Do crows eat dead animals?

Yes. Crows can eat dead animals. Crows belong to the group of carrion birds. They are famous for being scavengers and dead animal eaters.

Aside from plant-based food and hunting live prey, crows also tend to go for dead animals if they sense one.

Now you may be wondering what carrion means and what does it mean to be a carrion bird.

Let’s get on to it.

What does carrion mean?

Carrion is the decaying or rotting flesh of an animal.

These are carcasses that serve as food for both carnivore and omnivore animals.

Remember: Not all dead bodies of animals are carrions. To be considered carrion, the animal should not have been killed by the same animal eating it. Instead, it must have died from another cause.

Here are the familiar sources of carrion:

Animals killed by other predators

This type of carrion happens when a predator kills a particular animal and leaves it upon feeding. The remains serve as food for crows and other birds to eat.

Hunted animals discarded by hunters

There are internal organs or unwanted parts of a hunted animal left behind by hunters. Thus, carrion birds such as crows will feed on it.

Roadkills or Animals killed by vehicles

Crows are famous for devouring on roadkills. Roadkills are animals that died due to vehicular incidents. It can occur from highways and interstates up until the dirt track back roads.

Animals that died of accidents

Accidental deaths such as window collisions, net tangles, and others can cause carrions. Crows also feed on this.

Animals that died naturally

These are animals that die of old age, disease, injuries, and other similar causes. They can also feed on carrion.

Stranded Animals

Some animals are getting stranded on beaches. Usually dying from starvation, they become feed for crows and other carrion animals.

Now you may be asking:

Are crows carrion birds?

Carrion birds are simply a group of birds whose diet includes the meat of dead animals. These birds are also known as birds of prey.

While crows are not birds of prey, they are still carrion birds because they eat dead animals.

Usually, crows are like smaller birds when feeding, tending to flock on a carcass.

Their large number can help them repel other predators from taking over the dead animal.

If they are eating alone or only in pairs, crows tend to eat in bulk.

They store the meat and flee to digest somewhere safe.

Why do crows eat dead animals?

Crows have a different digestive system that helps them in eating dead animals.

While carrion consumption may not fit humans, crows have better tolerance for old meat than other carrion birds.

In most cases, the older the dead animal is, the tastier it will be for crows and other birds. It is because, as the meat ages, it becomes softer and more comfortable to consume.

While dead animals are a natural source of food for crows and other carrion birds, they come with risks as well.

Dangers of eating dead animals

These dangers depend on the cause and the duration of the animal’s death.

Among the hazards include:

  • Disease transmission through excessive bacteria
  • Contamination from the previous carrion-eaters
  • Poison from the lead if the animal died from hunters
  • Contamination with pesticides
  • Possible attacks by other predators drawn by the scent of the dead animal
  • Possible vehicle collision when feeding on roadways

Crows, like other carrion birds, can adapt and deal with these dangers.

Carrion birds have more potent stomach acids, helping them in killing many disease-causing bacteria.

Crows and other carrion birds can’t detect lead and other toxins in a dead animal. Thus, it is ideal for hunters to switch to non-lead ammunition to help reduce these threats.

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Are crows attracted to dead bodies?

Dead bodies do attract crows as well as other carrion birds.

In a way, you can compare it to a shark sensing the blood of its prey in the waters.

Crows are probably sensitive to these compounds. Further, they may detect carrion through scent or sight.

Why do crows come when someone dies?

By this question, you may be thinking of the funeral of crows.

Unlike other birds, crows are intelligent and super chatty. Aside from that, that has the characteristic of watching out for one another.

As adults, crows are pretty hard to kill, so when one dies, the others notice. That’s when they come and hold a funeral.

Crows do gather around a dead animal, simply because they would feed on it.

But, when another crow dies, they gather for a very different reason.

The crow funeral is their way of learning the dangers surrounding them within the group’s safety.

They study how that particular crow dies and will alarm other crows for their safety.

Further, they can even study the cause of death and remember it.

If that crow died because of a particular person, they will remember the face and never forget.

Smart, right?

Do crows remember you?

Crows do remember faces.

While they can be friendly to those who are kind to them, they can be quite vengeful to those who kill a family member.

A specific study states:

The common crow knows when you’re out to get him — and he’s likely to teach his friends and family to watch out for you.


There are studies to see the crows’ reactions towards those who do good to them and those who pose dangers.

Studies already proved that crows become wary of a particular place person once they sense some sort of danger.

Do other birds eat dead animals?

Yes, other birds eat dead animals.

While not every bird does, there is a specific group of birds that prefer dead animals for their diet.

Aside from crows, these birds are:

  • Vultures, buzzards, and condors
  • Caracaras
  • Eagles, hawks, and other birds of prey
  • Ravens, and other large corvids
  • Gulls, skuas, and terns


  • Crows eat dead animals. They belong to the group of carrion birds known for being scavengers and dead animal eaters.
  • Carrion is the decaying or rotting flesh on a dead animal. It often serves as a food source to crows and other carrion birds.
  • Crows are attracted to dead animals and will feed on them either solo, in pairs or flocks.
  • Crows gather around a dead animal for food. But, if another crow dies, they gather around to know the cause of death and to alarm other crows about it.
  • Unlike humans, crows and other carrion birds have a high tolerance for dead animals. Their digestive system can suppress possible poisoning and contamination. Thus, they can eat dead animals with lesser risk.
  • Crows remember faces, especially those who pose threats and dangers to them. They also alarm other crows to protect them from harm.
  • Aside from crows, other birds include dead animals in their diet.

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