Corvid Behaviour

To: Birding Aus <>
Subject: Corvid Behaviour
From: Scot Mcphee <>
Date: Mon, 25 Aug 2008 20:30:23 +1000

On 25-08-2008, at 8:03 PM, L&L Knight wrote:

I was outside of my house the other day when I noticed a T. Crow at the back of a property across the street with its wings spread. That was not something I could recall seeing before, so I popped inside to collect my binoculars.

I initially thought the bird was caught on something and hanging down, but it moved and I was able to see that it had both its wing and tail feathers fully spread - the effect reminded me a bit of the posture assumed by riflebirds. It held that attitude for a few minutes before being approached by another crow and they both dropped out of sight.

Is that wing & tail spread position typical of corvid mating display behaviour?

Some years ago we once observed two Australian Ravens on the ground, in the grounds of NSW Government House. It's hard to describe what they were doing. They were facing each other, closely, their heads held up and back and their beaks open slightly, with their wings spread, held open kinda like the way a cormorant holds its wings out to dry, not fully spread out. Big and glossy blue-black birds in their prime shining in the bright sunlight. We stumbled upon them they were on the grounds in the garden at the back, not more than 3 or 4 metres away. They held this position for quite a while, i.e. 15 minutes or more. We weren't sure whether it was a mating or dominance display or even a defensive posture, as there was a noisy miner harrassing them, but only intermittently (although why two ravens would be concerned with a single noisy miner, I don't know).


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