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Most of us would have the curiosity to know about the lifestyle of uncommon and unique birds. But what about the common bird, the crow? You may know a few crow intelligence facts about them, but there are many things more than that. 

But their intelligence is not considered much, because when you see a crow, the first thing that comes to your mind is the sign of a bad phenomenon that is about to come. They are associated with trickery and death because it is the way they are portrayed in the movies, stories, and superstitions. 

crows are considered to be a sign ofbad phenomenon

But there is nothing to be scared of, and when it comes to intelligence, they are second to humans. Learn a few Crow intelligence facts to know how smart they are and it would help to observe them closely to find out.

Why are crows smart?

Crows are observed to be extremely intelligent birds compared to other birds. There are folklore and fiction about crows on how they do things smartly. They are known for problem-solving skills and have great communication skills. 

There are about 40 species of crow and many types of crows are solitary but will forage in groups. A group of crows is called a murderer because when one crow dies, the murderer will surround the deceased. They gather to find out what killed the member and will band together and chase predators. 

In fact, crows are often blamed for overturning garbage cans, but they are the ones who clean up dead animals and garbage and the real culprits are usually raccoons or dogs. 

Crow intelligence facts

Second to human

This is one of the Crow intelligence facts because they can be smart as a 7-year-old child. The brain of a crow is likely to be the size of a human thumb. According to research, it has been verified that crows can pass the water-displacement test at a level similar to human children between the ages of 5 and 7. 

A test conducted involved tubes that contain water and a treat floating on top out of reach. To bring the food within reach, the crows filled the tubes with enough rocks or other heavy items. They were tested in different scenarios, like tubes with different water levels. They preferred tubes that would get them food with the least amount of work. And this success rate was on par with seven-year-old children. 

Recognize Human Faces

crow the smartest bird

It is actually hard for us to identify one crow from another. But crows can recognize individual human faces. For example, when a crow encounters a mean human, it will teach other crows how to identify the human. Research shows that crows don’t forget a face.

The Wildlife biologists conducted a simple experiment using rubber masks that designated a dangerous face while a mask of former Vice President Dick Cheney was neutral. The researchers with the dangerous mask trapped and banded the crows and then released them, but they were careful not to harm the birds during trapping which gave a scary experience for the bird.

Then they returned to the area and walked wearing different masks. The birds saw the dangerous face and alarm called and dive-bombed the face while mostly ignoring the neutral face. They were focused on the face. Even the crows who had not been tagged or banded scolded, and dive-bombed the wearer of the dangerous mask. As they were actually learning from their peers that this particular person is dangerous. 

Crows create and use tools

You might have noticed crows taking bright and shiny objects to use as tools. In fact, they don’t just take tools and use them, instead, they also make them. They can also learn to make tools by memorizing and recreating their designs.

They fly around an area, and if they do not find anything, they will take some twigs and snap it off, stripping them of bark and even leaves. Sometimes they make a hook at the ends and use it to grab food for small spaces. 

If they accidentally let go of their tool, they will pick it up again. Moreover, they value the effort they put into making the tool. 

They talk about you to other crows

crows are social animals

These are weird and funny Crow intelligence facts. If you ever walk into your area and see two crows talking to each other, they are probably talking about you. Because in the study, crows who were never captured by the researchers even attacked them. 

The communication of crows is poorly understood and the intensity, duration, and rhythm of caws seem to form the basis of a possible language. They can even pass grudges on each other. So, when you’re mean to a crow, you have to be careful because his peers might also attack you. 

Crows read traffic lights

In Japan, the crows have learned to take walnuts which is their favorite treat, over to road intersections. They put the hard-shelled snacks down onto the pavement and then wait for a passing vehicle to smash the nut, after which it will swoop down and eat the delicious interior.

It is a trick used by them. Before flying down to place the uncracked nut on the road, the Carrion crows wait until the light turns red. When the light goes green, the crow takes off to watch the nut get run over. And then it will even wait for the next red to scoop up the nut’s insides.

Even American crows have been observed doing the same thing in California.

Plan for future

One of the excellent planners’ credit goes to crows where before they go out to get food, they plan how much they will get and where they will get it. They also plan how much they will eat and store.  

But the tone of the most impressive crow intelligence facts is that they change their plans. For example, if they are about to store their food in a place and see another bird watching it, they will pretend to store the seeds, but they will be actually hiding those in their feathers and will fly off to find another spot.

