Do Ravens & Crows Lose Feathers: 7 Facts You Should Know !

Piyali Das

Do Ravens & Crows Lose Feathers: 7 Facts You Should Know !

Molting is a regular phenomenon of shedding or loss of old feathers (for growing new feathers) in birds. Let us find out if ravens and crows lose feathers or not.

Ravens and crows lose feathers at regular intervals. Just like all other birds, it is one of the important physical features of ravens and crows through which they shed damaged feathers and renew their plumage. The loss of feathers during molting is heavily affected by their habitat, food habits, and seasons.

However, in ravens and crows during the molting cycle, all feathers are not shredded at a time so that they can still fly.

What time of year do ravens molt?

The molting process heavily depends on the seasonal changes. Let us find out during what time of the year ravens molt. 

Ravens undergo a complete molt in a year between May to October, it can last up to December. In between this time, most of the feathers are shredded one by one and replaced by new feathers. The new feathers take at least four weeks to grow properly

The molting mainly happens during late summer or the early fall season when the molting of juvenile plumage occurs and they prepare for the winter by growing a completely new plumage.

Why do crows feathers fall out?

Just like all other birds, crows’ feathers also fall out with time. Let us find out the exact reasons why crows feathers fall out.

Crows’ feathers mostly fall out because of the regular molting process. Once a year, most of their feathers are replaced by new feathers after the breeding season so that their old damaged feathers get replaced and new feathers can give them protection from winter and enhance their flying capacity.

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Apart from that, the crow’s feathers can also fall out due to various reasons like climatic changes, poor food habits, parasitic conditions, etc.

Image credit : The Molting crow Scruff by Stephan Sprinz licensed under (CC BY-SA 4.0)

When do crows molt?

The molting timing among the birds varies according to species. Some bird species even show molting twice a year. Let us know when exactly crows molt.

Crows molt during the late summer or early fall season when their breeding and nesting cycle is completed which is mostly between May to November and can last up to December as well. 

The molting process is completed before the winter comes, so that new feathers can protect them from cold as well as support them during migration.

How often do crows molt?

Crows molt once a year just after their breeding and nesting cycle is over. They shed their old feathers and replace them with new feathers before the winter arrives, probably between May the December. 

The molting of feathers in crows takes lot of energy from them so they become less active during this time.

How long do crows Molt?

The crow’s molting takes about 140-180 days in a cycle. The new feathers take 4 to 6 weeks to grow properly. During the time of shedding the crows look dull gray or brown in color. After the new feathers grow they return to their glossy black appearance.


Ravens and crows are one of the most common members of the genus Corvus. Here we discuss the molting timing and the molting behavior of ravens and crows. Hope our article on Do Ravens & Crows Lose Feathers or not will be helpful to you.

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