Crows are adaptable creatures that can survive in different environments, depending on the food availability and weather conditions. These birds can live longer if they get food and a suitable environment.
Do Crows Die Of Old Age? Crows can die of old age because their body organs do not function efficiently when they are old, and they are more prone to infections and diseases due to weak immune systems. Different factors, such as diseases, diet, climate, predators, human interactions, specie, and accidents or injuries, affect their lifespan. They can live longer in captivity than wild because the living conditions are more suitable under human care.
Some people think crows can live more than 100 years, as there are myths that these birds survive for 400 to 500 years, but no such cases are reported. All these stories are myths because people associate these birds with spiritual meanings.
Why do crows die of old age?
They can die of old as all other living organisms, such as the average lifespan of these birds is 6 to 10 years, depending on various factors.
They can die if their body does not function the same way as when they are young. Their body organs do not work correctly, and sometimes the organs, such as the heart, liver, and kidney, do not perform well.
Crows’ immune system becomes weak with age, and they are more susceptible to infections, illness, and pathogens attacks. They cannot recover soon from a fatal disease and die due to old age.
The feathers on their bodies start falling off because they cannot go for food foraging when they are old and become weak due to poor diet.
They are more prone to predator attacks become they cannot fly and run as fast as a young bird and eventually die if predators attack.
Their eyesight and hearing power become weak with age, and there are more chances of organ failure, which cause them to die.
Their weak bodies cannot bear the injuries, and the infection can cause death. These birds cannot bury their dead fellows.
What factors affect the lifespan of crows?
Various factors affect the lifespan of crows, as about 50% of these birds die in the early stage of their life due to these factors. Some significant factors affecting their lifetime are explained here.
They are wild birds, and various infections and diseases can attack these birds, such as bacterial and fungal infections, significantly affecting their lifespan.
They can get the disease from other species and animals in the wild and die before reaching their old age.
These bacteria and pathogens affect their body organs and immune system, which affects the mortality rates in these species.
The young birds can fight the disease and recover, but the old birds die if the infection affects the whole body. According to research, West Nile Virus causes 45% of American crows to die at a young age.
The risk of diseases and contagious viruses is high in the wild because many birds and animals are sharing this place, and they can get these germs from the birds around their surroundings.
Food and water resources also play a vital role in their life, as they cannot survive long without food and water.
Food is one of the basic needs of their life, and they can die due to starvation and no water source in the surroundings.
Healthy and more food sources around the living places positively impact their lifespan, as they get enough energy to deal with the problems in daily life and fight diseases.
Crows are food scavengers and manage to find food in different situations, but starvation in a new environment can cause the bird to die. Therefore, food and other resources significantly affect their lifespan and their health.
Some of their species are habitual to live in cold weather, while others can survive in warm climates. The external weather or climate changes affect the lifespan and survival of these birds.
For example, their species, which are habitual to living in a warm environment, cannot survive a sudden change in weather, and die in cold weather.
Crows in warm climates can live longer than birds in colder environments because there are more chances of survival in warm weather, and food sources are more conveniently available.
Floods, storms, and rains can cause the birds to lose their habitat, and they cannot find suitable shelters, which leads to stressful situations and also affect their lifespan.
Predators and human interaction
Different predators can attack the crows and cause them to die within a few years of their life. They have short lifespans in areas where the predators’ risks are more, and people often go to the wild for hunting.
These factors affect their life, as the hunters can prey on the crows and other birds before attacking the primary target. Moreover, the pesticides in urban areas can affect their lifespan.
They can survive longer in the wild if they know how to deal with the situation and find suitable hiding places to protect themselves from predators and hunters.
Different bird species have different lifespans because they are not the same to adapt to varying habitats and climate changes.
Some species can survive in extreme weather and food shortage, while others are sensitive and do not deal with such stress.
For example, an American crow can live up to 8 years, while a carrion crow can live 4-6 years in the wild.
Some species have genetic traits to fight diseases and stressful situations, which cause them to have a longer lifespan than other birds.
Hooded crows can live 8-9 years, while the oldest bird of this specie has a lifespan of 14 years. The Torresian crow has a lifespan of 20 years, and the Northwestern crow can survive 14-15 years.
Injuries or accidents
Crows living in cities and urban areas are more prone to accidents and injuries, which affect their lifespan, while the birds in the wild are less susceptible to road accidents and other injuries.
For example, I witnessed an accident where a fast-speed car hit a crow because the driver could not see the bird flying toward the other roadside.
The bird died, and people called the wildlife center to pick up the dead body. Therefore, the chances of such accidents are high in urban areas, which affects their lifespan.
How long do crows live in the wild and in captivity?
The lifespan of crows differs in the wild and captivity, such as they can live longer under human care than in the wild.
The chances of predation and food shortage are more in the wild, while they get adequate food in captivity.
There are more chances of predator attack in the wild, and they die before completing their life or reaching old age.
They do not have to face climate changes, habitat loss, and other stressful conditions which positively affect their lifespan.
For example, American crows can live for 7-8 years in the wild and 22-25 years in captivity. Similarly, carrion crows can survive 5-7 years in the wild, and the lifespan recorded in captivity was 20 years.
A survey study showed only one Torresian crow in twenty can survive the early life years before reaching sexual maturity, and 89% of American crows die in the wild before they enter their breeding age.
They die soon in the wild because parasitic infections, diseases, and other potential threats are more compared to the species in captivity.
Which is the oldest crow known?
Their lifespan and longevity depend on various factors, and they can live many years if suitable living conditions are available. Tata is the oldest crow species and died in 2006 at the age of 59.
The owner reported the bird was saved from a storm and brought home. The bird stayed with the family for 50 years and died in 2006 due to old age.
A record showed another oldest American crow lived almost 30 years in captivity and died of old age. The bird gets the necessary food, climate, and other survival conditions, which cause the bird to survive longer than its average life in the wild.
Which crow species has the shortest lifespan?
The carrion crow species is one of the shortest-living crows because they have 4-7 years lifespan. Some species of this bird can live ten years, depending on the food availability, climate, and predation rate in the surrounding.
These birds are found in wild and urban areas and have black bodies and feathers. They are intelligent among all of these species and can remember humans and other birds for many years.
They live in Western Europe, Asia, Africa, Belgium, Denmark, Austria, and Afghanistan. They can migrate to warmer areas in winter and live in different habitats, such as forests, parks, beaches, and tide pools.