Murder of Crows: Unlocking the Enigmatic World

Murder of Crows: Not your average crime thriller. These fascinating feathered felons may not wield knives or wear fedoras, but their criminal intelligence is nothing short of “raven”ous!

Discover the true story behind their cunning ways and unlock the secrets of the avian underworld. Ready for a flight of suspense?

What’s a Murder of Crows?

What's a Murder of Crows

Before we dive into the origin and significance of this intriguing term, let’s first understand what a murder of crows actually entails.

A murder of crows refers to a gathering or flock of crows, typically consisting of anywhere from a few dozen to several hundred individuals.

These highly intelligent and social birds are renowned for their striking jet-black feathers, sharp beaks, and piercing eyes that seem to hold untold wisdom.

Why is it Called a Murder of Crows?

Now that we have a basic understanding of what a murder of crows is, let’s unravel the mystery behind its name.

The term “murder” in this context has its roots in the realm of venery, which is a term used to describe the hunting and behavior of animals.

Venery has a long history and is often associated with the pursuit of game animals.

Related Article: Can Crows Talk

Terms of, Ahem, Venery

Venery has an elaborate lexicon that assigns unique collective nouns to different groups of animals. These names are often poetic, imaginative, and steeped in history.

For instance, a group of geese is called a “gaggle,” while a gathering of owls is referred to as a “parliament.”

Similarly, when it comes to crows, they have been assigned the distinctive collective noun of a “murder.”

But Why a Murder?

The choice of the term “murder” to describe a group of crows might sound rather grim and mysterious, but there are a few theories as to why this name was bestowed upon these magnificent birds.

One hypothesis suggests that the use of “murder” in this context is derived from the Old English word “murdrian,” which means to kill or destroy.

This association could stem from the crows’ scavenging nature, as they are often found near carrion or areas where death is prevalent.

Crows v2.0

To fully appreciate the term “murder of crows,” it’s essential to explore the behavior and characteristics of these intelligent birds.

Crows are not your ordinary feathered friends; they possess remarkable cognitive abilities that rival some of the smartest animals on the planet.

In fact, recent studies have shown that crows are capable of problem-solving, tool usage, and even recognizing human faces.

The Intelligent Avian Minds

One notable example of their intelligence is their ability to use tools. Crows have been observed fashioning tools from twigs, leaves, and even wires to extract food from hard-to-reach places.

This remarkable skill demonstrates their resourcefulness and adaptability in the face of challenges.

Moreover, crows have been found to exhibit social behavior and communicate with one another through a variety of vocalizations and body language.

Crows and the Cultural Significance

Beyond their intellectual prowess, crows hold a significant place in various cultures and folklore around the world.

In some Native American traditions, crows are considered sacred and symbolize wisdom and magic.

They are often associated with the spirit world and are believed to be messengers between realms.

In other cultures, crows have been associated with both good and bad omens, representing death, transformation, or even bringing newsof impending danger.

Related Article: Why Do Little Birds Attack Crows

Where do Crows Live?

Where do Crows Live

Crows are incredibly adaptable birds and can be found in various habitats across the globe.

They have a widespread distribution and are native to North America, Europe, Asia, and parts of Africa.

From bustling cities to rural landscapes, crows have proven their ability to thrive in diverse environments.

They are often found in woodlands, forests, parks, agricultural fields, and even urban areas.

Their versatility allows them to adapt and make use of available resources in their surroundings.

What do Crows Eat?

Crows are omnivorous, which means their diet is quite diverse. They are opportunistic feeders and have a reputation for being scavengers.

While they are known to scavenge for carrion and garbage, their diet extends far beyond that. Crows have a keen sense of sight and are able to spot potential food sources from a distance.

Their diet primarily consists of insects, small mammals, amphibians, reptiles, eggs, fruits, seeds, nuts, and even human leftovers.

Their ability to adapt their diet based on what is available in their environment contributes to their success as a species.

How Many Species of Crows are There?

The crow family, scientifically known as Corvidae, is a diverse group of birds that includes not only crows but also ravens, jays, and magpies. Within the crow family, there are approximately 40 species.

Among these, the most well-known and widespread species is the American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos), which is native to North America.

Other notable species include the Northwestern Crow, the Common Raven, and the Hooded Crow, each with its own unique characteristics and range.

Social Environment

Crows are highly social birds and often form large flocks.

Living in complex social structures, they exhibit remarkable levels of cooperation and communication.

Within a crow flock, there is a clear hierarchy, with dominant individuals taking the lead and subordinate members following suit.

They engage in cooperative hunting, mobbing predators, and defending their territory.

This social structure provides them with strength in numbers and enhances their chances of survival.

Close Relatives

Crows have close relatives within the Corvidae family, including ravens, jays, and magpies. Ravens, often larger than crows, are known for their deep and resonant calls.

They share similar habitats and also display high levels of intelligence. Jays, on the other hand, are known for their striking colors and loud vocalizations.

Magpies, with their black and white plumage, are also part of the crow family and exhibit similar behaviors and adaptations.

Crows and West Nile Virus

In recent years, crows have garnered attention due to their susceptibility to the West Nile virus. West Nile virus is primarily transmitted through mosquitoes and can affect a wide range of bird species, including crows.

Crows, being highly visible and abundant, have been used as indicators for monitoring the spread and impact of the virus.

Their exposure to the virus has provided valuable insights into its transmission and its effects on avian populations.

FAQs About Murder of Crows

What is a large murder of crows called?

A large murder of crows is called a “congress” or a “commune.”

What is a flock of ravens called?

A flock of ravens is called an “unkindness” or a “conspiracy.”

How many is a murder of crows?

A murder of crows typically consists of around 15 to 40 crows, but it can vary in size.

What is a flock of owls called?

A flock of owls is called a “parliament.”

What is a flock of vultures called?

A flock of vultures is called a “committee” or a “wake.”

What is a group of woodpeckers called?

A group of woodpeckers is called a “descent” or a “drumming.”

What do you call a flock of eagles?

A flock of eagles is called a “convocation” or an “aerie.”

What is a group of Robins called?

A group of Robins is called a “worm” or a “roundabout.”

What is a group of Magpies called?

A group of Magpies is called a “tidings” or a “murmuration.”

What is a group of 12 crows called?

A group of 12 crows is simply called a “group” or a “gathering.”

Why are crows called a murder?

Crows are called a “murder” because the term refers to a group of crows exhibiting aggressive behavior, which may include mobbing and attacking other animals, particularly during nesting season.

What are crows afraid of?

Crows are afraid of several things, including predators such as hawks and owls.

They also tend to avoid loud noises, sudden movements, and objects that resemble humans or potential threats.

Additionally, crows are cautious around unfamiliar or unusual items in their environment.

Final Thoughts About Murder of Crows

Murder of crows, with their mysterious and intelligent nature, have fascinated humans for centuries.

The collective term “murder” adds a touch of intrigue to their already enigmatic presence.

These highly social birds exhibit remarkable communication skills, problem-solving abilities, and complex social structures.

Their coordinated movements and vocalizations create an atmosphere of unity and cooperation within the murder.

While their presence may sometimes be associated with superstition and dark folklore, crows play an important ecological role as scavengers and seed dispersers.

They remind us of the beauty and complexity of the natural world. The murder of crows is a testament to the wonders of avian intelligence and the interconnectedness of all living creatures.

Julian Goldie - Owner of

Julian Goldie

I'm a bird enthusiast and creator of Chipper Birds, a blog sharing my experience caring for birds. I've traveled the world bird watching and I'm committed to helping others with bird care. Contact me at [email protected] for assistance.