Can Crows Swim?| Can They Float?

crows flying above water

Although they can sometimes float on top of bodies of water, crows cannot swim. Crows have adapted to fly instead, and therefore don’t have the proper body structures to facilitate swimming.

The rest of this article will go into more detail about why crows can’t swim, whether or not crows like water, and what kind of crows live near water.

Is it safe for crows to get wet in the rain?

Although they don’t have the proper feathers for swimming, crow feathers are mostly weatherproof, making the birds very well-adapted to survive rain and storms.

Crows are also quite intelligent and can usually find adequate shelter in harsh weather.

Can crows float?

Crows can float on water, fluffing their wings for buoyancy and “paddling” with their wings.

When their feathers get too wet, crows can no longer float and need to dry off before they are able to take flight again.

Confused about ravens and crows identification, check our post Raven vs crows.

How long can crows float?

Typically, crows can float for several hours before they need to dry off their feathers.

They sometimes use this time to bathe and play in the water.

Can crows drown in the water?

If a crow floats on a deep body of water for too long, its feathers can become so heavy that they pull the crow down and potentially drown it.

Rather than risk drowning, crows usually seek out shallow water instead.

Do crows really play in water?

Many crows “bathe” for longer periods of time than they need to in order to get clean, regardless of the season.

They seem to enjoy wading around in the water and splashing each other!

Do crows like water?

Crows do seem to like water, often playing in, bathing in, and drinking from shallow pools like birdbaths and small ponds.

Sometimes they will even dip their food in water before eating it, which might be to soften it.

Why do crows soften their food in water?

By softening foods that would otherwise be too hard to eat, crows can eat even when food is scarce.

This kind of planning demonstrates their resourcefulness – crows are thought to be some of the most intelligent birds in the world!

How do crows bathe?

Crows, like most birds, bathe by lifting their feathers and splashing water between them to get irritants and parasites out.

Bathing also helps crows cool off during hot weather; crows spend much more time bathing during the summer than during the cooler months.

Do crows drink water?

Crows get most of their daily hydration from the food they eat, but they will sometimes drink water as well (especially juvenile birds, who require more water than adults).

Better hydration is also thought to be one of the reasons crows dip their food.

Is the story of the crow and the pitcher true?

Aesop’s fable, The Crow and the Pitcher, in which a thirsty crow solves a water displacement puzzle and is rewarded with water to drink, is not a true story.

The story did, however, inspire scientific studies that confirmed crows’ ability to conceptualize water displacement in real life.

Do crows have any relatives that can swim?

All crows are part of the corvid family, a group of genetically related birds that share certain genetic traits.

All birds in the corvid family are adapted to fly rather than swim, though most can float.

Corvids all have a longer wingspan than most other avian birds, which strengthens their flying abilities.

Do crows live near water?

In general, crows live in open environments, like fields, clearings, and suburbs across the United States of America and Canada.

Fish crows (Corvus ossifragus) are a specific subtype of crow that live near water, especially rivers, oceans, swamps, and tidal flats; fish crows will sometimes forage and hunt by wading through very shallow water.

What regions do fish crows live in?

Fish crows primarily inhabit the east coast in the United States, although they also live in some southeastern coastal states.

While not all fish crows migrate, the ones that do spend their winters along the Mississippi River, sometimes migrating as far north as central Illinois.

Are fish crows better adapted to live near water?

Fish crows are smaller than the typical American crow – which is the most common species of crow – and many have a slight hook at the end of the beak.

This hook could help fish crows open mollusks and other small shellfish.

How close to water will a crow build a nest?

All crows nest up high, usually in trees or on telephone poles.

Fish crows typically build their nests in trees that line the coast, giving them easy access to the beach for foraging and hunting.

Do crows eat fish?

Crows are omnivores and will eat whatever they can find, from nuts and berries to suburban garbage.

Since even fish crows can’t swim, crows usually only eat the fish they can hunt close to the surface or steal from water birds. 

Can crows dive in the water?

Some crows will dive toward bodies of water to catch fish.

Crows don’t, however, dive into the water, instead catching fish that are close to the surface.

Why are crows good at flying not swimming?

Birds that primarily fly, like crows, have body structures better suited for flying than swimming.

The following features evolved in avian birds to help them fly:

  • Hollow bones that are light and strong
  • Perfectly-shaped wings for catching air
  • Light feathers that don’t weigh the crow down
  • Efficient lungs for traveling long distances
  • A high-energy diet for burning lots of calories

Can’t some birds both fly and swim?

Some birds, like ducks and puffins, can both fly and swim fairly efficiently.

Crows (and all of their genetic relatives) have adapted to be much better at flying than swimming.

Don’t some birds fly and swim?

Some birds, like ducks and puffins, can both fly and swim fairly efficiently.

However, most birds have evolved to be better at one or the other.

Crows, and the entire corvid family, are much better at flying than swimming. 


Crows swim because crows do not have the body structures that water birds have to facilitate swimming. Birds that are adapted to swimming have plump bodies, long necks, short wings, and webbed feet. Avian birds, like crows, have different traits that are better for flight.

Donald Bergeson

I have always been fascinated by the skill, strength, and beauty of birds.They help in maintaining a balance of ecological environment. At Best Bird Guide, I share all of my experiences and discoveries that I have got so far and inspire more devoted fans.

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