How Fast and High do Crows Fly? [7 facts explained]

How Fast and High do Crows Fly?

Crows are one of the species of birds marked as migratory birds, this means that they fly hundreds of miles moving from one place or continent to another.

How fast and high do crows fly?

The highest-flying recorded crow is the Alpine Chough crow that flew as high as 8,200 m (26,900 ft) recorded in Mt. Everest. The American crow and raven can fly as fast as 30 to 60 miles an hour, and about 70 mph when diving.

Most birds attain great heights either as a survival instinct or in search of food. For instance, the vultures, are able to fly as high as 11,300 meters (37,100 feet). A height that allows them to scan a large area in one central location rather than having to fly over a large area in search of food.

On the other hand common crane fly as high as 10,000 metres (33,000 feet) in order to avoid eagles.

Why do birds or crows Fly high?

The highest-flying bird recorded was a Ruppell’s Griffon that flew to a height of 37,900 feet but unfortunately did not make it since it was sucked and killed by the jet engine.

Avoid predators or in search of prey

Most birds including crows will fly relatively low for the most part of the year, as low as 500 feet. However, during migration, these birds will fly at very great heights.

One of the main reasons that these birds fly high is to avoid their predators or in search of prey. As stated above, the common crane flies at a height of 10,000 meters to avoid eagles in the Himalayas mountains that prey on them.

During migration, predators are normally very active preying on weak birds that cannot make the full journey either due to being tired or because they are sick.

Most birds of prey or other predators will choose a height whereby their preys are most abundant. For instance, most species of swallows will fly at low heights since that where most flies are, the house martins birds on the other hand will fly a bit higher than the swallows to target the midges and aphids.

Hunting at high heights also reduces the number of predators and hence reduces the competition considerably.

Conserve energy

Migratory birds such as the crows fly over a long distance during their migration. As a result, they can easily become exhausted if they fly at low heights where the air is thin and the wind turbulence is quite high.

As a result, they will fly at greater heights where the air is thin, making it easy for the them to fly and use less energy.

Oxygen levels are normally low in the high altitude, however, most birds such as the alpine chough crow can extract oxygen from the thin oxygen-deficient air.

Protecting their nest or territory

There is an articleOpens in a new tab. that talks about a crow that tried to fight a eagle but instead got a free ride. The only instance when a crow will try to persue an eagle is when they are protecting their mates or nest. During such an instance crows will fly higher than their normal flying altitudes.

In search of Nesting

Breeding season is also one of the times that crows are able to fly at great heights. Crows will fly to some of the tallest mountains in the world such as Mt. Everest in search of nesting sites away from their predators such as the eagles.

The Alpine chough crow is the highest recorded flying crow, recorded in the peaks of Mt. Everest. This crow is believed to be the only bird that can nest at a higher altitude than any other bird at about 6,500 m (21,300 ft).

Its eggs are adapted to survive in the thin oxyegn deficient air at high altitudes such as the mountain peaks.

The nesting of the Alpine chough in different habitats

HabitatNesting height
Europe1,260–2,880 metres (4,130–9,450 ft)
Morocco2,880–3,900 m (9,450–12,800 ft)
Himalayas3,500–5,000 m (11,500–16,400 ft)

How far can a crow fly?

When in search of food crows have been known to fly over a long distance especially during winter when food is scarce.

Crows also fly over a considerable long distance when they are migrating to their breeding sites. When foraging for food outside winter and breeding season, crows have been reported to fly as far as 40 miles a day.

Some crows have even been recorded to fly far than the 40 miles a day when in search of food, between their nesting site and their feeding grounds.

How do crows fly?

Crows are not known to fly in a straight line as compared to ravens. Crows normally fly over short distances and then take a rest before continuing.

They do not fly in a straight line but rather fly in circles. They have not been observed to fly in any particular order like the crown birds.

Additionally, crows fly and forage in groups though it is not rare to see a crow flying or foraging alone. Nonetherless, at the end of the day all crows will congregate in one roosting location.

Their roosting sites are either well-lighted on close to the city, this is because owls which is one of their predators are normally active at night and the light allows crows to see the owl.

Can crows fly as high as eagles?

The only crow that can fly as high as eagles is Alpine chough which has been to nest in high altitudes to avoid the eagles from predating on their nestlings.

However, generally most other crows cannot fly as high as eagles or vultures.

Naturally, apart from when they are nesting or migrating crows do not need to fly at high altitudes like vultures of eagles that use this technique to spot and hunt their prey.

Crows being predators and opportunistic feeders do not need to fly that high in search of food.


While crows cannot fly as high as eagles and vultures or fly as fast as the falcon. Some of them can surely fly and nest higher than the eagles. However, their bodies are not designed to deal with the conditions in these high altitudes and will only fly to these altitudes when the situation calls for it.

The only bird that is known to nest in the highest altitude is a crow known as the Alpine Chough.


I run a local pet store, currently, we only sell aquarium fish. However, I am also fascinated by birds, during my free time I go bird watching and visit the local library and use the internet to learn as much as I can about birds. Hope in the future we will start selling pet birds such as Parrots. So that I can put my knowledge about birds into practical use.

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