How do crows attract mates? Do crows have a mating call?
Yes, the Crows are known to sing softly during the time they want to attract mates. The male crow will try its best to impress the female.
They show a wide variety of courtship rituals that includes a wide variety of communications, enabling crows to signal their willingness to mate.
Every crow will have its unique way to approach its mate and show various behavioural patterns to impress its mate.
Courtship rituals are just as diverse as the individual bird. The male uses various gestures to understand the female and impress her showcasing its best of the best features.
The gestures and behavioural patterns of the male include gymnastic feats of flight, bringing gifts of food for the female, and dance performances.
The male will also produce mating songs by singing softly with a rich mix of soft cooing, cawing, rattles, growls, and with bowing movements.
The male will also try to rub or push against gently with the nose and mouth towards the mouth and nose of the female. That’s called nuzzling.
And, if both the male and female are on the ground then the male bird will show a courtship display by facing the female and fluffing his body feathers.
Then he partially spreads his wings and tail and proceeds to bow repeatedly while uttering a brief rattling song.
In order to impress the females, the male can also make deep dives off the steep cliffs, while steadily flying to the ground swooping up as close to the ground as possible while a female intently watches.
Once she is impressed by a male, the elaborate courtship continues mutually, so they get to know each other better before mating.
Then they both can be observed in joy flights, tumbling and soaring, even locking toes and mimicking each other in the mid-air.
How do crows mate and reproduce?
As soon as the female crow gets thoroughly impressed by the male crow then they both perform mutual courtship behaviours and gestures towards each other.
They are seen to go for kind of wild dates by flying together, stroking their beaks lovingly, preening on one another, and cooing soothing comfort sounds towards each other.
That’s the romance they do during their wild love dates! And soon, within a day after courtship rituals they will mate with each other.
The male crows don’t have external penis. And, both the female and male crows have cloaca.
The cloaca is the posterior orifice of birds that serves as the only opening for the digestive, reproductive, and urinary tracts (if present), opening at the vent, at the posterior side of the body.
During mating, they both will rub their cloacas together for about 7 to 15 seconds during which the male’s sperm gets transferred inside the female’s cloaca. This action is also known as cloacal-kiss.
During this act of cloacal-kiss, male sperms are ejected into the female reproductive tract which travels up to fertilize the egg.
Soon, the sperms will find its way towards the unfertilized ovum (egg) present inside the reproductive tract of the female and will fertilize it. Thus, the fertilization (fusion of male sperm and female ovum) is internal.
Days after fertilization, the female will lay around 3 to 9 eggs in the nest. The development of the chicks is external and takes place outside the body of the female and inside the eggs.
Both the mother and father, mostly the mother, is responsible for seating above the eggs for giving warmth to the eggs and incubate it.
So, soon after the incubation of the eggs those will take about 20-40 days to hatch.
As the chicks are hatched out of the eggs they will remain in the nest for around 28-35 days. It is common for youngsters to leave the nest before they are able to fly and they can spend up to several days on the ground.
Do crows mate for life?
A majority of the crow species studied so far are known to mate for life. They are very social creatures and are often seen living in groups helping each other.
Like a lot of intelligent animals, most crows are quite social birds. For instance, American crows spend most of the year living in pairs in small family groups and they usually mate for life.
They remain loyal and stay with their respective mates year after year until and unless the mate is killed or it becomes incapable of mating any more.
In the young immature crows, it has been seen that the pairs break up very often. This happens because the young pair of birds that mated were unsuccessful to reproduce offsprings.
So, in such a case, they might break-up their bond and will try again to breed mating with someone else.
If they get a partner that is healthy, dominant, caring, protective, and is good enough to successfully mate and breed then they will mate for life. That’s what is seen in the majority of the crow species.
And it is also to be noted that most of the young crows will leave their parents permanently while many will remain with their parents for years.
Like the American crows, they never chase away their offspring, and the young may remain at the nest for years.
During the two years time period when they are not reproductively active, they help their parents raise young that is their newly hatched sisters and bothers.
They are so social that they help feed the incubating female, feed their newly-hatched brothers and sisters, and they will also defend their territory and the nest.
How often do crows mate?
Mature crows are known to mate every year. They do generally mate during their breeding season every year and can lay around 3 to 9 eggs during their breeding season.
Their main breeding season is from March or April to August months in a year.
The Indian crows and many other crow species are known to have a secondary breeding season between October to December months of the year in some areas.
So, some crows mostly the residential ones in the warmer regions that don’t migrate are also known to mate and lay eggs two times in a year i.e. both between March to August and October to December.
Two time mating in a year is not always the rule, but one time mating every year is a rule followed by the reproductively mature adult pairs.
Those residential individuals in pairs in a population are only seen mating two times in a year if they both are reproductively very active and healthy to breed and lay eggs.
So, two times breeding in a year is not always the rule with every crows in a population.
It has been seen that each of the mating pairs (mother and father crow) can form large families of up to 15 to 20 individuals from several breeding seasons. The pair can remain with their young together for many years.