The Pied Crow is a distinctly cosmopolitan creature, adapting to almost any habitat and closely associating with humans and our wasteful activities wherever possible. They’re a common sight along roads, where they feed on road kills, and at slaughterhouses and dumpsites where they scavenge for discarded scraps. Apart from cleaning up after humans, Pied Crows include a wide selection of food items in their naturally omnivorous diet: insects and other invertebrates, small mammals, birds and reptiles, eggs, carrion, seeds, fruits, roots and mushrooms are all consumed, and they will mob large birds of prey to steal their food. They’ve even been known to kill lambs and sick sheep. Pied Crows have a wingspan of almost a metre and weigh around half a kilogram.
The Pied Crow is a sociable species, usually seen in pairs or small groups but at times coming together in enormous flocks numbering in the thousands at communal roosts or in response to an abundant food source. Both sexes work together in constructing nests of sticks and twigs in isolated tall trees or on telephone and electricity pylons and windpumps. Breeding takes place in spring and summer, when clutches of 3-6 eggs are incubated by the female for about three weeks. Both parents raise the brood, which fledges at about 45 days.
Thanks to an enormous distribution range covering almost all of Sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar, its close association with humans and a large and stable population, the Pied Crow is considered of least concern in conservation terms. In South Africa too they are spread over the entire country, being described as increasingly abundant.