Pied Crow

Pied Crow

Kingdom Class Order Family Phylum Species
Animalia Aves Passeriformes Corvidae Chordata Corvus albus

Pied crows (Corvus albus) are widely distributed African birds. They are highly intelligent and opportunistic and share the Jackdaw‘s fascination with shiny objects. They also possess a unique flight form thanks to their large, powerful wings. They use tools, are very good mimics, and are curious.

Pied Crow

Pied Crow’s Physical Characteristics

Pied Crow Physical Characteristics

The ‘pied’ part of the name of the pied crow refers to its black and white coloring.

  • From a distance, the neck, head, and top of the breast appear black, but they are a glossy blueish-purple up close.
  • Long and distinctive, the black throat feathers are distinctive. The remaining black portions of the bird’s plumage are less glossy than those on the head, which include the lower belly and back, upper tail coverts, and vent on the underparts.
  • The wings and tail are black with a blueish-purple gloss.
  • Strong white markings on the body’s sides, breasts, and collar of the upper mantle contrast sharply with the rest of the bird’s black plumage.
  • The legs, feet, and bill are all black, and the eyes are dark brown. Long and slightly hooked, the bill is. There are no distinguishing characteristics between the plumage of the sexes.

Pied Crows are quite Aggressive

Pied Crows Are Quite Aggressive

Pied Crows act similarly to both hooded and carrion crows in their behavior.

  • They have a bad reputation for raiding nests to steal eggs and nestlings and harassing much larger birds like ospreys and snake eagles.
  • Most of the time, these birds are found in pairs or small groups, but many birds can be found with a plentiful food source.
  • According to those mentioned above, one could say that some of their behavior towards other birds is aggressive. Like the majority of wild birds, they hardly ever interact with people.

What Do Pied Crows Eat?

What Do Pied Crows Eat

It’s probably easier to list what Pied Crows don’t eat since they are omnivores and have a diverse diet!

  • They consume all varieties of invertebrates, such as grasshoppers, termites, locusts, spiders, and beetles. In addition, they have a reputation for eating frogs, small birds, fish, rodents, and lizards.
  • They also possess the impressive capacity to catch locusts, bats, and small birds in the air. Also occasionally preyed upon are roosting fruit bats.
  • The pied crow’s diet depends on its habitat, as birds in the south prefer vegetable foods like seeds, fruits, and roots. These crows can be seen scavenging near garbage cans and dumps and by the roadside in search of any carrion.
  • Additionally, they will pursue bushfires to catch escaping insects. Pied crows have been observed dropping stones from a distance to crack the shells of common ostrich eggs.
  • They typically forage in pairs or small groups and obtain most of their food from the ground. Where a lot of food is available, there are occasionally large flocks to be seen.

Suggested Reading:

What Do Crows Eat?

What Do Crows Eat?

Explore what do crows eat by their types and what eats crows. Crows diet may include small mammals, fishes, amphibians, reptiles, insects, seeds, nuts, & more.

Pied Crows are Intelligent in their approach

Pied Crows Are Intelligent

Like many other crow species, the pied crow is an extremely intelligent bird.

  • Recent research has revealed that some species of a crow can make tools and solve complex problems at a level comparable to great apes.
  • They can copy sounds and even words with amazing precision. They are naturally social birds, and their high level of intelligence also gives them access to their capacity for mischief.
  • Most things they can get their beaks on can be manipulated and destroyed by them easily.

Pied Crows can also save their food for later life

Pied Crows Save Food

Pied Crows don’t simply scatter extra food around. When there is abundant food, they store it for later use in caches.

  • Pied Crows bury food in various locations or conceal it in objects like leaves. When they become hungry, they return to their food caching locations and get the food.
  • Pied crows would frequently mark their favorite hiding places with markers so they would remember where they had hidden their food. They occasionally move the stored food because they know thieves might take it.

Thus, the Pied crow is an extremely adaptable black-and-white crow found throughout most of sub-Saharan Africa.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there pied crows in the US?

are there pied crows in the us?

The Pied Crow is a widely distributed African Bird Species in the crow genus. It is not native[1] to the United States. While a Pied Crow can be spotted in the US, such as in zoos or as an escaped pet, they are not naturally occurring or established in the wild in the United States.

