Indian house crow

Native to India, the Middle East and nearby parts of Asia, the Indian house crow is a significant pest in Africa and Asia. It can compete with native birds, damage crops and become an urban nuisance.

While not currently found in Australia, Indian house crows are occasionally detected on international cargo ships arriving here. This species is a high pest risk for Queensland because it is well suited to the climate across much of the state. Quarantine measures and early detection are vital in preventing its establishment here.

The Indian house crow is not a prohibited or restricted invasive animal under the Biosecurity Act 2014.

Scientific name

Corvus splendens

Other names

  • House crow, Indian crow, grey-necked crow, Ceylon crow, Colombo crow

Similar species

  • Australian native crows, ravens

Description

  • Slender, medium-sized crow 42–44cm long (body and tail), weight 250–350g.
  • Feathers are black on body and grey on neck and breast (native Australian crows do not have grey necks).
  • Beak, legs and feet are black.
  • Call is short, repeated 'caw caw caw' or a nasal 'kaan kaan'.

Habitat

  • Lives close to people (relies heavily on food scraps and other rubbish).
  • Prefers highly disturbed habitats in most types of urban and agricultural landscapes.

Distribution

  • Currently absent from Queensland, but occasionally seen near ports.

Life cycle

  • Can live up to 6 years in wild.

Crops affected

  • Fruit crops including mango, guava, pawpaw, fig, apple, pear, grape and stone fruits, and grain crops including wheat, corn and sunflowers.

Affected animals

  • Poultry, newborn calves, newborn goats

Impacts

Environmental

  • Competes with some native birds.

Economic

  • Damages fruit and grain crops.
  • Can kill young livestock.

Social

  • Can become abundant in urban areas, causing significant noise and nuisance.

Control

  • Early detection is essential for preventing pest establishment. If you have seen, or are in possession of, an Indian house crow, contact Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23.
  • The ability of the Indian house crow to arrive on cargo ships increases its likelihood of introduction and potential establishment. Public awareness and reporting, particularly by keen birdwatchers, plays a vital role in maintaining our pest free status from this species.

Legal requirements

  • The Indian house crow is not a prohibited or restricted invasive animal under the Biosecurity Act 2014. However, by law, everyone has a general biosecurity obligation (GBO) to take reasonable and practical steps to minimise the risks associated with invasive plants and animals under their control.
  • Local governments must have a biosecurity plan that covers invasive plants and animals in their area. This plan may include actions to be taken on certain species. Some of these actions may be required under local laws. Contact your local government for more information.

Further information