Do Crows Eat Insects? ( Like Beetles, Bugs, And Pests)

Crow’s diet is quite diverse as the birds have great adaptability toward manmade and natural foods. They are believed to eat almost anything that they find. 

My curiosity to know about their diet increased when I saw them picking and eating something from the hidden little spots in my garden. I searched about their diet and eating habits later on to satisfy my curious self.

With the help of my research, I have compiled all the information below to help you know about whether insects are eaten by crows. 

Do crows eat insects?

Crows are omnivore birds having insects as a large part of their diet. They eat a variety of insects ranging from small to large. 

They are considered as highly opportunistic birds as they eat anything that they find in their way. But the most easily available food to crows are insects and thus, the birds do not have a day without eating any insects. 

The crow even helps farmers by consuming several insects that are considered harmful to the crops in agricultural areas.  Different species of crows have differences in their diets but insects are part of each of their food. 

The insects are the source of protein in their diet that helps the birds to remain healthy. Especially while raising young, the demand for insects as food increases. The inadequacy of the protein-rich nestling food, such as insects, may lead to the short-term survival of the crow’s young.

The young crows eat a larger portion of insects.  It is estimated that the intake of insects in nestling crows is one-third more than the adults. 

Related Read: Which birds eat mealworms? | How do birds find worms?

Related Read: What Time Of Day Do Birds Eat?

Do crows eat beetles and bugs?

Crows can eat several beetles and bugs in a day and they are considered as the primary source of their insect food. 

Do crows eat butterflies?

Crows do not eat butterflies as they are hard to catch and digest.  The caterpillars are frequently eaten by the crows and it is one of their favorite foods, but butterflies are not considered as great food by them.  

What insects do crows eat? Do they eat all insects!

The insects eaten by crows are:

  • Grasshoppers
  • Weevils
  • Beetles
  • Cutworms
  • Ground spiders
  • Soldier Bugs
  • Ants
  • Bees 
  • Caterpillars
  • Wasps
  • Grubs 
  • Flies
  • Locusts
  • Crickets 

The small species of insects are rarely eaten by crows. However, the ants are the exception to this. They almost eat terrestrial insects found on the surface of the ground, the base of the plants, under the objects, in the domestic animal’s dung, or underground. 

The coprophagous insects are constantly eaten by crows whereas the arboreal insects are rarely consumed. The insects with bright colors are more attractive to these birds and are eagerly eaten by them. The golden color is the most attractive of all the colors.

The birds seem to prefer insects having hard covering more than the ones with soft bodies. They also have a special liking for insects with strong or pungent odor or taste.

Related Read: Do crows eat pigeon eggs? | Why do crows attack pigeons?

How much insects do crows eat?

The average percentage of insects eaten by crows is estimated to be around 26 percent of their food in a year. A crow family can consume almost 40,000 insects including caterpillars, grubs, and armyworms in a nesting season. 

The amount of the intake of insects depends hugely on the seasons. The crows have the largest portion of insects in their diet during the breeding season.

Crows forage for insects mostly during the day. Their eating patterns indicate that they feed very often when they are most active.

What kind of beetles and bugs do crows eat? 

Crows can eat almost all kinds of beetles and bugs and even have many of them as their favorites. But the few main kinds eaten by them are:

1. Dung Beetles

These beetles feed on the feces of various animals. They fall under the order Coleoptera having several species. The few main dung beetles eaten by crows are Silpha, Hister, Copris, etc. 

2. Ground Beetles

They are the vast group of beetles eaten by crows in good amounts. Some of the most common ground beetles eaten by crows belong to the genera such as Carabus, Calosoma, Harpatus, and Chlanius

3. May Beetles

Belonging to the extremely large genus of beetles, Phyllophaga, May Beetles fall under the subfamily Melolonthinae. They are found above ground at night, but the crows mostly dig them out to eat them during the day. The common May beetles eaten by crows are Copris.

4. Soldier Bugs

These bugs form a considerable part of insect food for crows. Their strong taste and odor are the reason why crows sought them out so eagerly. The soldier bugs belonging to Euschixtux and Podisus genera are mostly eaten. 

5. Click beetles

Beetles belonging to the family Elateridae are also called Click beetles. A large number of species of click beetles are found in crow’s insect food. The abundant species are Corymbites, Agriotes mancus, etc. 

Related Read: Do crows eat rats and mice? | Will they attack or prey on them?

Conclusion

Crows are not picky eaters and thus, feed on a wide range of things. The insects are one of such creatures they eat in large amounts and very often. The insects eaten in the majority are beetles and bugs. They are most dependent on insects for food during some specific seasons, like the breeding season.