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Dutch Birding volume 37 (2015) no 1


House Crow at Hoek van Holland showing characters of subspecies zugmayeri in May 2012-July 2013

Since 1994, a small population of House Crows Corvus splendens in the Netherlands exists, centered in Hoek van Holland, Zuid-Holland (in 2014, most of the population was eradicated, commissioned by the Dutch national government). Like most populations of this species outside of their original range, these birds are possibly of mixed subspecific identity. Most of the birds at Hoek van Holland are likely related to the original breeding pair (which was first noted in April 1994 and first bred in 1997). However, new arrivals since then cannot be excluded, especially since House Crows presumably not originating from Hoek van Holland have been observed in other parts of the country and Europe. From May 2012 until July 2013 (possibly into October 2013), a strikingly pale House Crow was observed in Hoek van Holland, showing characters of the palest subspecies C s zugmayeri from Iran, Pakistan and Jammu and Kashmir, India. Given that the Hoek van Holland population could be of mixed subspecific background, it is possible that this bird was a locally bred individual with zugmayeri genes. On the other hand, when first observed, it was in adult plumage, so one would think that it would have been noticed before if it had been hatched locally. Most likely, this individual therefore was a new arrival but it is not certain whether the bird was a pure zugmayeri. Note that in March 1997, a pale looking bird was photographed at Hoek van Holland which may have been responsible for introducing zugmayeri genes into the population. However, the original photograph is overexposed and it is uncertain if this actually concerned a different, pale individual; in any case, between March 1997 and May 2012, no such pale bird has been reported or photographed. Because there appears to be much variation within House Crow taxa and an aberrantly coloured nominate could not be ruled out, the Dutch rarities committee (CDNA) decided not to accept the record as zugmayeri.

Gert Ottens, Ganzebloem 14, 3984 CG, Odijk, Nederland