The video, which user @keita_simpson shared on June 20, has since received nearly 10 million views, 250,000 likes and 115,000 comments.
Speaking to Newsweek, @keita_simpson said that he was initially shocked at the sight of the creature, since it looked like a “zombie.”
However, after observing the animal for a minute, he then thought it was actually pretty.
“Thank you for giving me a shock this morning,” @keita_simpson wrote in his post. “Bad for the heart.”
As the video made rounds on the internet, Dr. Kaeli Swift, a researcher of corvids — the family of birds including crows — from the University of Washington, shed some light on the creature’s behavior.
According to Swift, the bird is a large-billed crow, which explains why its face is “a little out of proportion.”
There’s a very strange (uncredited) video of crow making the rounds on reddit. Here’s the deal. First, this is a large-billed crow, which is why the face is looking a little out of proportion. pic.twitter.com/LUYuMimvAp
“This bird is not missing its legs and propping itself up with its wings, that would be physically impossible,” Swift continued. “Also, not that it’s relevant to the answer, but a crow without legs couldn’t fly, because it couldn’t generate any lift.”
She added, “Legless crow is a dead crow.”
Second, this bird is not missing its legs and propping itself up with its wings, that would be physically impossible. Also, not that it’s relevant to the answer, but a crow without legs couldn’t fly, because it couldn’t generate any lift. So legless crow is a dead crow.
In any case sunning like this is a common behavior among birds. Sometimes it’s about warming up but a lot of times you’ll see them do it when it’s hot out. In these cases it’s about feather care. Sun exposure can reduce feather degrading bacteria and mites.
Swift also told Newsweek that the crow in the video may actually be a starving adult.
“If you look at the bird’s chest you can see it’s more V shaped than round, that indicates that it is emaciated. Since malnourished or sick birds will droop their wings like that, that could explain the behavior entirely, especially because its mouth isn’t open or its head cocked to one side, which are part of the typical sunning posture as I indicated in my drawings.”
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