They exercise self-control

Crows can experience anticipation and exercise self-control if they find out the end result would be a greater reward. A 2014 study was conducted. The researchers fed crows grapes, bread, sausage, fried fat, and other treats. 

Their first step was to determine which snacks the crows liked the most. They were given snacks and if they were willing to wait, they get the option to trade the snack. They could either receive a better quality snack and meat in exchange for a grape which for instance, is a higher quantity of the same snack.

Until a better snack was on offer, the birds preferred to wait. In some cases, they waited up to 10 minutes for a better snack. The fact that they waited for better quality and not quantity, showed that they were waiting because they wanted to not because they were actually hungry.

They are helpers 

In early spring, American crows start to nest. They build their nests from sticks and line them with soft materials like grass, fur, or feathers. The young crows will depend on their parents for a couple of months and tend to stay near their family for a while longer. 

They are defended fiercely by their parents and they are given time and energy for play behaviors, important for their development and cultural learning. They will then eventually start spending less time with their parents while being with larger flocks. 

Before finding a mate and establishing a territory of their own, they can either take off to float or remain in their home and act as a helper for next year’s brood. In most American crow populations, the older offspring continue to help their parents raise new chicks for a few years. 

Caused blackouts in Japan

crows do funerals

The population of crows has boomed since the 1990s in Japan. But this became a hard time for power companies. 

The Urban crows prefer nesting on electric transformers and as building materials for their nests, they will often use wire hangers or fiber-optic cables. The result was a blackout in major cities around Japan. Between 2006 and 2008, almost 1400 fiber-optic cables were stolen by corvids from Tokyo power providers, and according to the Chubu electric company, crows are responsible for around 100 power failures per year in their facilities alone.

In 2004, Chubu started installing artificial “love nests” which are made with non-conductive resin, placing the nests on company towers high above the power lines, where the birds are unlikely to cause any trouble. 67 percent of the faux nests are currently in use, making life a lot easier for Chubu employees.

What are the most intelligent crow species? 

Crow intelligence facts

Carrion Crows

One of the most adaptable crows is Carrion Crow which is found mostly in Asia and Europe and is probably. In Japan, these birds have discovered how to throw seeds on the road and wait until the traffic lights crush the shells. They follow traffic lights, to also ensure that they stay safe. 

It is often quite fearless, although it can be wary of man. They are fairly solitary and found alone or in pairs, and may form occasional flocks. 

American Crows

American Crows are found to be the smartest and these birds with black feathers all over their body are found all over the US. They are highly family-oriented, highly curious, and great observers. 

They are highly social birds and more often they are seen in groups than alone. These crows often stay together in year-round family groups that consist of the breeding pair and offspring from the past two years. The whole family cooperates to raise the young. 

American Crows form large flocks to forage at garbage dumps and farms during the day, and they roost in numbers ranging from hundreds to two million in the winter. 

They also form close family units of up to five generations. Yearlings and two-year-olds will even give their parents a hand and help to build the nest, keep it clean, and feed their mother while she’s sitting on the nest. 

Hooded crows

Hooded crows although not the prettiest crows, are extremely smart with light grey-color back and chest. They are mainly found in Asia, Europe, and Mediterranean Africa.

The European coast’s birds learned to develop a strategy to feed on animals easily. They pick up mollusks and fly at a certain height to ensure that the shell would break when it hits the ground. Once it breaks, they will swoop down to pick up the meat. 

They don’t pick up just any type of mollusk and will focus on the larger ones as those are where they will get the most nutrition. They will also find ways to quickly capture fish by baiting them with bread, picnic leftovers, and other food.


Ravens often travel in pairs. They have longer middle feathers in their tails and when open their tail appears wedge-shaped. Ravens have bigger, curvier beaks relative to crows when flying. 

Ravens are among the most intelligent birds and may have the edge in tackling tough problems. Ravens use to even pre-plan tasks and this behavior was long believed unique to humans and their relatives. 

An experiment was conducted where scientists taught birds how a tool can help them access a piece of food. After 24 hours, they offered the birds a selection of objects. Then the ravens selected that specific tool again and performed the task to get their treat. Even monkeys could not perform so. 

And therefore Ravens are considered to be an intelligent birds. 

Final thoughts

Crows are often believed to be negative and associated with death and bad phenomenon. Apart from that, they are blamed for stealing. But through the crow intelligence facts, you may find out how smart they are. 

They are second to humans, with good brains although their size is small. There are a lot of species and most of them are intelligent and clever to identify human faces, and traffic signals, and make their own tools. 

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