House Crow

Corvus splendens
House Crow | Corvus splendens
House Crow  | Corvus splendens
   
House Crow  | Corvus splendens
   
House Crow  | Corvus splendens
   
House Crow  | Corvus splendens
   
House Crow  | Corvus splendens
   
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The Common house crow - or previously known as the Indian house crow - (Corvus splendens) is a glossy black bird, with a grey or grey-brown neck and breast. The bird has a fairly slender body with a medium sized bill – the smallest crow in South Africa. Its bill, legs and feet are black.

The Common house crow is often confused with indigenous species, the pied crow (Corvus albus), the black crow (Corvus capensis) and the white-necked raven (Corvus albicollis).

Additional Info

  • Common Name: Common House Crow
  • Botanical name: Corvus splendens
  • Legal Status: NEMBA Category 1b
  • Where does this species come from?:

    The Common house crow is native to the Indian sub-continent and reached pest status in many countries outside its original distribution range, e.g. Saudi Arabia, Israel, Tanzania, Zanzibar and South Africa. There are three known common house crow populations in South Africa, viz Durban, Richards Bay and Cape Town. House crow introductions to countries outside its native range are believed to be ship-aided. The species is commensal with man and thrives in its introduced countries in the absence of natural enemies.

    The South African populations were possibly introduced from Zanzibar. The species was first recorded in Durban in the early 1970’s, in Cape Town in the 1980’s and in Richards Bay in 2009.

    The Cape Town house crow population is the furthest southern occurrence and is of particular importance as it has the potential to increase its range by spreading to the West Coast of Africa. This concern is supported by the detection of House crows in Walvis Bay in 2010. The probability that the birds arrived in the Walvis Bay harbour via ship from Cape Town is highly likely.

    In its native range, Indian house crow populations are kept in check by the koel cuckoo (Eudynamys scolopaciae) a similar sized bird which lays its eggs in the house crow’s nest. The incubation period of the koel’s eggs is 13-14 days against the host’s 16-17 days. This gives the koel nestling the necessary head start to gradually starve out the house crow nestling.

  • Why is it a problem?:

    House crows are aggressive and opportunistic feeders; they destruct indigenous birds’ nests and eat eggs and nestlings, small birds, small mammals, reptiles and amphibians. Not only do they impact negatively on indigenous fauna, they also plunder agricultural crops and prey on domestic poultry, they are mob and harass humans and domestic pets. House crows pose a threat to human health, as they are intestinal carriers of at least eight human enteric diseases.

     

  • Means of reproduction?:

    House crows are aggressive and opportunistic feeders; they destruct indigenous birds’ nests and eat eggs and nestlings, small birds, small mammals, reptiles and amphibians. Not only do they impact negatively on indigenous fauna, they also plunder agricultural crops and prey on domestic poultry, they are mob and harass humans and domestic pets. House crows pose a threat to human health, as they are intestinal carriers of at least eight human enteric diseases.

     

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