Updated at: 20-08-2022 - By: Jane Brody

Even though crows have the reputation of being the most intelligent of all birds. However, they have a well-deserved rep as the avian equivalent of schoolyard bullies. As a result, while they are aggressive, it is only towards those that threaten their young. Crows, on the other hand, never miss an occasion to ridicule their foes.

In other words..

Most crow attacks on hawks are motivated more by petty rivalry than by genuine necessity.

What can you expect to learn from this piece?

  • The mystery of the crow’s swooping attack on the hawk
  • As an explanation for why hawks rarely attack crows,
  • Do corvids bother raptors?
  • If crows have the ability to kill hawks, then yes.

If you want to know more about crows and how they like to tease hawks, then this article is for you.

Do you like it?

Okay, let’s begin!

Why Do Crows Dive Bomb Hawks?

Why Do Crows Chase Hawks

Most likely, they do this because they have the ability to.

See, crows and hawks are natural adversaries.

In fact, crows used to educate their young on how to avoid becoming prey for hawks.

Both species eventually become genetically imprinted on one another.


A crow’s distaste for hawks is genetic, and vice versa, even if the two birds have never met.

However, despite its name, a hawk retains its raptor status and all of the associated hunting impulses.

It can fly faster than 190 kilometers per hour, has strong talons, and a beak that can cut through flesh.

On the other hand, crows are common birds that have conventional feet and pointed bills.

Furthermore, their top speed in flight is 100 km/h.

A consensus exists among ornithologists that:

A crow caught by a hawk is a flying corpse.

Crows, however, are able to reason through the complexity of these situations.

Yet their social order is complicated and distinctive.

They congregate in little communities that make up the greater crow people.

Thus, they will never take on a hawk on their own.

Instead, a flock of crows swoops down from above to drive away a lone hawk.

The crows take turns swooping down from behind and pounce on the hawk.

The crows are making shrill noises and diving at the hawk in an aggressive manner.

Crows are normally peaceful birds, but they become more hostile when their young are threatened.

Crows may even approach the raptor close enough to touch it with their beaks or feet in such a situation.

It is possible that some crows keep hawk feathers as souvenirs.

That being said, crows waste no time poking fun at hawks.

Crows seem to take pleasure in poking fun at their enemies, the humans.

For this reason, crows always make sure to take an active role whenever other birds, like blue jays or starlings, begin a mob attack against hawks.

Have a look at this video of crows attacking a hawk from below!

For what reason, then, would a hawk put up with such shabby treatment from crows?

Another valid inquiry could be

Why Do Hawks Not Retaliate Against Crows?

Why Do Crows Chase Hawks-2

For the most part because hawks have excellent senses of judgment.

A hawk’s “Dorsal Ventricular Ridge” contains some of the most densely packed nerve terminals of any raptor’s brain.

Thus, hawks can determine which wars are doomed to failure.

Hawks are smart enough to know that they can’t fight off more than a couple of crows at a time.

It is therefore difficult to defend oneself against a swarm of crows.

To put it more accurately,

A battle between a hawk and crows is akin to that of a lone assassin taking on a powerful mob.

In this situation, the hawk would be suicidal if it attempted to capture the crows.

Even though it’s not simple, sometimes you just have to face a murder of crows head on.


One crow is a challenging target for any predator.


Reason being that even a common crow is around the size of a medium-sized hawk.

Hawks typically kill their prey by slamming its body with its talons after a daring dive attack.

After snatching its prey, the raptor takes flight.

Conversely, when hawks attack larger prey, such rabbits or gophers, they tend to be unsuccessful.

Therefore, it may be impossible to kill the prey by squeezing it to death.

To kill its victim, a hawk would often perch on it, crushing it with its body and talons.

Hawks will typically strip their prey of fur or feathers to add insult to injury.

But this is easy enough for ground-based hunting.

A hawk may be able to kill a smaller bird, but a crow has too much room for such a fate (as shown in figure 1 below).

A crow sitting on the ground while it sleeps is easy prey, though.


A crow in flight has six possible routes of flight for safety.

Moreover, whereas hawks can dive at speeds of up to 200 kilometers per hour, they lack the precision necessary to maneuver through gusts at lower speeds over shorter distances.

In light of this, most hawks would avoid conflict with crows.


Do Crows Mess with Hawks?

It’s true, but only if they think they can get away with it.

As a rule, a hawk wouldn’t even bat an eye at a flock of swarming crows.

So, if a hawk tried to invade the crows’ domain, the crows would drive it away in a swarm.

Still, if there are hawk chicks in the area, the hawk is not likely to abandon its territory.

In addition, a hawk that is protecting its nest from predators is likely to attack anything larger than itself.

Considering that crows are highly clever creatures that are capable of both tool use and rational thought.

This is why you won’t see a rookery of crows surrounding a hawk’s nest.

In fact, a “No Fly Zone” around a hawk’s nest is so strictly enforced that even crows avoid the area.

Rarely, hawks will still occasionally attack crows even when it is not their nesting season.

This can happen if a hawk is:

  1. is inexperienced or too young
  2. is so starving that the only option it sees is to devour a crow.
  3. Having a partner close by is a plus.
  4. Possesses an abnormally high level of testosterone.
  5. Identifies the crow as being isolated.

In most cases, if a hawk kills a crow, the crow population will respond by trying to eliminate the hawk responsible for the death.

Thus, I arrive at my next point.

Can Crows Kill Hawks?

Why Do Crows Chase Hawks-3

Sure, they can do that.

There’s no denying that hawks are more formidable than crows.

The crows are smart birds, though.

They have the ability to mourn their deceased and hold funeral rites.

Furthermore, they chastise anyone who is caught near a dead crow.

To avenge the killing of one of their own, crows will peck a hawk to death if it kills one of them.

Because of this, no normal raptor would rely on crows as its primary food source.

Most birds of prey would rather not bother with crows because of this.

Owls are the one notable deviation from this norm.

And yet, owls really are the oddballs of the bird kingdom.

There’s no fear at all in them.

So, owls might go looking for crows to eat.

Are crows scared of owls? is a related read.

Regardless, crows will always prioritize protecting their own kind over any potential threat.

It’s reasonable to suppose, given their wit and teasing nature:

A crow may not leave the hatchlings alive if it comes into an unprotected hawk nest, but this does happen very seldom.

Do Crows Chase Hawks?

They do, indeed

Assuming they do it, why?

Just because they can is not an excuse.

Perhaps it’s a statement to potential predatory hawks that “You don’t mess with us”

I mean, crows like to hang out at bird feeders, and hawks aren’t exactly popular in that area.

Can you guess what they’ll do if they saw a hawk now? When they see the hawk, they’re going to give chase.

They aren’t really chasing, but rather behaving in a mob-like fashion.

They will swarm the hawk until he takes flight, at which point they will scatter.

It’s safe to assume that a hawk would rather avoid a confrontation with a crow than a hawk, as the former is sometimes referred to as the “gangsters” of the

Final Words 

Crows may be the smartest birds, but they are also the most aggressive.

Which is why they waste no time in making fun of their opponents.

They have been known to swarm hawks and drive them away.

While most hawks simply keep quiet and put up with it.

A hawk may occasionally change its mind and kill a couple of crows.

As a result, the crows become so aggressive that they eventually kill the raptor with their pecks.

You don’t want to piss off the crows, I take it!

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