Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Pied crow

Corvus albus

(Photo from Animal Picture Archive)

Common name:

Order Passeriformes
Family Corvidae

This African species is found from Senegal to Sudan, northern Ethiopia and Somalia and south to South Africa, only being absent from the dense tropical forests of the Congo basin and from southern Angola and northern Namibia.

These birds are 46-52 cm long and weigh 520 g.

Pied crows are found in savanna woodlands and bushy scrublands, but they are most abundant in farmland, and in urban and suburban areas. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 3.700 m.

These birds are omnivorous, eating fruits, seeds and nectar, but also animals ranging from insects and molluscs to lizards, snakes, rodents, bats and birds.

Pied crows breed September-February. Both sexes build the nest, a large bowl made of twigs, sometimes including bits of wire and lined with fur, dry dung, rags or sheep wool. The nest is usually placed in a vertical fork of a tall tree. There the female lays 4-6 pale-green eggs with brown spots, which she mostly incubates alone for 18-19 days. The chicks are reared by both sexes and fledge 38-45 days.

IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and, although the global population size has not been quantified, the pied crow is described as common to locally abundant, although closely associated with human habitation. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

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