11 Remarkable Facts and
FAQs about Crows Flying

Curious to learn about the flying rituals of the boisterous crows? Here's all you need to know about the flights of these gregarious species.

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Iñigo Navarro

July 18, 2021


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What’s This Post About?

With their loud and raucous ‘caws’ gliding in the air, the coal-black plumaged birds are widespread in the urban landscapes and the countrysides.

To many of us, crows aren’t a delight to look at, typically associating these creatures with death and disease. Farmers consider them a nuisance due to their crop-destroying capacities, while city dwellers revile them due to their coarse calls and aggravating habits.

No matter how bad of a rep these creatures have, we cannot deny these brainy birds’ colossal intelligence and adaptability skills. These fascinating species are often misunderstood due to their clever ingenuity.

For birds their size, crows are quite adept flyers, averaging up to 45 mph. These gregarious species are rarely seen in solitude, preferring to stay in large flocks when perched, foraging, or even in flight. At the time of dusk, they gather together in groups, aviating to their roosting site in large numbers.

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Remarkable Facts and FAQs About Crows Flying

Crows are mysteriously intelligent species that live with their fellows almost the entire time. Keep reading to learn interesting facts about the flying habits of these birds.

How Does A Crow Fly?

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The wingtips acrobatic flier have are splayed into finger-shaped edges as it glides in the air, with a wingspan of around 85-100 cm. Flapping its wings in the air with silent wingbeats, the crow incessantly flutters its wings throughout its flight, hardly soaring smoothly in the air for a few seconds.

The black, long-necked crows with reasonably broad and rounded wings tend to have quite a relaxed flight pattern. The short and rounded tail of the crow is shaped like a fan at the tip.

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Crows are often confused for ravens, which are slightly bigger than crows, though they are not quite popular in the urban areas populated by humans.

Instead of directly aiming in a specific direction, crows are canny yet relaxed fliers, especially when flying in flocks. Unless they are in a hurry to reach their destination, you’ll notice a lack of orientation and synchronized flying pattern among these birds as they flap their wings, all the while swooping around casually.

How Do Crows Mob Other Birds In Flight?

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Crows often engage in what is known as mobbing behavior. These aggressive and fierce birds congregate together to chase away their potential threat. They try to defend themselves, their young, and their territory from any attacks from the predatory species.

Crows adopt a hostile flight as they gather together to pursue their predators.

Infamous for its mobbing behavior, the crow species often can be seen targeting and dogging birds much more prominent than themselves, especially birds of prey, including owls, eagles, vultures, herons, and other raptors.

Here’s a blog you can read to learn all about raptors. 

Hawks Vs. Falcons Vs. Eagles Vs. Osprey Vs. Kite - Comparison!

Are you fascinated by big birds? Here’s a comparison highlighting key differences between hawks, falcons, eagles, ospreys, and kites.

A massive group of crows is considered much sturdier than their bird of prey, wildly chasing their threatening predators such as the eagle. Swooping and dive-bombing an eagle rapidly through the sky, the gang of crows does not even hesitate to snatch the food from the larger, intrusive birds.

Rarely though, however, this harassment might turn into a physical conflict, with the species voraciously attacking one another with their bills and claws amid the air, causing them to land on to a surface. This fierce fight can be detrimental for both the crows and the target species.

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Mobbing attacks by the crows are severe in intensity when the birds have most at stake, specifically during the nesting and breeding season.

Do Crows Fly Around In Groups?

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Among the many crow’s species, few are usually solitary, but most species prefer to forage and perch around in large flocks — this large flock of crows is known as a Murder.

Crows stay incredibly close to one another; one member’s death causes the rest of the murder to surround the dead crow. Crows are widely known to hold solemnly quiet funerals when one of their species has passed away.

According to some ornithologists, this is a sign of mourning and a survival strategy where crows try to identify the death cause. The identifying bit enables them to learn about the plausible dangers in their surroundings, taking it as a warning. The crows might not even return to that location if they detect some threat around.

If a bird has fallen prey to a predator, these crows would then gather and chase the predator that caused the death of their fellow.

Do Crows Fly In A Straight Line?

As you might have heard, crows fly in a straight line – which, after research, has been confirmed to be invalid. Crows were carried in cages and released at sea to indicate the nearest landmark in 18th-century mythology before the advent of navigating devices.

Seeing the crows fly around their nests in a circular flight is not a rare sight. Even though these birds cannot swoop rapidly through the air like starlings and swallows, they do not necessarily always fly in a straight direction.

What Is The Average Speed Of Crows?

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Crows can fly up to 40 miles each day.

Crows have been observed flying up to 40 kilometers from their roosting places to their daytime eating grounds in the early morning. They can reach speeds of up to 60 miles per hour in flight.

The highest speed of crows has been recorded at 70 mph during a dive.

Crows Can Read Traffic Lights!

