The brown-necked raven is an omnivore, with a diet that consists of a wide range of food types, including berries and fruits, insects, snakes, birds and small mammals, and occasionally even sickly newborn lambs and gazelles. As an intelligent, versatile and highly adaptable species, the brown-necked raven displays a great variety of foraging strategies, often visiting mangroves to steal from bird nests, scavenging for food from rubbish dumps and visiting roads, where it searches for road kill, and also probes underneath rocks for insects and grain (2). It also feeds on the parasites of larger animals, and even aggravates sores, so that it can feed on the blood. Furthermore, as a result of its high degree of intelligence, the brown-necked raven has learnt to hunt cooperatively, and may do so to flush insects out of long grass (2) (4). It is possible, like other members of the crow family, that the brown-necked raven hoards food, using memory to locate hidden food stashes, allowing the bird to survive during periods when food is scarce (2) (4).
The brown-necked raven is monogamous, forming a lifelong pair bond. The breeding season typically lasts for three to four months, with the timing of breeding varying greatly over the species’ large range, and just one clutch is laid per year. Pairs nest alone, far away from other brown-necked ravens, with the nest often constructed underneath a lappet-faced vulture (Torgos tracheliotos) nest for protection. Occasionally a deserted raptor nest may be used (2). A clutch of between two and six eggs is laid (5), but in true desert environments clutch size drops to just two or three eggs. The male collects and brings food to the incubating female, but after hatching both adult birds take care of the chicks. Occasionally the pair are assisted in raising the chicks by offspring from the previous year. After fledging, juveniles join non-breeding adults in roving flocks (2).