African Pied Crow


ORDER: Passeriformes

FAMILY: Corvidae

GENUS: Corvus

SPECIES: albus

DESCRIPTION:
Smaller than the common crow. Black with a broad white collar across base of hind neck, chest to upper belly white, rest of plumage glossy black. The sexes are alike.

GEOGRAPHICAL RANGE AND HABITAT:
Wide ranging from Senegal across to Somalia and south to the Cape except in rain forests and very hot dry climates. Also on Aldabra, the Comoro Islands and Madagascar. A scavenger species often found in towns and villages in company with the smaller vultures.

DIET:
Omnivorous, will eat anything animal, reptilian or invertebrate as well as fruits, seeds, carrion and garbage.

LIFE CYCLE/SOCIAL STRUCTURE:
Commonly in pairs or small groups. but sometimes gathers in large flocks of hundreds of birds and will circle high in the air on thermals. Both sexes help build the nest which is made of sticks and lined with rags, hair or any suitable soft material and placed either in trees or niches in rocks or on the cross supports of telephone poles. Lays 3 to 6 bluish green eggs which are spotted, blotched or streaked with olive brown or gray. Female incubates and broods the young, but is often fed by the male. Breeds throughout the year.

SPECIAL ADAPTATIONS:
Highly adaptable to many sorts of environments including the human where it scavenges.

INTERPRETIVE INFORMATION:
Its nests are often parasitized by the Great Spotted Cuckoo.

OUR ANIMALS:

STATUS IN WILD:
Not endangered.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

  1. Goodwin, Derek. 1986. Crows of the World, 2nd edition. London, British Museum (Natural History).
  2. Grizmek, Bernhard (ed.). 1973. Grizmek's Animal Encyclopedia, Vol. 3. New York, Van Norstrand.
  3. Mackworth-Praed, C.W. and C.H.B. Grant. 1957. Birds of Eastern and North Eastern Africa, Series 1, Vol. 2. London, Longmans Green.
  4. Mackworth-Praed, C.W. and C.H.B. Grant. 1963. Birds of the Southern Third of Africa, Series 2, Vol. 2. London, Longmans Green.
  5. Madge, Steve and Hilary Burn. 1994 . Crows and Jays: A Guide to the Crows, Jays and Magpies of the World. Boston, Houghton Mifflin Co.

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