about crows or ravens, then here’s a post you shouldn’t be missing on!
Curious to find out whether crows or ravens can talk like parrots? Well, keep on reading to find out more interesting facts.
David A. Swanson
Bird Watching USA
My name is David and I'm the the founder of Bird Watching USA! I started Bird Watching with My father-in-law many years ago, and I've become an addict to watching these beautiful creatures. I've learnt so much over about bird watching over the years that I want to share with the world everything I know about them!