Species of the week

For this week we have an invasive species: the Indian Crow

 

Scientific name: Corvus splendens
Common name: Indian Crow, Crow houses
Class: Birds
Order: Passeriformes
Diet: omnivores
Average lifetime: 17 years
Size: 40-43cm long and a wingspan of 80cm
Weight: 275-325g
IUCN category: Least Concern


The Indian crow, is originally from Asia, and was spread around the world. Its scientific name means bright raven, referring to the color of their plumage. They have a black beak, black crown, gray chest, black legs, black pupil and gray robe. Males and females have a similar appearance and juveniles are distinguished by having a less bright fuzz. There are regional variations in the thickness and color of the feathers.

In Mozambique it was introduced in the late 60’s in the south (Inhaca Island), and currently is distributed by coastal cities throughout the country, including Pemba, Nacala, Beira, Inhambane, Matola, Maputo.

Social organization

Crows can form flocks together, and are very intolerant to the invasion of its territory.

Reproduction

The breeding season of this species varies according to geographical location. In some places like Asia, the reproductive peak is from April to June, whereas in west Africa is from September to June.

They are considered monogamous, but there in some cases that doesn’t happen. The females lay 3 to 6 eggs in the same range of color and size and incubation time is 17 days.

They build their nests in trees near human habitations and can also be found in buildings and electricity poles. The chicks are fed by parents for 3 weeks, and are sometimes preyed upon by other crows, monkeys, and other animals.

Ecology

This species is associated with human habitations and can be found close to villages, towns and cities.It feeds mainly garbage around human habitations, small invertebrates, small reptiles and mammals, eggs, etc. It is an opportunistic bird, as they can feed on anything and survive with almost everything that is edible.

House-crows-foraging-in-seaweed

They are a prey for potential birds of prey, and can have their nests invaded by monkeys.Economically they are responsible for large losses in farms and are regarded as pests of many crops. They damage electrical cables as their droppings can cause a short circuit in electrical wiring.

Threats to biodiversity

They became an invasive species where they were accidentally introduced, and because of the absence of natural competitors, they can contribute to the reduction of local populations of birds. This is due to intense predation on nests of small birds and to adult birds, rodents, reptiles and other animals, particularly in reproductive times where it becomes aggressive and may even attack people.

Socially, it is known to cause disorders because of its noise, food theft, and tends to dirty sources of water and food, being a potential vector of diseases, not only for humans but also for some animals, especially chickens (Newcastle disease).

Distribution

Being a native of the Asian continent, it is widely distributed in several countries. It was introduced in Africa, Middle East, Europe and in several islands and it is believed that happened by boats and ships.

Threats

The species is quite abundant in their places of occurrence and therefore not considered threatened.

Conservation measures

There are no known measures for the conservation of this species. However, in some countries where it was introduced and is now considered invasive, several methods have been used to control or eradicate the same.

 Curiosities

  • Crows take and “ant bath”, it is believed that they do it because the ants have an insecticidal and fungicidal action in the body of the bird. Others say that the secretion of ants help when birds lose feathers.
  • They represented the reincarnation of evil in Europe, and in mythology are often seen as bearers of bad news due to its black plumage and scavenger’s habits.

Sources

http://www.verdade.co.mz/ambiente/48086-corvo-indiano-invade-e-ameaca-cidades-mocambicanas-

http://www.arkive.org/house-crow/corvus-splendens/

http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/22705938/0

http://www.cabi.org/isc/datasheet/15463https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_crow