Oriental Bird Images

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Pied Crow Corvus albus  
Pied Crow
Photographer : © Pranjal J Saikia
Location :Keru Dumping Ground, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India
Date : 13 August 2017
English synonyms:African Pied Crow, White-bellied Crow
Bird Family :Corvini - Jays, Magpies, Treepies, Ground-jays, Nutcrackers, Choughs, Jackdaws, Crows, Rook & Ravens
Red Data Status :Unspecified
Remarks :This is probably the first documented wild sighting from India. I, together with Mr. Vinod Puri Goswami and Mr. Digvijay Singh Rathore witnessed and photographed one single Pied Crow together with few Common Ravens Corvus corax and House Crows Corvus splendens at a cattle carcass dump.

The bird looked healthy and at home there, and was trying to socialize with other crows and ravens. However, the ravens and crows were trying their best to avoid it.

The big question is how this African native bird got to Jodhpur, as it is not known to migrate outside of Africa. Mr. Praveen J. wrote to me that the nearest (to India) record outside Africa is from Socotra Island of Yemen in the Arabian Sea. So the bird might have escaped from captivity (Zoo/Cage) or perhaps arrived on board a ship coming from Africa - a 'ship assisted' vagrant. The nearest sea port (Kandla in Gujarat) is over 600 km from Jodhpur by road. Considering the distance and also because it has not been recorded anywhere in between, it is difficult to imagine that the bird is a "ship assisted vagrant". However, the (African) Pied Crow is a popular cage bird beacause of its intelligence, as seen in many YouTube videos. We haven't heard of the Pied Crow being kept as a pet or zoo bird in India. However, we would like to hear from others regarding its status as a cage or zoo bird in India or even Pakistan.

The Pied Crow was observed to be keeping a distance from us just like any other wild bird and certainly was not behaving like a pet bird. Hope the experts will come up with a theory about the possible reason for its sighting in India. - PJS

Taxonomic Notes :Monotypic species native to Africa. A vagrant to the Oriental Region. One record - possibly ship assisted, so has not as of the time of writing been admitted to the Indian List. (21 April 2018)
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