Family Crows and Jays (Corvidae)

Least Concern

Cape Crow (Corvus capensis)


French: Corneille du Cap German: Kapkrähe Spanish: Cuervo de El Cabo

Corvus capensis

M. H. C. Lichtenstein

, 1823,

Cape of Good Hope, South Africa


Recent genetic studies#R#R failed to reveal any close relatives. Races geographically disjunct, but not well marked. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. c. kordofanensis Laubmann, 1919 – E South Sudan, N Eritrea, most of Ethiopian highlands, N & SE Somalia, W & C Kenya and extreme N Tanzania; status in Uganda unclear#R.
  • C. c. capensis M. H. C. Lichtenstein, 1823 – from C Angola, W Zambia and Zimbabwe S to South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho; possibly also SW Mozambique.
  • Descriptive notes

    48–50 cm; 410–697 g. Large crow with distinctive head-and-bill shape (rather flat forecrown, slim pointed bill with gently decurved culmen, and prominent throat... read more


    Harsh cawing "kraa-kraa-kraa" uttered at variety of pitches and speeds, from short,... read more


    Occurs in open country with scattered trees, from moorland and alpine meadows, through farmland and... read more

    Food and feeding

    Omnivorous. Various roots, seeds and grain, including maize and peanuts, small bulbs (e.g. Cyperus), fruits and berries (... read more


    Laying season varies with onset of local rains, breeding reported Dec–Feb in Sudan, Feb–May in Eritrea and Ethiopia, Mar–... read more


    Sedentary. A few records outside normal range (N Angola, S DRCongo and S Zambia) indicate... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common and widespread, but somewhat localized, over extensive range. No population estimates made, but density in optimum habitat 1 pair/5 km2.... read more

    Recommended citation

    Madge, S. (2020). Cape Crow (Corvus capensis). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 27 February 2020).