Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Indian house crows and invasive aliens

Indian House Crow, not the prettiest... Thanks to Dick Daniels
There are very few birds I don't like to see, but today's common bird is an exception - the Indian House Crow, Corvus splendens. Actually, that's probably slightly untrue, as I have been to India and I was perfectly happy to see the species there. In East Africa, however, this is not a species I'm ever happy to see. Not because there aren't interesting things to say about it, of course, but because it really belongs in India and seems to cause a number of problems elsewhere.

First though, identification is fairly simple: the house crow is a medium-large all black and grey bird, usually found in flocks in towns all along the coast and, in some areas, invading inland too. It is very loud, with a persistent "Carr, Carr, Carr" call that is the constant sound of Dar es Salaam bird life... There are few confusion species in East Africa, the only other common species of crow being the black and white Pied Crow, which often hangs about with the house crow.