Updated at: 22-08-2022 - By: Jane Brody

Crows are huge birds with average heights and weights.

They can use the thermals or rising air currents to steer thanks to the thickness and breadth of their feathers.

In the same way that raptors can soar thousands of feet into the air, a crow can do the same thing.

However, most crows are limited in their flight to altitudes between 250 and 3000 feet above ground.

This article will teach you about the following topics:

  • How far can a crow fly?
  • Maximum altitude at which a crow may soar
  • Is it possible for an eagle to soar above a crow’s head?

Therefore, if you are fascinated by crows and their incredible flying abilities, you will enjoy this post very much.

That fine with you?

Okay, so let’s begin!

Can Crows Fly High?

How High Can A Crow Fly

A crow may theoretically fly thousands of miles above ground.

An typical crow has a weight of about 500g and a wingspan of about 70cm.

The size of a crow’s wings and overall body is similar to that of the tiniest hawks.

It’s not just other birds that can take use of thermals, or rising air currents.

But thermals can only be used at specific times and locations.

Thus, crows also use circling and gliding to travel great distances.

As a rule, crows won’t do that.

Most crows use a flight pattern quite similar to that of a parrot, with plenty of fluttering.

And so,

Crows rarely fly higher than 250 feet above ground.

The explanations behind this are as follows.

1. Head To Body Ratio

Raptors often have huge bodies and small heads.

In contrast, corvids’ heads are disproportionately huge to the rest of their bodies.

It is believed by ornithologists that crows’ enlarged brains are the result of this adaptation.

This suggests that crows have a higher rate of air resistance than hawks because their bodies are less aerodynamic.

This is also why raptor diving speeds are so much higher than crow diving speeds.

When diving, the American Crow may reach speeds of up to 40 miles per hour.

While doing so, a sparrowhawk can change its shape into a teardrop and reach dive speeds of more than 130 miles per hour.

2. Wing Arrangement And Flight Method 

Crows’ wing structure is intermediate between that of hawks and parrots.

This means that a crow is capable of both flapping its wings and soaring.

Most people today believe that parrots generate tremendous air pressure under their wings by flapping their feathers.

That’s why they can take off with little more than a shift in atmospheric pressure.

However, parrots may alter the density of their feathers to create a sweeping motion, thus the statement is only half accurate.

As a result, a parrot may sweep more air below with each downward stroke because it concentrates the power of its wings.

Back-pull from upward strokes stretches feathers and decreases air particles above the wings.

Energy can be conserved by this form of flapping.

A crow, like a parrot, can flutter to regulate the spread of its wings and save energy.

However, a crow’s wings are considerably heavier than those of a typical parrot.

Furthermore, the configuration of a crow’s wings is very similar to that of raptors.

A crow, like a hawk, may use air currents to propel itself through the sky.

For the reason that their wings resemble those of both parrots and raptors.

So crows are dabblers at everything but experts at nothing.

Because of this, crows can’t take to the skies like raptors or flutter around like parrots.

3. High Altitude Pressure

When traveling to higher altitudes, the air pressure decreases, making it more difficult to breathe.

An effective respiratory system is essential for a bird’s ability to fly at great altitudes.

Specifically, a Griffon Vulture may soar up to 37,000 feet in the air.

They have the ability to deliberately lower their metabolic rate, cutting their oxygen use in half.

And their lungs are really effective at doing their job.

Swans, on the other hand, are tolerant of shifts in blood pH.

They are able to survive at high elevations because their blood cells are able to bind more oxygen.

Crows, on the other hand, aren’t equipped to handle the reduced air pressure found deep underground.

A crow may have the ability to soar to great heights, but it will eventually become dizzy and possibly pass out if it does so for too long.

4. Thermoregulation

As one climbs to higher elevations, the temperature drops, and it may even drop below freezing.

That’s why controlling one’s core temperature is so important.

The ability to save body heat is crucial for any bird that plans on reaching high altitudes.

High-altitude avian species typically don’t venture farther than 10,000 feet above ground.

Most birds probably never fly higher than 15,000 feet unless they happen to be migrating across a mountain range, according to ornithologists.