Where can you spot pied crows?

where can you spot pied crows?

These black birds are naturally found in Sub-Saharan Africa, specifically Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea, Zambia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe down to the Cape of Good Hope and on the large island of Madagascar, the Comoros islands, Aldabra, Assumption Island, Cosmoledo, Astove Island, Zanzibar, Pemba, and Fernando Po. However, it does not occur in the equatorial rainforest region. It is rarely seen very far from human habitation[2].

Do pied crows make good pets?

do pied crows make good pets?

Keeping a Pied Crow, or any crow species, as a pet is generally not recommended for several reasons:

  • Legal Restrictions: In many places, it’s illegal to keep native bird species as pets without a special permit. In the United States, for example, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act makes it illegal to possess, transport, buy, sell, or export any migratory bird, or the parts, nests, or eggs of such a bird except under the terms of a valid permit. While Pied Crows are not native to the U. S., there may still be restrictions on keeping them as pets[3].
  • Specialized Care: Crows are intelligent, social animals that require a lot of mental stimulation and social interaction. They also have a varied diet in the wild; replicating this in a home setting can be challenging. They need a lot of space to fly and exercise, which can be difficult to provide in a typical home.
  • Long Lifespan: Crows can live for 20 years or more, a long-term commitment for a pet.
  • Potential Damage: Crows are curious and like to explore their environment, which can lead to them damaging household items.
  • Noise: Crows can be very loud, which might be disruptive at home.
  • Wild Instincts: Even if raised in captivity, crows are still wild animals with natural instincts that can make them unsuitable as pets.

If you want to interact with crows, consider setting up a bird-friendly backyard with feeders and baths to attract them. You can enjoy watching their behaviors without the responsibilities and potential issues of keeping them as pets. Consider volunteering at a local wildlife rehabilitation center to work more closely with birds.

Are there pied crows in the UK?

are there pied crows in the uk?

The Pied Crow is native to Africa and is not naturally found in the United Kingdom.

Are pied crows rare?

Are pied crows rare?

The Pied Crow is not considered rare. In fact, it is one of Africa’s most widespread members of the crow genus. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN[4]), the Pied Crow is listed as a species of “Least Concern” due to its large range and population size.

These birds are adaptable and can be found in various habitats, including open country, cities, towns, and villages. They are rarely seen very far from human habitation. However, they are not native to other continents like North America or Europe, so seeing one in these regions would be unusual.

Is a pied crow a raven?

Is Pied Crow a Raven?

While the Pied Crow is part of the same family as ravens (Corvidae), it is not a raven. The Pied Crow is a species of crow. However, structurally, the Pied Crow is often considered a small crow-sized raven, especially as it can hybridize with the Somali Crow (also known as the Dwarf Raven), where their ranges meet in the Horn of Africa.

The Corvidae family includes crows, ravens, rooks, jackdaws, jays, magpies, treepies, choughs, and nutcrackers. While these birds share many similarities, there are also key differences, such as size, behavior, and habitat. Ravens, for example, are generally larger than crows, and they often have a more ruffled or shaggy appearance around the throat. Ravens also have a different call than crows.

So, while the Pied Crow shares some characteristics with ravens, it is still classified as a crow[5].

More Black Birds

Cite This Page

BioExplorer.net. (2023, September 26). Pied Crow. Bio Explorer. https://www.bioexplorer.net/animals/birds/pied-crow/.
BioExplorer.net. "Pied Crow" Bio Explorer, 26 September 2023, https://www.bioexplorer.net/animals/birds/pied-crow/.
BioExplorer.net. "Pied Crow" Bio Explorer, September 26 2023. https://www.bioexplorer.net/animals/birds/pied-crow/.
Key References
  • [1]“Oakland Zoo | Pied Crow”. Accessed June 17, 2023. Link.
  • [2]“Pied Crow (Corvus albus) | BDI”. Accessed June 17, 2023. Link.
  • [3]“Crows as Pets: The African Pied Crow, a Most Intelligent Bird”. Accessed June 17, 2023. Link.
  • [4]“IUCN Red List of Threatened Species”. Accessed June 17, 2023. Link.
  • [5]“How to Tell a Raven From a Crow | Audubon”. Accessed June 17, 2023. Link.


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