Cape Crow

Corvus capensis

The Cape Crow inhabits a wide range of habitats, from beaches and arid scrublands to mountain grasslands and savanna, but is most common in open habitats with a scattering of trees. They follow an omnivorous diet, feeding on anything from seeds and berries to tortoises and chickens and scavenging at rubbish dumps and road kills. They are less frequently associated with urban environments than the Pied Crow but are very common in many agricultural areas. Fully grown, Cape Crows measure about 50cm in length and weigh around half a kilogram.

Pairs are monogamous and territorial, but occasionally Cape Crows congregate in flocks of 50 or more birds outside the breeding season, which spans spring and summer. Their nests are large bowl-shaped constructions built by the female, using materials sourced by the male, on top of trees, utility poles or cliffs. The parents take turns to incubate the clutch of 2-4 eggs over a 3 week period. The chicks stay in the nest for up to 6 weeks, and may stay with their parents for up to 6 months after fledging.

The Cape Crow occurs widely in South Africa, being absent only from the Lowveld and Limpopo Valley and seen very infrequently in parts of the Free State and Northern Cape. They are also found in Lesotho, Swaziland, Namibia, Angola, Botswana and Zimbabwe, with a separate population in eastern Africa, from Tanzania to Eritrea. The IUCN lists the Cape Crow as a species of least concern.

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11 thoughts on “Cape Crow

    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Klink of julle sommer helemal die lente geskip het en reguit somer toe is? Ek dink ons het miskien n week se regte koue gehad hierdie afgelope “winter”; herfs het net laaaank aangehou, iewers in die middel was daar n week van winter, en lente was so 2 maande vroeg…

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  1. Anne

    Black birds are generally difficult to photograph, yet you have caught these crows in good light: I doff my proverbial hat to you. It is interesting to note that thirty years ago we seldom saw either Cape Crows or Pied Crows in our town – only on the fringes – and now both are regular visitors. I imagine the influx of cattle must have something to do with this, or the drought has attracted them to easier food sources in the urban environment.

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Thank you for the kind and generous comment, Anne!
      I’ve also noticed a considerable increase in especially Pied Crows here in Gauteng, and I think the ever burgeoning human populations, many in informal settlements with little or no waste management, definately benefited these very successful opportunists.

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