Taxonomy

Corvus splendens | House crow | Préachán binne

Distribution

Status

Legal status

Regulated invasive species of Union concern under the European Regulation on the prevention and management of the introduction and spread of invasive alien species [1143/2014].

Invasiveness

Invasive species - risk of High Impact

Irish status

Occasionally present, casual, vagrant, migratory

Introduction pathways - 1

Transport Stowaway

Introduction pathways subclass - 1

Hitchhikers on ship/boat

Introduction pathways - 2

Release in Nature

Introduction pathways subclass - 2

Biological control, Release in nature for use

Invasive score

20

NAPRA Ireland risk assessed

No

Species Biology

Identification

Commensal omnivorous colonial crow. Slim build with long neck and large beak. Plumage is black except for a collar of grey around the back of the head and neck and upper breast. Males are slightly larger (GISD, 2015).

Ecology

Species is entirely commensal. All known populations live with humans (Marchant, 2012). Omnivorous and eats fruit, seeds, insects, carrion, smaller birds, mammals, eggs, reptiles and human refuse. Refuse forms the main part of its diet (Feare & Mungroo, 1989). Predates chicks and eggs of other species and so poses a risk to a number of native species (Ryall, 1992) and may have implications for free-range poultry and game birds (NNSS, 2011). It is reported to damage arable crops such as maize in much of its introduced range (Ryall, 1992). Displaces native species through competition and aggression (Ryall, 1992). This social bird roosts communally with huge numbers in established populations. They are regarded as a pest due to the noise of the colonies and the risk to human health posed by the large quantities of faecal matter (NNSS, 2011). They carry eight intestinal diseases that affect humans including Salmonella and enteropathic Escherichia coli (Ryall, 1992) though this has rarely been observed.

Reproduction

Nests April to June in its native range (GISD, 2015). Builds a stick nest in trees. Clutches contain 4-5 eggs though this may be less in more Northerly latitudes (NNSS, 2011). Eggs are speckled and streaked pale blue/green. Both parents incubate the eggs and feed the young (GISD, 2015).

Pathway and vector description

Main pathway into Europe is as a stowaway on ships and boats (GISD, 2015). Was introduced deliberately to some countries for pest control and to clean up refuse in cities (GISD, 2015). Once established it can spread by flight though spread may be slow as the species is sedentary (NNSS, 2011).

Mechanism of impact

Competition, Predation, Disease transmission

Management approach

Eradication is only possible if undertaken when numbers are low and range is restricted (NNSS, 2011). However, it is highly resistant to eradication due to its intelligence, high reproductive capacity, competitive ability and opportunistic feeding behaviour (GISD, 2015).

Prevention

Pick up any stowaways quickly before they have a chance to disperse. Keep the city environment clean (GISD, 2015).

Physical

Destruction of nests, eggs and chicks. Shooting and trapping don't prove very successful due to the bird's intelligence. However, shooting may be useful for a small number of birds.

Chemical

Controlled poisoning following a period of pre-baiting has been successful if there is an accompanying clean-up of refuse (GISD, 2015). It is time and labour intensive tracking down survivors but this must be done if long-term results are to be achieved (GISD, 2015).

Broad environment

Terrestrial

Habitat description

Any area of human habitation, particularly coastal and where refuse is allowed to accumulate.

Species group

Vertebrate

Native region

Temperate Asia, Tropical Asia

Distribution

World distribution(GBIF)

Has established in at least 20 non-native countries in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. In Europe it is currently only in the Netherlands (NNSS, 2011).

Native distribution

China, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Iran, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Thailand (Marchant, 2012).

Temporal change

Records submitted to Data Centre in 2021

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References

Publications

European Commission. (2017). Invasive Alien Species of Union Concern. European Union, Luxembourg.

Global Invasive Species Database (GISD) (2015). Species profile Corvus splendens. http://www.iucngisd.org/gisd/species.php?sc=1199 Site accessed 27 September 2017.

Ryall, C. 1992. Predation and harassment of native bird species by the Indian House Crow Corvus splendens, in Mombasa, Kenya. Scopus 16(1): 1-8. http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/search?searchTerm=corvus+splendens#/sections Site accessed 27 September 2017.

Feare; Mungroo (1989) Notes on the house crow (Corvus splendens) in Mauritius. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists Club,109 (4) pp 199-201. http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/search?searchTerm=corvus+splendens#/sections Site accessed 27 September 2017.

Non-native Species Secretariat (NNSS). (2011). Corvus splendens – Indian House Crow. Risk Assessment (risk assessment prepared for Great Britain). http://www.nonnativespecies.org/index.cfm?pageid=143 Site accessed 27 September 2017.

Non-native Species Secretariat (NNSS). (undated). Species Description – House crow. Identification sheet. http://www.nonnativespecies.org/search.cfm Site accessed 27 September 2017.

Marchant, J (2012) Indian House crow, Corvus splendens. Factsheet. Non-native Species Secretariat (NNSS) http://www.nonnativespecies.org/factsheet/downloadFactsheet.cfm?speciesId=924 Site accessed 27 September 2017.

CABI Datasheet

DAISIE Factsheet

Additional comments

A lone crow was recorded in Dunmore East, Co. Waterford in 1974 where it survived for 5 years.

Images