Crows belong to the genus ‘Corvus’. They are found in almost every continent except Antarctica. Most of the species can live for approximately 20 years. But, if taken care of, they can live longer.
Average lifespan of crows:
The common raven lives approximately 10 to 15 years. The American crow usually lives 7 to 8 years. The Australian raven can live up to 22 years.
Usually, crows in the cities living in between humans can live longer than the ones surviving in the wild. As per a report of the Washington Post, a crow whose name is Tata has lived for 59 years. It died in the year 2006.
In the wild:
Usually, the lifespan of any bird depends on its ability to deal with or escape from predators. As per the Animal Ageing and Longevity Database, an American crow can live for an average of 20 years.
According to a report of Dr. Kevin J McGowan of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the oldest crow having a verifiable lifespan lived up to 29 years.
What affects the life expectancy of crows?
The basic factors affecting the life expectancy of crows are:
• Old age
The cutting of trees is another factor that affects the life expectancy of crows. Every year, thousands of trees are cut down for raising buildings. Hence, crows and other birds are disappearing.
West Nile virus is one potent factor for birds, including crows and ravens’ decrease. This virus was first reported in the year 1999 in the U.S. The disease spread by mosquitoes had reached the Bay Area within five years.
In fact, the American Crows are known to be highly prone to the North American strain of the West Nile Virus. These birds die within a week of being sick because of the disease.
Interesting historical events about the life span of crows
Many specimens were documented. Among them, a wild American crow was 17 years 5 months old. That crow was photographed and documented in Washington State.
Again, in New York, a captive crow was documented to live up to 59 years.
Moreover, another captive specimen lived for 69 years. It is reported that ravens in captivity can live more than 70 years. An anecdotal report found that a raven lived up to 80 years in captivity.
Comparatively, ravens have a much shorter life in the wild.
Regarding the death of birds due to the West Nile virus, it is found out that corvids are the carriers of this disease in the United States. Mosquitoes of Culex species infected them.
Ravens and crows die quickly and their deaths are considered an early warning sign of the arrival of the West Nile virus in a particular area.
The death of a large number of crows in New York in the year 1999 was among the first signs of the arrival of the West Nile virus in the United States.
Experts opine that a few species of crows are in danger. The continuous destruction of the Southeast Asian rainforest is endangering many species of birds, including some from the Corvidae family.
Furthermore, New Zealand raven, Mariana crow, etc. are decreasing rapidly due to habitat loss and introduced species.
On the other hand, the population of the American Crow in the United States has increased. But, they may cause a decrease in fish crows and Northwestern crows because of the humans’ endeavor to increase suitable habitat for them.
Empirical evidence and scientific researches around the lifespan of crows
Indian house crows are found in cities, towns, and villages in abundance. Hence, they create enough noise and pose a risk to the health of humans. In fact, empirical evidence revealed that they damage fruit-bearing trees and crops. Again, they kill poultry, newborn goats, and calves.
Moreover, these crows eat the chicks and eggs of other birds. They have managed to displace some species of native birds in Kenya. Besides, the crows eat small mammals, insects, reptiles, and amphibians.
These reasons have urged Yemen, Singapore, and several islands to take considerable attempts to control the population of Indian House Crows.
Again in between 1984 and 1986, Yemen killed approximately 240000 Indian house crows during a control operation.
How long do crows live if, in case it is a pet?
Once the crows reach their sexual maturity, which is around 3 to 4 years, they can live commonly up to 14 to 17 years. In captivity or as a pet, they can live more than 20 years.
Encyclopedia Britannica opines, “A crow may live 13 years in the wild and more than 20 years in captivity.”
What are the usual causes of death in crows?
- Bird Flu is one of the usual causes of death of crows.
- Deforestation and cutting of trees kill crows and other birds.
- West Nile Virus is among the potent causes of crows’ death.
- Old age and accident are other causes of crows’ death.
- Avian Poxvirus is a type of viral infection that affects crows with crusty skin lesions on the head, feet, and legs. The birds can lose their ability to eat and see, and this virus can transport from one crow to another.
- Hemoparasites are avian specific, and the spread of these parasites are one of the major causes of death of crows, especially the endangered Hawaiian crows.
Various breeds of crows and their lifespan variations
• Common Raven (Corvus corax) can live approximately 10 to 15 years in the wild and up to 40 years in captivity.
• Pied Raven (Corvus corax various morpha leucophaeus) can live approximately 20 years in the wild, and more than that in captivity.
• American crows can live 7-8 years in the wild and approximately 30 years in captivity.
• Chihuahuan Raven (Corvus cryptoleucus) can live up to 21.8 years in the wild.
• Fish Crow (Corvus ossifragus) can live up to 14.5 years in the wild.
• Northwestern Crow (Corvus caurinus) can live maximum of 16.7 years in the wild.
• Rook (Corvus frugilegus) can live up to 6 years.
• House Crow or Indian House Crow (Corvus splendens) can live for approximately 6 years.
• Jungle Crow (Corvus [macrorhynchos] levaillantii) can live up to 19 years.
• Common Raven (Corvus corax) lives approximately 13 to 22 years.
• Hooded crow (Corvus [corone] cornix) is known to live up to 16 years 9 months.
• Carrion Crow (Corvus corone) can live for 4 years.
• Australian Raven (Corvus coronoides) lives up to 22 years in captivity.
• Forest Raven (Corvus tasmanicus) can commonly live for 10 – 15 years in the wild and more than 40 years in captivity.
Crows and ravens are found in most parts of the world. In captivity or as a pet with proper care and maintenance, they can live longer (over 20 years) in comparison to their survival in the wild (approx.13 years).