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a family of birds of the order Passeriformes. The birds are of medium and large dimensions (up to 65 cm in length) with powerful beaks and claws. They have nostrils covered with trichoid feathers (adult rooks are an exception) and straight tails, which are either rounded or stepped. Some members of Corvidae (magpies, tropical magpies, and jays) have very long tails. The plumage is thick and in many species has a metallic luster. There are more than 100 species. They are distributed widely and found everywhere but Antarctica, New Zealand, and certain ocean islands. Their haunts are varied and include forests, steppes, deserts, mountains, and populated areas.
Usually members of Corvidae nest in separate pairs and less frequently in colonies. They are monogamous. They build their nests in trees or bushes, on rocks, and on the roofs of buildings. They lay three to eight speckled eggs once a year in early spring. Most species are roosting and migratory birds. They are omnivorous. Some members of Corvidae are useful as exterminators of murine rodents and harmful insects; others are harmful and damage crops (corn and sunflowers, for example) or destroy the eggs and fledglings of other birds. In the USSR there are 17 species, including the Alpine chough, raven, crow, jackdaw, rook, chough, Siberian jay, magpie, and jay.
REFERENCEPtitsy Sovetskogo Soiuza, vol. 5. Edited by G. P. Dement’ev and N. A. Gladkov. Moscow, 1954.
A. M. SUDILOVSKAIA