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Cape Crow - BirdForum Opus

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Photo © by Alan Manson
Cedara Farm, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, May 2007

Alternative names: Cape Rook; African Rook; African Crow; Black Crow

Corvus capensis


Subspecies kordofanensis
Photo © by mikemik
Manyara, Tanzania, May 2018

48-50 cm (19-19¾ in). A large crow with a distinctive head-and-bill shape

  • Flat forecrown, slim pointed bill with decurved culmen and prominent throat hackles
  • Plumage completely black with purple iridescence, coppery-purple glossed head
  • Dark iris
  • Grey bill, legs and feet

Sexes similar. Juveniles have a softer and dull sooty brown plumage.


The two subspecies differ mainly in size (kordofanensis being smaller).

Similar species

Differs from Ethiopian Raven by slender bill and flat forecrown.


Eastern and southern Africa.
Common and widespread.



This is a polytypic species, consisting of two subspecies[1]:


Open grassland, moorland, agricultural areas with some trees, woodland.
Tends to occur inland.



The diet includes grain, seeds, invertebrates, eggs and chicks, birds, frogs, small reptiles, fruits and berries. Feeds sometimes on carrion.


Breeding season varies with local rains. The nest is placed near the top of a tree. The 3-4 eggs are incubated for 18-19 days; the young fledge at around 38 days. The nest is sometimes parasitized by Great Spotted Cuckoo.
Mostly resident.


Voice: krrah.....krrah.....krrah or a quicker kah-kah-kah.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  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

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.