Genus CORVUS

The genus Corvus contains the Ravens, Crows, Rooks, and Jackdaws. Nine species are found in India, some of them widely distributed and well known to all, others confined to the Himalayas and the north-west portion of the Empire.

Corvus has the plumage black throughout or nearly throughout, and may be recognized by the position of the nostrils, which are placed far forward, about one third the Length of the bill from the forehead, and are entirely concealed from view by a multitude of very stiff, straight bristles that reach the middle of the bill. In these characters this genus agrees with the Magpies ; but the latter may be separated by the Length of the tail, which is very much longer than the wing, and by the shape of the first primary, which is figured on p. 23.

The Crows are as a rule resident, but two species visit India only in the winter.

The Rook forms a partial exception to the general characters given above for determining Corvus. Up to nine months of age it has the ordinary stiff bristles over the nostrils, but at that age it casts them all off, as well as the feathers on the front part of the head. Its appearance in this state is well depicted in the figure of the head given on p. 19.

Key to the Species.

a. Of larger size; wing always over 15 inches.
a1. Hackles of throat long and distinct; entire plumage glossy black ………C. corax, p. 14.
b1. Hackles of throat short and not distinct or prominent; head, mantle, and lower
plumage brown ………………….C. umbrinus, p. 15.
b. Of smaller size: wing rarely reaching or exceeding 14 inches.
c1. Hind neck black like crown.
a2. Lower plumage with little gloss, and this blue or green; bill deeper; face always feathered.
a3. Plumage intensely black; the feathers of the hind neck firm and glossy, with distinct, glistening shafts ………………….C. corone, p. 16.
b3. Plumage not intensely black; feathers of the hind neck soft and decomposed, almost gloss-less, and their shafts not dis¬tinguishable from the webs………………C. macrorhynchus, p. 17.
b2. Lower plumage brilliantly glossy at all ages, the gloss purple and lilac ; bill slender; face bare in adults ………………….C. frugilegus, p. 18.
d1. Hind neck grey or ashy, contrasting with the black crown.
c2. Of larger size ; wing over 12 inches ………………….C. cornix, p. 19.
d2. Of smaller size; wing rarely exceeding 11 inches,
c3. Chin and throat deep black in contrast with breast; culmen more than 1.6 in. in Length and well curved.
a4. Hind neck and sides of neck typically light grey ………………C. splendens, p. 20.
b4. Hind neck and sides of neck typically dark grey ………………….C. insolens, p. 21.
d3. Chin and throat of much the same colour as breast; culmen under 1.3 in., and straight ………………….C. monedula, p. 22.

BookTitle: 
The Fauna Of British India including Ceylon and Burma
Reference: 
OATES EW. The Fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma. Vol.1 1889.
Title in Book: 
Genus CORVUS
Book Author: 
Eugene William Oates, Edited by William Thomas Blanford
Year: 
1889
Page No: 
12
M_ID: 
20515
M_SN: 
Corvus
Volume: 
Vol. 1
Term name: 
id: 
6

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