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Grey Crow

Corvus tristis

The Grey Crow (Corvus tristis), once referred to as the bare-faced crow, is a medium-sized bird, comparable in stature to the Eurasian carrion crow, measuring 42–45 cm in length. It boasts a distinctive plumage, especially during its juvenile phase, which sets it apart from other members of the Corvus genus.

Identification Tips

Adult Grey Crows are primarily black with a unique pattern of randomly bleached wing and tail feathers. A notable feature is the large area of bare, pinkish-white skin around their bluish-white eyes. The bill is quite variable, with some specimens displaying a bluish upper mandible and a pinkish-white lower, while others have an entirely pinkish-white bill with a darker tip. The nasal bristles, typically prominent in corvids, are significantly reduced in this species. Juveniles are markedly paler, with light brown to cream plumage, and the head and underparts often appearing almost white.

Habitat

This species is found in both primary and secondary forests, thriving in lowland and hill forests up to an elevation of 1350 meters.

Distribution

The Grey Crow is native to the expansive island of New Guinea and its associated offshore islands.

Behaviour

Grey Crows forage both on the ground and in trees, often in groups of 4–8 individuals. They maintain a loose, noisy contact while moving through the canopy.

Song & Calls

The vocalizations of the Grey Crow include a weak 'ka' or a whining 'caw'. When excited, they emit other hoarse-sounding notes.

Diet and Feeding

The diet of the Grey Crow is diverse, with fruit constituting a significant portion. They also consume small animals such as frogs and aquatic insect larvae, which they forage from shallow waters along riverbeds.

Conservation status

The Grey Crow is currently listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List, indicating that it is not at immediate risk of population decline.

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