Family Crows and Jays (Corvidae)

Least Concern

Slender-billed Crow (Corvus enca)


French: Corneille à bec fin German: Sundakrähe Spanish: Cuervo picofino

Fregilus Enca


, 1821,



Until recently C. unicolor, and more recently C. violaceus, treated as races of present species. Grouping of taxa exceedingly problematic, as little agreement evident in results of various studies, and published data frequently contradictory, while vocal analyses#R produce yet further complications; nevertheless, most races seem fairly distinctive in terms of morphology and/or plumage, and groups suggested here, while still very tentative, are based to large extent on such characters. Subspecies compilator recently split on account of its size and deep voice#R, and this almost certainly appropriate, yet genetically it appears close to race celebensis#R; more research needed. Birds on Mentawai Is (off Sumatra) traditionally included in nominate race, but this seems unlikely; research required. Form celebensis (with mangoli) recently elevated to species rank by some authors#R on basis of genetics and voice; birds from Banggai Is (off E Sulawesi) included in celebensis but may belong with mangoli and, likewise, birds reported on Karakelong (in Talaud Is) and Siau placed with celebensis but confirmation of race needed. Small Philippine races almost certainly represent one or more separate species; each exhibits substantial vocal differences from the other two#R. Research on all taxa called for. Recent sight record of a family party of crows resembling present species on W coast of Sumba, in Lesser Sundas, may represent an undescribed taxon. Seven subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. e. compilator Richmond, 1903 – Sunda Crow – Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra (including Simeulue and Nias I, off W coast) and Borneo.
  • C. e. enca (Horsfield, 1821) – Javan Crow – Java and Bali; possibly also Mentawai Is (off W Sumatra).
  • C. e. celebensis Stresemann, 1936 – Sulawesi Crow – Sulawesi (and nearby small islands of Manterawu, Manadotua, Lembeh, Bangka, Talisei, Togian Is, Selayar, Bonerate, Basa, Butung and Tukangbesi Group), Banggai Is, Sangihe Is and Talaud Is.
  • C. e. mangoli Vaurie, 1958 – Sula Is, off E Sulawesi.
  • C. e. sierramadrensis Rand & Rabor, 1961 – Sierra Madre Crow – mountains of N & C Luzon, in N Philippines.
  • C. e. pusillus Tweeddale, 1878 – Palawan Crow – Mindoro, Calamian Group and Palawan (and nearby Dadagican and Balabac), in W Philippines.
  • C. e. samarensis Steere, 1890 – Samar Crow – Samar and Mindanao, in S Philippines.
  • Descriptive notes

    40–47 cm; 222–285 g, 221·6–240·6 g (samarensis), 260–279 g (pusillus). Medium-sized, fairly slim crow with mid-length... read more


    Little variation over most of range, a dry “akh-akh-akh” or “ka ka ka-a-a-a... read more


    Lowland broadleaf evergreen forest, both primary and well-grown secondary forest, chiefly below 600... read more

    Food and feeding

    Surprisingly poorly studied. Although omnivorous, fruiting trees provide a major part of its diet; also takes variety of invertebrates,... read more


    Not well known. For widespread race compilator, eggs recorded in Jun and Jul on Borneo and assumed late Feb and early Mar in... read more


    Generally regarded as sedentary; some wandering, as shown by sporadic observations on several... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Everywhere rather uncommon; often elusive, favouring confines of quite dense forest, thereby easing competition with C.... read more

    Recommended citation

    Madge, S. & Christie, D.A. (2020). Slender-billed Crow (Corvus enca). 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 18 February 2020).