When we first moved to the Eastern Cape over thirty years ago, crows of any sort were seldom seen in town. Cape Crows (Corvus capensis) used to fly over the municipal rubbish dump in large numbers and could be seen on the fringes of the town. They have been coming into suburbia more frequently, but it is the arrival of the Pied Crows (Corvus albus) that has been surprising. From not being seen at all, Pied Crows are now regular visitors all over town.
This is consistent with several articles recording the spread of Pied Crows across the country. I may have mentioned before that research has indicated that this may partly be ascribed to both global warming, the availability of nest sites on the metal structures supporting power-lines, as well as increased food availability from road kill.
Just as they do when an eagle or buzzard flies over the garden, the birds go silent as soon as a Pied Crow appears overhead. I have seen both Red-winged Starlings and Fork-tailed Drongos chasing after Pied Crows, mobbing them incessantly until they are well out of harm’s way, and wonder if this is to protect their nestlings. They are both omnivorous and opportunistic feeders – which is why they too are frequently seen around the municipal rubbish dump as well as in the open veld.
I am intrigued by the three white bands showing on the wings of this particular Pied Crow as they were not evident on either of these crows when I photographed them in January. Are they an indication that this one is still a juvenile?
NOTE: Click on the photographs if you want a larger view.