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Corvus splendens (House crow) 

Huiskraai [Afrikaans]; huiskraai [Dutch]; Corbeau familier [French]; Glanzkrähe, Hauskrähe [German]; Gralha-indiana [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Passeriformes > Family: Corvidae

Corvus splendens (House crow)   

House crow, Kenilworth, Cape Town, South Africa. [photo Duncan Robertson ©]


Distribution and habitat

Originally from Asia, it self-introduced itself to cities in Malaysia, the Indian Ocean Islands, East and southern Africa. Here it has localised populations in Cape Town, Durban, Maputo and Inhaca Island in southern Mozambique, where it is most common. It occurs exclusively in urban and suburban areas, especially industrial areas and informal settlements.


Omnivorous, feeding on a wide range of animals and plants. It especially favours birds, stealthily searching for nests on the ground. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:


  • Its breeding habits are little known within southern Africa, but it is thought to be a monogamous, usually solitary nester. However in East Africa it occasionally nests colonially, with up to 6 nests in one tree.
  • The female does most of the work on the nest which is a large bowl of sticks and wire, lined with soft plant and animal fibres. It is usually placed in the fork of a tree, or less often on a telegraph pole or in a building.
  • It lays 2-5 eggs, which are incubated mainly by the female for about 16-17 days.
  • Both parents care for the chicks, who stay in the nest for 21-28 days, becoming independent several weeks later.


A destructive alien species preying on the chicks and eggs of other birds.


  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town.