Further notes on the natural history of the Ethiopian Bush-crow Zavattariornis stresemanni

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Bladon, Andrew J 
Jones, Sam EI 
Collar, Nigel J 
Dellelegn, Yilma 
Donald, Paul F 

The Ethiopian Bush-crow Zavattariornis stresemanni is a charismatic and Endangered endemic bird of southern Ethiopia, whose general biology remains under-studied. We present field notes and observations from 2008 to 2014, covering many aspects of the species’ behaviour and morphology. Bush-crows breed co-operatively in response to both of the local rainy seasons, but group size and fidelity of helpers appears to be variable. Bush-crow nests were found for the first time on man-made structures; a low power distribution pole and a tall electricity pylon. The display of one bush-crow to another is further described. Juveniles can be identified by darker coloration around the face, bright red gapes and distinctive begging calls. Adults possess lightweight, low-density body feathers and it appears that bush-crows have a moult phenology that overlaps extensively with breeding, a trait unusual in birds. Post-breeding dispersal is often limited, although anecdotal evidence and a handful of observations suggest that some individuals cover greater distances between breeding seasons. We report the first confirmed predation of a bush-crow, and supplement this with notes on other interspecific interactions. Finally, bush-crows were found for the first time north-west of Yabello (a small range extension), and we discuss the implications of local movements and range fluctuations in the context of the species’ apparent climatic range limitation.

Journal Title
Bulletin of the African Bird Club
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Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Bulletin of the African Bird Club 2015.
Publisher DOI
Publisher URL
NERC (1210186)