House Crows and Cinnamon Bittern

posted in: Interspecific | 2

“So far we’ve been speaking of House Crows (Corvus splendens) going after smaller victims, but once I’ve seen them tackle a bittern in the air.

“It was a Cinnamon Bittern (Ixobrychus cinnamomeus), an unfortunate Glass Window Casualty (see 1, 2). It reportedly crashed into the classroom block of my secondary school, and together with a friend I took it in and ‘nursed’ it (left top). It was nothing much, just some grazes on the wing and it was in a bit of a shock. Well, after a few days it looked healthy (and certainly much more aggressive) enough, so we decided to release it. We placed him on a nearby open field, and he lifted off beautifully and with purpose. We watched it go into the distance… and then, to our horror, a flock of about six or seven House Crows took flight from a tree close by, and cawed after it (left bottom). They closed the gap and tried to claw at it, the poor bittern trying its best to evade. It was a gripping and shocking aerial chase, a one-sided battle. My memory’s hazy, so I can’t remember the specifics but it ended with the messy flurry of black and brown headed for the ground. They fell behind some buildings some distance away, so I did not manage to find out what then happened. I was never really fond of crows to begin with but from that day on I absolutely disliked them.

PS: “I find that the Black-naped Orioles (Oriolus chinensis) frequently chase after crows, particularly if the crows have something in their bills – food? Kudos to the orioles.”

Jacqueline Lau
September 2007

(Images by of bittern by Tang Hung Bun; crow by YC Wee)

2 Responses

    • Sun Chong HOng

      I often saw Asian glossy Starlings, Black-naped orioles and even the tiny olive-backed sunbirds mobbing crows that intruded into their territories.

      Recently I saw a House Crow mobbing a White Bellied Sea Eagle that cross its path. The crow was flying north presumable to its roost while the sea eagle was flying eastward along the Bishan Park canal that is being upgraded now.

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