Infestation on House Crow’s feet

posted in: Crows, Miscellaneous | 0

“Notice the growth on the feet of this House Crow (Corvus splendens) photographed immediately after diners had left their table in an open air restaurant.

“These crows were earlier feeding on food-waste dumped in the open behind the restaurant (above, below). After picking up leftovers from the table, they returned to the same dump to actually feed.

“As per my exchanges with experts, the scabrous crusty legs of the crows (below) might be caused by a mite, Knemidocoptes or related species – see HERE and HERE. This can however, be confirmed only after testing the skin scraping – which in this case was not possible/done.

“These birds were feeding on food waste thrown in the open behind the restaurant where these pictures were taken (at Mahad, Western Ghats, India, photographed on 23rd March 2009). They had moved to the diners’ tables after the diners had left.

“My assumption was that the birds might have contracted the infestation by moving among decaying/rotting food waste. The fact that a friend had recorded a Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis) in another place with similar affliction in very similar surroundings reinforced my belief.

“However after seeing these photographs, a birder from US reported that in the US, he had seen blackbirds with similar but much less severe foot and leg problems. These birds had been spotted in parking lots where people occasionally threw them food bits, but then these parking lots were nothing like food dumps. He also reported that he knew of similar condition in parakeets and cockatiels, but never on such a full-blown scale.”

Shyam Ghate
Mumbai, India
23rd August 2018

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