Mischief – African White-necked Raven
Hatched: April 20, 2001
Mischief was hatched to parents who belong to the World Bird Sanctuary and live in Florida as part of a breeding loan program. He arrived at World Bird Sanctuary on 5/29/01, along with his siblings, Lenore and Chaos. Mischief quickly took his place in our Education Department, and has become one of the most popular parts of our shows with his demonstration of how even a bird can recycle. He also demonstrates the amazing mimic abilities of many corvids. He can say “Hi!”, “Hello”, coughs, burps, hoots like an owl, laughs, and when he’s feeling particularly feisty likes to tell our naturalists to “Go to your perch!” Possibly his most popular routine is during intermissions and at the end of shows, when he accepts donations from audience members and stuffs the money into the donation box.
Like our native North American Crows, white-naped ravens are members of the Corvid family. Corvids are omnivores and will eat just about anything. Some of Mischief’s favorite treats are grapes and dry dog-food soaked in water. But his very favorite treat by far is a nice plump mealworm.
Ravens and crows are exceptionally intelligent birds. Our staff finds that during training they must be on their toes and ever alert to keep one step ahead of this little dynamo.
Species: African White-necked Raven
Latin Name: Corvus albicollis
Description: head and neck bronzy-brown so dark as to appear black, with a broad white collar at the base of the hind-neck; legs and bill are heavy; beak is black with a white tip; eyes are dark brown
Sex: males slightly larger than females
Age: 25-50 years
Weight: 1.5-2.5 lbs.
Habitat: cliffs and rocky escarpments, coastal hills, open country, including open mountain forest; found chiefly between 1000m and 3000m
Status: generally uncommon, or locally common; large numbers assemble at carcasses, which indicates a healthy population
Range: Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenya, south to Cape Province
Behavior: breeding season September & October to December; usually found in pairs, which remain on established territories year round; solitary nester; nest composed of twigs and branches in an inaccessible tree, or more often on a cliff ledge; 1-6 light green eggs, streaked and spotted olive, brown and gray are laid; incubation 19-21 days
Diet: omnivore; carrion, small vertebrates, large insects, fruits and grains
Vocalization: high-pitched “kroorh-kroorh” or “kraak-kraak-kraak”; many other vocalizations as well, including a deep, throaty, raspy croak
- The Raven figures prominently in folklore and legends; Native American folklore holds that the raven created the world and its creatures.