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White-necked Raven

From Opus

Photo by nkgrayGiant's Castle, Kwazulu-Natal Province, South Africa, August 2007
Photo by nkgray
Giant's Castle, Kwazulu-Natal Province, South Africa, August 2007

Alternative name: White-naped Raven

Corvus albicollis


[edit] Identification

50 - 56cm. A large, unmistakable raven:

  • Short tail and broad-based wings
  • Plumage mainly black
  • Black-brown throat, blackish-brown breast and neck with faint purple gloss
  • Large patch of white feathers on the back of the lower neck
  • Deep, arched bill with white tip

Sexes similar. Juveniles with all black bill and duller than adult.

[edit] Distribution

Photo by xmesoxSomerset West, South Africa, May 2011
Photo by xmesox
Somerset West, South Africa, May 2011

Southern and eastern Africa.
Found from Uganda and western Kenya south to Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho.

Vagrants recorded in Botswana, Namibia and Sudan.

Locally common and in some parts of distribution regarded as pest because of it's sheep-killing habits.

[edit] Taxonomy

This is a monotypic species[1].

Forms a species pair with Thick-billed Raven and with the latter sometimes placed in genus Corvultur.

[edit] Habitat

Small towns and villages with nearby mountains or hills for roosting.
Mostly recorded between 1000 and 3000m, locally higher.

[edit] Behaviour

They spend much of the day thermalling high, often with vultures. Usually foraging alone or in pairs.

[edit] Diet

The diet includes carrion from road kills, fruit, grain, insects, small reptiles, peanuts and human food. Robs bird nests (even of Verreaux's Eagle) and kills sickly newborn lambs.

[edit] Breeding

Nests are mainly on a cliff ledge but will occasionally nest in a tree. The clutch consists of 3-5 egg. A monogamous species, with long-term pair-bond.

[edit] Movements

A sedentary species but large flocks of non-breeders wander around in non-breeding season.

[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, B.L. Sullivan, C. L. Wood, and D. Roberson. 2013. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: Version 6.8., with updates to August 2013. Downloaded from
  2. Del Hoyo, J, A Elliott, and D Christie, eds. 2009. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 14: Bush-shrikes to Old World Sparrows. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8496553507

[edit] Recommended Citation

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