Can Crows Swim? Find Out Here!


If you’ve ever come across crows playing around in birdbaths or puddles then it shouldn’t come as a surprise to you that crows love to play with water and have fun with it. The intelligence of crows sets them apart from other bird species, as do their exceptional qualities and unusual behavior. Although they are cunning, intelligent, and aggressive, their playful side has not yet been fully appreciated. 

Now, you may be wondering, “Can crows swim in water?”

No, crows cannot swim because they are not aquatic birds. They do not have physical features like webbed feet to maintain balance in the water. However, they can float for a while on water bodies so they don’t drown and die the moment they fall into the water. Crows have evolved to fly, and that’s why they have different body structures than swimming birds.

This article will go into a detailed discussion about why crows can’t swim, and whether they can float, drown or bathe in water. So, let’s begin!

Why Can’t Crows Swim?

Crows can’t swim because they lack swimming adaptations. They don’t have webbed feet like ducks do to swim in the water. Additionally, ducks have double-layered feathers, but crows don’t. These feathers have a layer of fatty acids on them. These acids don’t get dissolved in water. Ducks and other aquatic birds can effortlessly swim in water without getting tired because of such organic compounds in their feathers. When crows accidentally fall into deep water, their feathers get wet and heavy after a while.

Apart from the characteristics mentioned above, there are several physical features to swimming adaptations of aquatic birds that crows clearly do not have. So for a better understanding of why crows can’t swim, we’ll look into a list of physical features of aquatic birds in the following manner:

  1. Body Shape: For a bird to be able to swim it must have a torpedo-shaped streamlined body to reduce friction whereas crows have bulky bodies with big feathers which will experience water drag.
  2. Body Density: An aquatic bird must have a dense body for swimming but crows have a broad and less dense body suited for flying.
  3. Bones and Skeleton: To avoid being snapped by underwater pressure, aquatic birds have thick bones and fused joints. On the other hand, crows have hollow bones and fickle joints.
  4. Respiratory Adaptations: Aquatic birds can hold their breath underwater and also lower their breathing rate but crows can’t do either of them so they can’t breathe underwater.
  5. Waterproofing: Swimming birds have special feather adaptations to resist water whereas crows do have some waterproofing but not so much.
  6. Body Temperature: An aquatic bird either has the ability to reduce their body temperature or has an extra set of down feathers to keep them warm. Crows, on the other hand, can’t control their body temperature.
  7. Muscular Strength: Swimming birds have evolved to have highly developed pectoral muscles but crows only have enough muscular strength to fly and steer through the wind.

Can Crows Float On Water?

Crows can temporarily float on water. Their bodies and tails are key components in their ability to float on water. They spread their wings and extend their tails while they are on the water’s surface, which increases their body’s surface area and helps them float. They can float until their feathers are too heavy to fly.

A crow may float for a few hours if it accidentally falls into deep water and needs to survive. Their hollow bones and light bodies result in a reduction in their overall body mass. They can move ahead slightly with their wings when floating on water. They may eventually become exhausted from a significant energy loss and begin to drown in the water.

Do Crows Drown In Water?

If a crow falls into a large body of water, such as deep lakes, canals, and rivers, it will eventually drown after a while since crows can’t keep themselves afloat for much longer. They will drown and die in the water because their wet feathers make them heavier. They can only survive if they are saved in time.

They can be seen hanging out near bodies of water, but they never go towards deeper waterbeds on purpose. Instead, they seek puddles, small lakes, and birdbaths where they can bathe and drink. Small, quick dips in the water are safe, but they always avoid larger water bodies.

Read: Why Do Crows Make Noise At Night? 8 Surprising Reasons

Can Crows Fly Again After Getting Wet?

Crows may fly immediately after they’ve accidentally fallen into the water. They wouldn’t want to spend a lot of time floating on water because they aren’t aquatic birds. Most likely, they’d take to the skies. Birds like ducks and swans have an additional coating on their feathers that allows them to float, as we already know.

Can Crows Fly Again After Getting Wet

Crow feathers, however, do not have the additional coating. So, after falling into the water, crows would probably fly again.

Why Do Crows Stand In And Walk Through Water?

Sometimes crows may walk through and stand in water if the water level is low. As omnivores, crows can consume a variety of foods, including fish, shrimp, and crabs. For that reason, you’ll occasionally see crows standing in water. Crows, particularly fish crows, prefer to dwell near bodies of water in order to consume fish on a regular basis. So, if you ever see a crow standing in water, there’s a high chance that it’s looking for food.

Why Do They Dip Their Food In Water?

Even when there’s a shortage of food, crows can eat because they soften their food with water that would otherwise be difficult to consume. They also hide and store food for later consumption. They dunk their food in water if it’s too hard. Crows are among the most intelligent birds in the world, therefore their creativity is evident in this kind of preparation.

Do Crows Drink Water?

Usually, crows acquire their daily fluid needs from the food they consume, but they will occasionally drink water. Especially, young birds need more water than adults. Another theory for why crows dip their food in water is for better hydration.

Crows Drink Water

How Do Crows Bathe?

Crows bathe frequently and splash water on their partners and friends. Like most birds, crows take a bath by raising their feathers and splashing water in between them to wash out irritants and parasites.

How Do Crows Bathe

Crows spend a lot more time bathing in the summer than they do in the cooler months, which helps them stay cool during the heat.

Do Crows Like To Play In Water?

Even if it doesn’t seem like it, crows love to play with water. Crows enjoy both playing and taking baths in water. They are often seen bathing, dunking, and drinking near water sources. They enjoy splashing around in birdbaths as well. It keeps them clean and helps them to get dirt and mud out of their feathers. Just like any other bird, crows enjoy splashing around in shallow water as long as it isn’t too deep to make them drown.

Crows Like To Play In Water

That’s All, Folks!

In conclusion, it is clear that crows are not skilled swimmers compared to some other birds, such as ducks. While they are able to paddle through the water using their wings and may even use tools to assist in their aquatic endeavors, they do not have the same level of proficiency in the water as other waterbirds.

Despite this, crows are still intelligent and adaptable animals that are capable of a wide range of behaviors and activities. We hope that this article has helped to answer the question of whether or not crows can swim and has provided some interesting insights into the behavior and abilities of these fascinating birds.

Tawsif Arafat

Tawsif is the author of Birds Indeed, a blog celebrating the beauty and diversity of birds. With a Master’s degree in Law, Tawsif brings a unique perspective to the world of ornithology. Join Tawsif on their journey of discovery as they share their knowledge and love of birds with the world.

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