Pied Crow

Location

In the Zoo

Scientific Information

Scientific Name: Corvus albus
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Corvidae
Genus: Corvidae

Size

Male

Female

Height: 18-20 inches 18-20 inches
Wingspan: 33-38 inches 33-38 inches
Weight: 1.2 pounds 1.2 pounds
Maturity:

Lifestyle and Lifespan

Diet: Omnivorous
Activity Timeframe: Diurnal
Interactivity: Social
Sexual Dimorphism: No
Gestation: 18-19 days
Lifespan in the Wild: 6-10 years
Lifespan in Captivity: up to 20 years

Geographic Range

Found in Africa, from Senegal to Sudan, south all the way to the Cape, except for rainforests and very hot, dry desert regions. It is also found on Aldabra Island, Madagascar, and the Comoro Islands.

Conservation

Status in the Wild: Least Concerned
Threats:

Characteristics

Black with broad white collar across the base of the back of the neck, chest to upper belly is white, and the rest of the body is glossy black. Black bill and legs. Smaller than a Common Crow.

Species Specifics

The Pied Crow might be confused with another corvid, the White-necked Raven, Corvus albicollis, which also is native to Africa and has an overlapping range with the Pied Crow. The Pied Crow is a little smaller than the White-necked Raven, which is native to eastern and southern Africa. The Pied Crow also has that distinctive white chest and belly, whereas the White-necked Raven only has a white band on the back of its neck. The White-necked Raven has a thicker bill.

Physical Characteristics

The thick, robust bill of the Pied Crow allows it to eat a wide variety of food.

Ecology

Habitat

Open country, open mountain meadows, savanna woodland, shrubland, farms, villages, urban, and suburban areas.

Distribution

The global population size has not been quantified, and the species is thought to be stable, common and locally abundant. The Pied Crow has adapted well to human habitation and will live in urban, suburban, and agricultural areas.

Diet

Pied Crows eat insects, small vertebrates, eggs, seeds, carrion, fruit, and garbage.

Ecological Web

Since the Pied Crow's diet is variable, it performs many roles in its habitat. It can help keep the habitat clean by scavenging and eating carrion, or help in keeping prey populations stable. It is a host for the brood parasite Great Spotted Cuckoo, which lays its eggs in other birds' nests. It is prey to raptors such as owls and hawks and eagles.

Activity and Behavior

Activity Pattern

The Pied Crow forages during the day.

Behavior

Crows, ravens, and other corvids are extremely smart, and will use tools to get food!

Social Behavior

The Pied Crow is often seen in pairs or small groups. At times, many individuals will flock together and circle in the air on thermals.

Reproductive Behavior

Pied Crows breed throughout the year. Both sexes make a bowl-like nest, which is made with twigs, vegetation, and lined with soft materials found nearby. The nest is located in a fork in a tall tree, or on manmade structures such as the top of a telegraph pole. An average of 4-5 eggs are laid and while the female incubates, the male brings her food.

Offspring

Anywhere from 1-7, though usually 4-5, pale green-blue eggs are laid. They are incubated for 18-19 days, and after hatching, both parents care for the offspring. The chicks fledge approximately 43 days after hatching.

Conservation

Status

Listed as Least Concern (2013) on the IUCN, and is not listed on the CITES appendices.

Historical

Not much is known historical information is known on the Pied Crow.

Current Threats

Our Role

Exhibit and educate

How You Can Help

Crows and ravens in general adapt very well to urban environments, and will look through trash and landfills for food. You can help urban wildlife by making sure you sort trash, compostables, and recycling and put them in the appropriate bins.

Fascinating Facts

The 'pied' part of the Pied Crow's name comes from the black and white coloration of the plumage.

Pied Crows (as well as many other corvids) are known for mobbing and harassing large birds of prey to keep it away from their nest.

The Pied Crow can hybridize with another African corvid, the Somali Crow, or Dwarf Raven, where their ranges overlap.

The Pied Crow is Africa's most widespread corvid.

References

http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/22735894/0

https://www.beautyofbirds.com/piedcrows.html

http://www.rosamondgiffordzoo.org/assets/uploads/animals/pdf/AfricanPiedCrow.pdf

http://www.biodiversityexplorer.org/birds/corvidae/corvus_albus.htm

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