Family Crows and Jays (Corvidae)

Least Concern

Pied Crow (Corvus albus)


French: Corbeau pie German: Schildrabe Spanish: Cuervo pío

Corvus albus

Statius Müller

, 1776,



Closely related to C. ruficollis and C. edithae; in NE of range hybridizes frequently with latter (which see). Despite extensive range, little variation of any significance is apparent (birds in far N have somewhat larger bill than those in S), and no races described. Monotypic.


Almost the whole of sub-Saharan Africa S from c. 17° N in Mauritania and Mali, C Chad and 20° N on Red Sea coast of Sudan (absent from extensive tracts of Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia, from the most arid regions of Namibia, W Botswana and Kalahari Basin of NW South Africa, and from higher elevations of Lesotho); present on islands of Bioko, Zanzibar, Pemba and Mafia (off Tanzania), and Comoro Is, Aldabra, Glorieuses Is and Madagascar; recently discovered breeding in Western Sahara#R; also Europa I, where possibly introduced#R.

Descriptive notes

45 cm; 400–700 g. Large corvid with tail of moderate length and distinctly graduated towards tip, throat feathers slightly elongated and mostly pointed. Has head, neck... read more


Typical call a deep, guttural "kraaak", similar to those of both C. frugilegus... read more


Open country, including grasslands, open woodlands, forest clearings, savanna, riverbanks and... read more

Food and feeding

Omnivorous. Takes all manner of invertebrates, including spiders (Araneae), ticks (Ixodoidea), beetles (Coleoptera), termites (Isoptera),... read more


Season varies with onset of local rains: eggs reported Aug–Oct in Mauritania and Mali, Feb–Apr in Gambia, Apr–May in Chad... read more


Mainly sedentary. In wet years, N populations spread N into Saharan oases, some reaching 18° N... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Common and widespread, even locally abundant in low-lying, lusher parts of Africa. Common and widespread in lower-lying parts of... read more

Recommended citation

Madge, S. & de Juana, E. (2020). Pied Crow (Corvus albus). 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 24 February 2020).