By Matthias Mugisha
The pied Crow (Corvus albus) is a common bird species in Uganda. It is easy to sight in villages, towns and plains. It does not live in tropical forests.
The Pied Crow is called Gaaga in Lugbra, Namungoona in Luganda and Ekikoona in Runyankore/Rukiga.
The name for a group of crows is a flock or a murder. Crows are among the most intelligent birds in the world. It has been discovered that crows can distinguish individual humans by recognising facial features.
Some crow species are capable of not only using tools, but can make tools as well. They have been observed using bait to catch fish.
In addition, they can hide and store food for use in future. One species, the New Caledonian Crow, can make and use tools in the day-to-day search for food.
The tools include ‘knives’ cut from stiff leaves and stiff stalks of grass. Some crows drop hard nuts which they cannot crack into streets and wait for cars to crash them.
Some crows have no fear of poisonous frogs; they simply remove the poisonous organs and then eat the frog. Crows eat almost anything, including other birds, fruits, nuts, earthworms, seeds, frogs, eggs, nestlings and mice.
Crows reach sexual maturity around the age of three years for females and five years for males, and they can live up to 20 years in the wild and 30 years in captivity.