(3) Corvus corax ruficollis.
THE BROWN-NECKED RAVEN.
Corvus ruficollis Lesson, Traite d'Orn., p. 329 (1831) (Africa). Corvus umbrinus. Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 15.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. Differs from other Indian forms of Raven in being a much browner bird in general coloration, more especially so on the neck and shoulders. The neck-hackles are even shorter than in laurencei and it is rather smaller also than either of the previous forms.
Measurements. Wing about 400 mm. and ranging between 380 and 420 mm. The bill in the Indian form is also more slender than it is in either the Tibet or Punjab Raven.
Distribution. Sind, Baluchistan, S. Persia, Palestine and N. Africa to Abyssinia.
Nidificaiton The Brown-necked Raven builds in cliffs or river banks throughout its whole area. In Baluchistan it apparently occasionally breeds in the rocky sides of the steeper and more broken gorges and cliffs. In South Palestine it breeds in great numbers in the river banks or in the many precipitous ravines in that country and the little that is on record concerning its breeding elsewhere agrees with this. It usually lays four eggs, often three only and sometimes five. Col. R. Meinertzhagen took a fine series of the eggs near Jerusalem. They are very small and can hardly be distinguished from those of a Carrion-crow but they are rather poorly marked on the whole, less brown than those of the Tibet Raven but much less richly coloured than those of the Punjab Raven. They measure about 45.0 x 31.5 mm. The breeding season in Palestine seems to commence in early March, but in Baluchistan they lay in December and January.
Habits. This is essentially a bird of the desert or of rocky barren coasts and hills and wherever such are intersected by cultivated or better forested areas the Punjab Raven or some other form takes its place. It is a more companionable bird than either of its Indian relations and where it is most numerous several pairs may be seen consorting together.
Meinertzhagen, who has recently examined a mass of material, is unable to detect any characters by which umbrinus of India to Palestine can be separated from ruficollis of Africa.