Cuban crow

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Cuban crow
Corvus nasicus 1838.jpg
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Corvidae
Genus: Corvus
Species: C. nasicus
Binomial name
Corvus nasicus
Temminck, 1826
Corvus nasicus distribution map.jpg
Distribution map

The Cuban crow (Corvus nasicus) is one of four species of crow that occur on a few key islands in the Caribbean. It is closely related to the white-necked crow (C. leucognaphalis) and Jamaican crow (C. jamaicensis), with which it shares similar features. The fourth Caribbean crow, the palm crow (C. palmarum), is a later arrival in evolutionary terms and shows characteristics more akin to North American species such as the fish crow (C. ossifragus), which it is probably closely related to.

A stocky, medium sized (40–42 centimetres or 16–17 inches in length) forest crow, this sociable bird can be found quite commonly over most of the large island of Cuba and on the nearby Isla de la Juventud in woodland and areas that have been cleared for agriculture. It is frequently found around farms and villages where it seems to have adapted quite well to living in relatively close contact with man.

The bill of this species is long and deep with a gentle curve towards the tip giving a large headed profile. The nasal bristles sweep forward then upward and frequently reveal the nostrils which are hidden in almost all other members of the genus Corvus. There is a patch of dark grey bare skin behind the browinsh-red eye and at the base of the lower mandible. The black plumage has a bluish-purple gloss in good light. The bill, legs and feet are black.

Food consists of fruit and insects though it does appear to take human food readily and will scavenge for scraps where the opportunity arises. Large noisy flocks can be seen feeding in trees and it will also readily feed on the ground especially where grain and other seeds have been spilt or left unprotected on the surface of a field.

The voice is quite remarkable and is rather un-crow like, with strange liquid bubbling notes and high ringing sounds produced in various combinations. It also produces a thin screeched "aaaaauh" that rises in inflection.

The nest is built in tall trees, though little further information about breeding is recorded as yet.

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