Banggai crow (Corvus unicolor)

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassAves
OrderPasseriformes
FamilyCorvidae
GenusCorvus (1)
SizeLength: 39 cm (2)

The Banggai crow is classified as Critically Endangered (CR) on the IUCN Red List (1).

Until its rediscovery in 2007, the Banggai crow (Corvus unicolor) was known from only two specimens thought to be collected as long ago as 1884 or 1885, and was suspected to be extinct (3) (4) (5).

This medium-sized crow is entirely black with a light iris and relatively short tail. The slender-billed crow (Corvus enca) is very similar to the Banggai crow, but can be distinguished by its larger overall size, bigger bill and proportionately longer tail (2).

The two original specimens of the Banggai crow were taken from an unspecified island in the Banggai archipelago, immediately east of Sulawesi, Indonesia (2) (3) (4).

Visits to the Banggai islands in 1981, 1991 and 1996 yielded no definite records of this species, but observations of black crows on Banggai Island in 1981, and a small crow seen at the western end of Peleng Island (within Banggai archipelago) in 1991 gave hope that the species still occurred (4). This hope was fulfilled when, in 2007, further surveys of Peleng Island successfully located two specimens of Banggai crow (5).

The Banggai crow occupies montane forest (5).

No information exists on the social, reproductive or feeding behaviour of the Banggai crow (4).

Based on the small number of records for this species, and the rapid rates of habitat loss within its range, the Banggai crow is likely to have only a very small population (2). Unfortunately, it remains hunted by local residents of Peleng Island (5).

In addition, extensive deforestation threatens to claim the last remaining areas of this species’ habitat (2) (3) (4). The Banggai crow may also be affected by competition with the slender-billed crow (C. enca) (3).

Following its rediscovery, conservation efforts are being undertaken to protect the Banggai crow and its forest habitat, promoting sustainable agriculture, and possibly eco-tourism, as well as educating local people about the bird’s plight (2) (5).

Along with these efforts, further surveys and the establishment of a protected area are necessary to ensure that the Banggai crow is not lost again (2).

For further information on the Banggai crow see:

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
arkive@wildscreen.org.uk

  1. IUCN Red List (October, 2009)
    http://www.iucnredlist.org
  2. BirdLife International (October, 2009)
    http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/species/index.html?action=SpcHTMDetails.asp&sid=5764&m=0
  3. Oriental Bird Club (October, 2009)
    http://www.orientalbirdclub.org/publications/basiafeats/lost2.html
  4. BirdLife International. (2001) Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, UK.
  5. Wildlife Extra (October, 2009)
    http://www.wildlifeextra.com/go/news/banggai-crow.html#cr