Family Crows and Jays (Corvidae)

Least Concern

Somali Crow (Corvus edithae)


French: Corbeau d’Edith German: Somalirabe Spanish: Cuervo etíope
Other common names: Ethiopian Raven, Dwarf Raven

Corvus edithae

E. L. Phillips

, 1895,

Hainwaina Plain, Somalia


Closely related to C. ruficollis and C. albus. Often treated as conspecific with former, but close to latter in size, structure and voice and hybridizes frequently with it in SE highlands of Ethiopia (sporadic mixed pairs reported from most of range); observations#R suggest that interbreeding not immediate when the two meet, and that some time is required for breeding-cycle synchrony to develop. Present species has been suggested to be a population of all-dark C. albus but this is unlikely, as some calls differ and it replaces latter in desert regions of Horn of Africa. Monotypic.


Eritrea, Djibouti, E & S Ethiopia, most of Somalia, extreme SE South Sudan and N Kenya.

Descriptive notes

46 cm; 435–450 g. Large corvid with tail of moderate length and distinctly graduated towards tip, stout bill and pointed throat feathers. Plumage black, glossed with... read more


Very similar to that of C. albus, usually a dry "wraaa" varying in pitch,... read more


Open country, from deserts and bushy semi-deserts to dry savanna, and patchy cultivation, including... read more

Food and feeding

Omnivorous. Diet probably similar to that of C. albus. Recorded items include carrion, small "animals", various... read more


Season chiefly Feb and May–Jun; eggs recorded Feb in Eritrea, Feb and May–Jun in Ethiopia, Mar–Jun (chiefly Apr and May)... read more


Sedentary, as far as is known.

Status and conservation

Not assessed. Probably not globally threatened. Common and widespread, but often somewhat localized. More field research required in order to determine population densities... read more

Recommended citation

Madge, S. (2020). Somali Crow (Corvus edithae). 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 19 January 2020).