Департамент культуры A NESTLING OF A RARE SOUTHERN GROUND HORNBILL HAS APPEARED IN MOSCOW ZOO

A NESTLING OF A RARE SOUTHERN GROUND HORNBILL HAS APPEARED IN MOSCOW ZOO

18.10.2018

Spring and summer in the capital zoo are always rich in good news: many of its inhabitants get the offspring particularly during this period. This year Moscow zoo animals’ family has been replenished with the nestling of the Kaffir horned crow - a rare bird species with an unusual appearance and exceptional intellect.

The nestling hatched on March 23, it is three months old now and it has grown up, changed the baby fluff to adult plumage and has completely adapted to its enclosure. Its parents were brought to the zoo in 1998 from Tanzania, but for the first time they produced offspring only last year – at the age of 23.5 years. For the Kaffir crows, whose life expectancy is about 30-40 years, it is quite a respectable age, and therefore the appearance of the nestlings is a great joy for the zoo.

Kaffir horned crow is listed in the International Red book, it is also conducted the European Studbook, in which Moscow zoo takes part as well. The original habitat of these amazing birds is Southern Kenya, Angola, Northern Namibia and Botswana. Crows can be found in forests and savannas; they live in small groups consisting of a breeding pair and its nestlings remaining with their parents until puberty. Each group has its own territory and carefully protects its borders, scaring the rivals.

Horned crows spend most of their time on the ground, where they get their own food. The basis of their diet consists of arthropods, including grasshoppers, beetles, scorpions, termites; frogs, lizards, snakes (even poisonous), turtles, small rodents. The bird cracks down on its prey with strong blows of a large beak, and then throws it into the air to make it easier to swallow. A unique feature of Kaffir crows is rich vocalization. The shouting of crows, which is spread for 5 km around, can be confused with the roar of lions. Just because of the ability to make such sounds Kaffir crows are revered in many local tribes and are the heroes of many legends. For example, some aborigines believe that crows scare away evil spirits and carry the souls of the dead in their beaks.

You can see the Kaffir horned crows within the old territory of Moscow zoo: adult birds are kept in the outdoor enclosure of the Birds house next to the cassowaries, and the nestlings live in a separate enclosure, next to the crowned cranes near the Elephant house. When they grow up, it is planned to transfer them to one of the foreign or domestic zoos, where birds will be able to create their own family and breed nestlings.