House Crow

House Crow

Corvus splendens

Common name:

House Crow

Scientific name:

Corvus splendens

Alternative common names:


The house crow is the smallest of the crow (Corvus) species to be found in South Africa. Making its way down the east coast of Africa, the house crow has established breeding colonies in the KwaZulu-Natal (Durban and Richards Bay), Eastern Cape (East London) and the Western Cape (Cape Town) It has a black body with glossy bluish-black wings and a paler grey nape. The facial region is dark black with small black eyes and a large black bill. It destroys vegetable gardens, and preys on eggs – the nestlings of South African indigenous birds.

Additional Information

Where does this species come from?


What is its invasive status in South Africa?

NEMBA Category 1a

Where in South Africa is it a problem?

Richards Bay and Durban (KwaZulu-Natal), Cape Town (Western Cape) and East London (Eastern Cape)

How does it spread?

Strongly associated with dense human settlements.

Why is it a problem?

Preys on eggs and nestling of native birds, also eat small native animals. Mobs humans and pets. Occasionally destroys vegetable gardens in informal settlements. Vector for pathogens that cause cholera, typhoid, dysentery and salmonella poisoning.

What does it look like?

Description: This is the smallest crow species in South Africa. It has a glossy black body with grey or greyish brown nape, mantle and breast. The bill, legs and feet are black.

Habitat: Entirely urban and suburban areas in South Africa, especially industrial sites and informal settlements.

Breeding: Displays in flight with rapid, shallow wing-beats, wings held below body, while giving gargling call. The nest is built mainly by female, with material brought by the male. Nest placed among slender branches at the top of a tall shrub. The eggs are laid from July-January in South Africa. The eggs are pale dark pink, spotted and speckled with red-brown, purplish grey and dark pink in colour. Incubation is rapid and takes 8-9 days. The newly hatched young have reddish-orange body and bill, gape edges and mouth deep pink. Short, grey down on feather tracts, except for head and thighs, short bristles on end of rump.

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