Crows Are Nearly As Smart as Human Children - Crow Intelligence Explained

When someone calls you a “birdbrain,” you instantly know what they mean. 

But are birds really as stupid as people think? 

While it’s true that many bird species are rather unintelligent, several studies have shown remarkable intelligence in some of the most common birds you might see. 

For example, some studies suggest that crows possess nearly as much intelligence as a 7 year old! This means that your average crow is more smart than a dog or cat. 

In today’s post, we will discuss 3 ways that crows are vastly more intelligent than you might expect. 

Check out the fascinating video version of this post by clicking HERE! 

You can also download the audio-only podcast by clicking the download button above. 

Fact #1: Crows Are Excellent Problem Solvers 

You might think that humans and other primates are the only animals who can understand cause-and-effect relationships. 

For the most part, this assumption is true. But as we’ve previously seen with raccoons, some animals have developed the remarkable ability to understand how one event causes another.  

Crows, for example, have been known to understand water displacement. 

In study after study, when crows are trying to obtain a piece of food floating outside their reach in a container of water, they quickly learn to drop a rock in the container to raise the water level and grab the food. 

Additionally, studies have shown that crows don’t plan these behaviors beforehand… They actually figure them out on the spot! 

The problem solving ability of crows allows them to reach food that other animals might simply give up on. In fact, this level of problem solving is akin to the intelligence of a seven-year-old human child! 

Some crows in the United States and Japan have even been seen placing nuts with hard outer shells into the street, so cars will run them over and crack open the nuts for them! Talk about clever! 

In fact, it’s thought that crows may be the most clever non-human animals, including other primates! 

Fact #2: Crows Are Very Inventive 

Now we know that crows can deduce causal relationships, but their inventiveness doesn’t stop there! 

Some crows have even been seen crafting tools for themselves! 

In an Oxford study, students were shocked to witness a crow easily bend a wire from her cage into the shape of a hook, which she used to obtain a piece of meat that was too far down a shaft for her to reach. 

These crows are the only non-human animals on Earth who actually “create” tools from items they find in nature. Other tool users, like chimpanzees, simply use rocks to crack open shells - but they don’t manipulate them beyond that. 

Not only are crows clever, but they are creative as well! 

Fact #3: Crows Are Social Learners 

But how useful are cleverness and creativity if you don’t have a good memory? 

Fortunately, crows don’t have to worry about this either! 

As demonstrated in a University of Washington study, crows have the astounding ability to actually remember human faces that they associate with traumatic events, for up to five years! 

Volunteers for the study wore exaggerated masks before trapping and releasing several crows. Naturally, the nearby crows became defensive. 

Interestingly, a few years after this initial event, any human who entered the crows’ domain while wearing the mask was met with aggressive flapping and cawing. 

A full five years after the first trapping, nearly the entire murder of crows responded negatively to the mask. This indicates that the crows actually spread the news to one another! 

This is because crows are social learners. When young crows witnessed their parents squawking at humans wearing the mask, they learn that they should show aggression to the mask. 

Even without a spoken language, these birds are able to communicate complex messages and retain information for much longer than most animals can. 

Worried About a Bird Infestation? 

Crows and other birds can ravage your home, make a mess, and leave behind dangerous diseases. Now that you know some of these birds are actually very smart, you may want to take extra care to keep them off your property. 

Don’t put your property or family at risk of an infestation. 

Please contact us at 855-WILDLIFE or visit for more information. 

Thanks for reading! 
-Wildlife x Team International 

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