House Crow

house crow
家鸦 (jiā yā)
Corvus splendens
42 cm

The natural range of the house crow covers most of the Indian subcontinent and just extends into China in southern Tibet (Shigatse Prefecture) and southern Yunnan. Vagrants have arrived by ship to coastal areas around the world, including Taiwan; these birds are probably from the strongly contrasting grey-and-black nominate race. The naturally occurring race in China, insolens, has much less contrasting, mainly black plumage. It therefore resembles a large-billed crow, with which it shares a peaked crown and an arched culmen; but it is noticeably smaller. Carrion crow is also larger and has a flatter crown. In insolens, the more blackish-grey plumage is on the mantle and neck, but grey shading may be discernible also on the breast and flanks; the blackest and glossiest plumage is on the face, forecrown, chin, and throat. Bill arched and thick, black; feet black. Varied vocalizations include the well-known hoarse, grating caw, weaker than large-billed crow’s. — Craig Brelsford


Daniel Bengtsson served as chief ornithological consultant for Craig Brelsford’s Photographic Field Guide to the Birds of China, from which this species description is drawn.

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