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One of the brilliant and brainy birds among the bird kingdom, crows have also learned to read traffic lights.

These nut-eating birds actively look for tools to crack open the shells of their snacks. Moving vehicles on the road serve as a gigantic yet perfect tool for them. Crows fly towards the road intersections, carrying their favorite treats and placing the nuts on the road when there is no traffic.

They would then hop towards the pavement and wait for the fast-paced vehicles to smash their nuts. Subsequently, these birds swoop down rapidly, pick up their snack, and feed on the inside of the nut.

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The Carrion crows in Japan and American crows in California actually exhibit this behavior, following the traffic lights, waiting for the red light to place and pick up their nuts, and immediately take off at the green light.

Do Crows Fly At Night?

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Crows are diurnal avian acrobats that are known to have poor night vision. Before it gets dark, they head to their roosting sites in large flocks of hundreds where it is warm and secure. Roosting together gives them warmth and protection from predators.

Choosing tall, dense trees in parks in the urban areas and forested regions and woodlands in the countryside as their roosting sites, crows dwell in large numbers amidst the branches of trees.

Landing at their roost, they wrestle through the branches, with the late arrivals forcing the early birds into the lower limbs.

However, you might rarely spot a crow flying in the middle of the night. Night flying may occur in cases such as the crow getting scared of its roosting sight, perhaps due to the presence of a predator, and would leave it to head towards another roosting site.

Sometimes, the bright lights in urban areas might disturb the birds during the night’s sleep, and they might mistake the light with daylight and begin to fly around.

Do Crows Poop While Flying?

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Like most birds, crows can pass their excrements when in flight, which is why you might see crow droppings in outdoor open areas, and sometimes, you might even become a target of a flying crow’s poop.

It is common among crows to poop midair while they are in flight. 

Why Do Crows Fly Together In Large Groups?

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Crows follow the prevalent animal phenomenon to congregate together in large numbers. Sighting a crow in solitude with none of its peers around doesn’t happen too often. These gregarious species gather in large numbers with their loud and coarse caws when foraging on the ground or perching on the trees.

Flying around in extensive murders provides them with protection against voracious predators such as the red-tailed hawks and great horned owls. It also provides them social opportunities and a chance to use their collective wisdom to search for new sites with abundant sources of food.

At dusk, these birds gather at staging areas, forming groups before they head to the communal roosting sites together in a flight, where there are numerous other groups of crows.

Both akin and unrelated roost together during the night. These crows choose a specific site where they roost when it gets dark, though they occasionally switch locations. So most birds you see flying together at dusk are probably going to the same site.

Why Do Crows Fly-In Circles?

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Crows tend to fly in circles when they have spotted a prey or other food source and are preparing to swoop down to catch it. Sometimes, crows sense the presence of predators around the area, so they scan the region for any threats or possible competition before they land to enjoy their feast.

Corvid species such as Crows and Ravens are often seen flying around in small circles on top of the trees.

Crows cautiously watch out for predatory threats during the nesting season. The parent crows and the juveniles monitor their nesting sites by staying close by and flying around in circles to protect the eggs and young from any potential threats.

What Does It Mean When A Flock Of Crows Flies Over You?

In the old folklore and mythology, crows have often been associated with both positive and negative meanings - though usually they are symbolically related to death and dark omen. If you begin to explore the superstition surrounding crows, you’ll be amazed to learn about the plethora of opportunistic as well as dark popular beliefs.

To some people, sighting numerous crows signifies positive meanings such as intelligence, mystery, fearlessness, prosperity, and progress - not to forget the dark superstitions as well.

Considered as omens of death or prophecies of doom by many, primarily due to their dark plumage, raucous caws, scavenging capabilities, and tendency to feed on carrions, these crows have a bad reputation in the sight of many humans.

If you want to set aside these superstitious beliefs to know why a massive flock of crows just flew by over your head, it merely means you were beneath their flight part. Calm down; there’s no need to contemplate the incident further!

Keep Reading!

Typically living in massive murders, crows are loud, ingenious, and jocular birds, ubiquitously seen flying around in the sky at a moderately high speed.

Often considered wild and aggressive, crows are one of the most brainy birds using clever tactics to solve their issues. Whether they’re perched on the elevated branches of the tree or foraging on the grasslands, you’ll see these gregarious birds caw-ing sonorously in an asynchronous manner.

If you would like to read up more on crows, here’s an interesting post you can explore to learn the differences between crows and blackbirds

How To Tell a Crow from A Blackbird? 5 Key Differences

Are you contemplating how to identify the Black colored birds flying around? Read on to learn about the key differences between Crows and Blackbirds!

Iñigo Navarro Picture

By Iñigo Navarro

Bird Watching USA

My name is Inigo 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!

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Iñigo Navarro Picture

Iñigo Navarro

Bird Watching USA

My name is Inigo 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!

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