Crows (Corvidae)

Piapiac (Ptilostomus afer) - HBW 14, p. 616

French: Piapiac africain German: Spitzschwanzelster Spanish: Piapiac
Other common names: Black Magpie

Taxonomy: Corvus afer Linnaeus, 1766, Senegal.
Long, graduated tail, sociable habits and piping calls of this peculiar corvid suggest, as with Zavattariornis, an affinity with the starlings (Sturnidae), but DNA-sequencing supports its inclusion in present family, with closest relatives evidently Podoces and Zavattariornis. Very unusual among passerine genera in having ten (instead of twelve) tail feathers. Monotypic.

Distribution: SW Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia and Guinea Bissau E through N Guinea, N Ivory Coast, S Mali, S Burkina Faso, N & E Ghana, N Togo, N Benin, S Niger and N Nigeria E in narrow band to SW Sudan, thence S to extreme NE DRCongo, Uganda (except SW & E), SW Ethiopia and extreme W Kenya. Also a few old reports from Sierra Leone and one recent record from Liberia, and isolated records from N PRCongo.

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