Definitions

House Crow

House Crow

The House Crow (Corvus splendens), also known as the Colombo Crow is a common Asian bird of the Crow family. It is between the Jackdaw and the Carrion Crow in size (40 cm in length) but is relatively slimmer than either. The forehead, crown, throat and upper breast are a richly glossed black, whilst the neck and breast are a lighter grey-brown in colour. The wings, tail and legs are black. There are regional variations in the thickness of the bill and the depth of colour in areas of the plumage.

Distribution and habitat

It has a widespread distribution in southern Asia, being native to Nepal, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Laccadive Islands, South West Thailand and coastal southern Iran. It has been introduced to East Africa around Zanzibar (around 1897) and Port Sudan, and arrived in Australia via ship but has up to now been exterminated. Recently it has made its arrival in Europe, and has been breeding in the Hook of Holland since 1998. It is associated with human settlements in all of its range, from small villages to large cities.

Due to a human population explosion in the areas it inhabits, this species has also proportionately multiplied. Being an omnivorous scavenger has enabled it to thrive in such circumstances.

The invasive potential for the species is great all over the tropics. It has as yet not established in the New World. This species is able to make use of resources with great flexibility and appears to be associated with humans and no populations are known to exist independently of humans.

Behaviour

House Crow eggs I IMG 1890.jpg

Diet

It feeds largely on human scraps, small reptiles and other animals such as insects and other small invertebrates, eggs, nestlings, grain and fruits. Most food is taken from the ground, but also from trees as opportunity arises. It is a highly opportunistic bird and given its omnivorous diet, it can survive on nearly anything that is edible.

Nesting

At least some trees in the local environment seem to be necessary for its successful breeding. It lays 3-6 eggs in a typical stick nest, and occasionally there are several nests in the same tree. In South Asia they are parasitized by the Asian Koel.

Voice

The voice is a harsh caaa-caaa.

Relationship to humans

It is suspected that paramyxoviruses, such as PMV 1 that causes of Newcastle disease may be spread by Corvus splendens. Outbreaks in India of Newcastle disease were often preceded by mortality in crows.

Crows in Tanzania curiously showed absence of blood parasites is of interest. Trypanosoma corvi was first noted in this species.

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