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Census of roosting Indian house crows Corvus splendens on Mombasa island
Erftemeijer, P.L.A.; Seys, J. (1998). Census of roosting Indian house crows Corvus splendens on Mombasa island. Bull. - East Afr. Nat. Hist. Soc. 28(1): 1-5 + figs.
In: Bulletin - East Africa Natural History Society. East Africa Natural History Society: Nairobi. ISSN 0374-7387, more

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Keywords
    Behavior; Corvus splendens; Group size; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Erftemeijer, P.L.A.
  • Seys, J., more

Abstract
    The Indian House Crow (Corvus splendens) is an Asiatic bird species, that was introduced to the coast of East Africa in the 1890s (Lewis & Pomeroy, 1989) . From Zanzibar, where colonial authorities introduced the species to act as an urban scavenger, the species has spread into coastal areas of Tanzania, Mozambique, South Africa, Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia. After being recorded for the first time in Kenya in 1947 in Mombasa, this omnivorous scavenger is now very common in and around Mombasa city and island, and has spread along the north and south coast, and also expanded its distribution inland, largely following the main Mombasa-Nairobi road and rail links (Lewis & Pomeroy, 1989). Perhaps the best example that demonstrates the remarkable adaptive behaviour of this bird species to human environments, is that of the preferred use by the crows of metallic wire for nest building, instead of plant twigs and branches, as reported from large cities in India (Altevogt & Davis, 1979). In and around Mombasa, the breeding season is well defined, from September to January, with a marked peak in October (Brown & Britton, 1980). The success of the Indian House Crow is considered to be the cause of the decline of some other bird species in the coastal area around Mombasa, such as Pied Crow (Corvus albus), Speckled Mousebird (Colius striatus), Mornincr Thrush (Cichladusa arauata) and Golden PalmWeaver (Ploceus bojeri) (Lewis and Pomeroy, 1993). The species is also causing harassment to people at some of the hotels along the Kenyan coast, and reportedly may cause economy losses by inflicting damage to crops and poultry (Yousuf, 1982; Dhindsa et al., 1991). In addition, the species has been reported to be a possible carrier and transmitter of diseases such as cholera and dysenteria (Munguti, 1984; » Anonymous, 1995). In and around Mombasa, this crow has become a pest species, and attempts for its eradication and/or control l have been on-going since 1984. Control efforts have focused on the use of traps, poisoned bait, shooting of adult birds and destroying of nests, eggs and chicks. The problems caused by the crows at the coast have even lead to the formation of a House Crow Control Committee to coordinate the control and eradication programme. It is virtually impossible to monitor the success of control or eradication programmes without any basic data on the distribution and numbers of the crows. At present, no reliable data are available on the number of crows around Mombasa. As recommended in the minutes of the last House Crow Control Committee meeting, there is need for more research into the Indian House Crow. The aims of the present study were: (1) to count the total number of crows that roost on Mombasa island; (3) to assess which areas these crows mainly come from; (3) to study the group size and behavior at their arrival.

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