A vulture or swan, for example, can simply tuck its head inside its body to keep warm.

In contrast, crows aren’t particularly good at retaining body heat.

It seems possible that a crow would perish if it attempted to fly at altitudes more than 20,000 feet.

5. Water Retention

Being that clouds are formed when water vapor cools and condenses at high altitudes.

Because of this, the air is relatively dry, and breathing at such altitudes often removes more water molecules than normal.


Flying at high altitude puts a bird at risk for dehydration.

Cranes, like several other birds, can float on thermals while having almost half of their brains shut down.

This slows their respiration and makes it harder for them to expel water.

However, crows are unable to tolerate such dehydration and will get excessively thirsty.

6. Average Senses

The senses of sight, smell, and hearing are all highly developed in many raptors.

To better spot their prey, birds of prey need to be able to survey a larger area from above.

Crows, on the other hand, are really ordinary birds with moderate intelligence.

Crows, in fact, rely on one another more than on their senses.

Therefore, crows wouldn’t benefit much from being able to fly very high.

They probably can’t see very well at high altitudes.

7. Lack Of Motivation

A crow would not go high in the air even if it had the physical capabilities to do so.


As with most animals, hunger is the primary motivation for crows, and the food they eat tends to be quite earthy.

I mean that literally.

Crows, it turns out, are omnivores.

Anything from fresh produce to worms and insects is fair game for them.

Even a dead animal can be used for food by these people.

That’s why crows can find food without having to fly very high.

Crows have poking bills, but that’s about it for their defense mechanisms.

This is why most of them choose to remain within their supportive families.

If crows avoid high altitudes, they reduce the risk of being attacked by raptors.

A falcon, for instance, is so fast that it can catch crows in midair.

And any raptor would do well to eat a few crows.

Taking this into account, you may be wondering:

What Is The Highest Altitude a Crow Can Fly?

How High Can A Crow Fly-3

The highest altitude at which a crow has flown in recorded history is around 7,500 feet.

Nowadays, a crow’s typical altitude is only about 100 feet above earth.

This allows them to forage with ease and to take refuge in the trees when danger threatens.

Crows in cities may fly between 500 and 1500 feet above ground.

This is mostly due to the fact that thermal flight results in more energy conservation than does simple flapping.

A flock of migrating crows, on the other hand, would float at a height of roughly 3,000 feet.

Because crows can increase their speed and range by riding thermals and tailwinds, this is the case.

Only if crossing mountain passes can a crow safely fly higher than 6,000 feet.

However, environmental changes are causing the air and water currents to shift.

As a result, it is difficult to predict the crows’ route choice.

The crows that previously stayed within a hundred feet of the ground may now be spotted at greater heights.

However, a local crow is not likely to fly higher than a thousand feet.

You may be wondering if crows can chase a raptor while gliding if you know that crows regularly mob out raptors.


Can An Eagle Fly Higher Than a Crow?

Sure, that’s possible.

Now, what determines a bird’s altitude performance is:


  • the span of its wings.
  • Those feathers’ form and configuration are stunning.
  • the size and shape of its body.
  • The ability to adapt to high altitudes.
  • Specifically, where it lives and what it eats.

However, ornithologists still use a bird’s wing span as a proxy for its flying altitude.

These days, an adult eagle can weigh up to 6 kg and have a wing span of almost 2 m.

However, even the largest crow has a weight limit of 1.5 kilograms and a maximum wing span of 1 meter.

Based on their respective wingspans, an eagle can theoretically soar twice as high as a crow.

The typical eagle can soar more than 10,000 feet above sea level.

Eagles may dodge thunderstorms by flying far above them, according to some research.

When surrounded by a flock of crows, an eagle will typically take to the air and soar above the crows rather than swerve to the side.

Wrapping Up

Usually, a crow won’t soar more than a thousand feet above the ground.

During migration, however, it can travel to altitudes of 5,000 feet.

Still, occurrences like this are unusual at best.

Because crows don’t have the respiratory or thermoregulatory adaptations necessary to live in such extreme environments.

Crows can find food without having to travel at great altitudes.

They usually turn to relatives for help in the food-finding process.

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