Family Crows and Jays (Corvidae)

Least Concern

Piapiac (Ptilostomus afer)


French: Piapiac africain German: Spitzschwanzelster Spanish: Piapiac

Corvus afer


, 1766,





SW Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia and Guinea-Bissau E through N Guinea, Sierra Leone, N Ivory Coast, S Mali, Burkina Faso, N & E Ghana, Togo, Benin, S Niger and Nigeria E in narrow band to SW Sudan, thence S to extreme NE DRCongo, Uganda (except SW & E), extreme SW Ethiopia and extreme W Kenya. Also one record from Liberia, and isolated records from N Congo.

Descriptive notes

35–42 cm; 121–130 g. A rather small-bodied corvid with very long, graduated tail of ten stiff feathers; stout bill with strongly arched culmen, nasal bristles... read more


Party-members keep in contact with loud chattering and scolding "pee-ip, pee-ip, pee-ip"... read more


Savanna with scattered trees and patches of woodland, including areas heavily grazed by both... read more

Food and feeding

Omnivorous. Diet includes seeds, berries and fruits, including fruits of oil palm (Elaeis guineensis), also spiders (Araneae), and... read more


Poorly studied, although numerous. Season depends on local rains, laying reported Jun–Jul in Senegambia, a little later (Jul–... read more


Sedentary over most of range. Some movements suspected in parts of C Africa, where reported as... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Widespread and common over most of range. One of the most conspicuous birds of the savanna in Senegambia. Seemingly less common and more localized in... read more

Recommended citation

Madge, S. (2019). Piapiac (Ptilostomus afer). 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 12 December 2019).