Jamaican crow

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Jamaican crow
Corvus jamaicensis.jpg
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Corvidae
Genus: Corvus
Species: C. jamaicensis
Binomial name
Corvus jamaicensis
Gmelin, 1788
Jamaican crow distribution map.png
Distribution map

The Jamaican crow (Corvus jamaicensis) is a comparatively small crow species (35–38 cm in length). It shares several key morphological features with two further West Indian species, the Cuban crow, Corvus nasicus and the white-necked crow, Corvus leucognaphalus of Hispaniola which are almost certainly very closely related to it.

As its name suggests, this species is found on the moderately sized island of Jamaica where it inhabits woodland mixed with cleared areas and can be frequently found in larger gardens also. Though primarily a bird of hill and mountain forest, it comes down to lower elevations during the dry season where it is more likely to be seen.

The overall appearance of this species is of a sooty-grey bird, not at all glossy like its near relatives though it does possess a similar dark grey patch of naked skin just behind the eye and a smaller naked patch at the base of the bill. The bill itself is slate-grey and quite deep, tapering to a sharp point. The nasal bristles are relatively sparse usually leaving the nostrils on view. The iris is either grey-brown or red-brown, possibly depending on age. Legs and feet are black.

Another forest crow by nature, its food requirements contain a significant proportion of fruit taken from trees either in pairs or small groups. It also probes under bark and leaf litter for small invertebrates etc. and it is known to raid other birds nests of both eggs and nestlings.

The nest itself is usually built in a tall tree though this species may well use tree holes also as a possible nesting option although little further information is as yet recorded for this species and its breeding habits.

The voice, like its two nearest relatives is very distinctive and consists of various jabbering and bubbling sounds (thus its common Jamaican Patois name, jabbering crow), but also including a more crow-like "craa-craa" sound on occasion.

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