Fun Piapiac Facts For Kids

Gurpuneet Kaur
Oct 20, 2022 By Gurpuneet Kaur
Originally Published on Sep 01, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Pradhanya Rao
Some interesting and fun piapiac facts to remember.
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.1 Min

Species from the crow family are among the most intelligent birds of the world. The piapiac, Ptilostomus afer (Linnaeus, 1766), is yet another member of the crow family.

In 2005, it was reported that it is closely related to Central Asian ground jay.

The African bird is also known as Corvus afer and also has several vernacular names like spitzschwanzelster in German, piapiac africain in French, piapiak in Swedish, and black magpie in English. The piapiac is a glossy black magpie-like bird with a geographic range from Senegal on the west to Sudan and southern Ethiopia.

If the uniqueness of the piapiac makes you interested to read more about similar species, you can read about rook and vesper sparrow

Piapiac Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a piapiac?

Piapiac, Ptilostomus afer, is a black bird classified as a member of the crow family. While it has several vernacular names like spitzschwanzelster, piapiac africain, piapiak, and black magpie, it also has a scientific synonym, Corvus afer. It is a magpie-like bird and closely related to Central Asian ground jay (Podoces) and European magpie (Pica pica).

What class of animal does a piapiac belong to?

The piapiac, Ptilostomus afer or Corvus afer (Linnaeus 1766), belongs to the kingdom Animalia, phylum Chordata, class Aves, order Passeriformes, and family Corvidae. More specifically, it is a member of the crow family and is the only member of the genus Ptilostomus. The African piapiac, jaybird, is listed under the handbook of the birds of the world.

How many piapiacs are there in the world?

While the distribution of the population of piapiac, Ptilostomus afer, is not quantified, the African birds of the world are speculated to have a considerable population with no major risks.

Also, it is categorized as one of the Least Concern species under the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The distribution of the bird ranges from Senegal on the west coast of Africa to Sudan and Ethiopia in the eastern parts of the country.

While piapiac, Ptilostomus afer, is quite common to sight, the Spix's macaw is one of the rarest birds of the world.

Where does a piapiac live?

The distribution of the piapiac, Ptilostomus afer, highlights Senegal on the west coast to Sudan and southern Ethiopia towards the east in Africa. The current range map of the African bird is confined to the tropical equatorial region of the country. While there are several speculations about whether the bird migrates, no data are confirming the same.

What is a piapiac's habitat?

The habitat of the piapiac (Ptilostomus afer), the only bird from the genus Ptilostomus, comprises cultivated lands, fields, rural villages, and towns. It is a common resident of the palm savanna. Its breeding habitat ranges around the palm trees as the bird often nests on the palm trees.

Who do piapiacs live with?

While the piapiac, Ptilostomus afer, is closely related to jays – especially the Central Asian ground jay – it is often found in mixed groups. It often moves in flocks of ten birds around the world, feeding on insects and invertebrates.

How long does a piapiac live?

The piapiac, Ptilostomus afer, does not have a specified average life span recorded so far. The members of the Corvus family are speculated to live up to 15-20 years in the wild.

How do they reproduce?

The piapiac, Ptilostomus afer, nests on the palm trees. While the breeding season is not specified in any of the data recorded so far, the adult birds are speculated to breed before march as eggs are laid from March to April.

Also, the breeding season may differ according to the range of the bird; the breeding season in Senegal may vary from the breeding season in Sudan. The female lays around three to seven eggs.

What is their conservation status?

The piapiac, Ptilostomus afer, is listed as Least Concern under the IUCN Red List of Threatened species. It is considered one of the common species and is at no major risk according to the current data.

Piapiac Fun Facts

What do piapiacs look like?

The bird often sighted in Senegal, the piapiac, Ptilostomus afer, has black plumage. While it is quite similar to the European magpie (Pica pica), it is smaller and slimmer than the European magpie, also the bill is broader. The bill is black for adults, and the bill is red-pink at the base in juveniles.

The nasal plumes on the top of its bill are covered with nostrils. The bird has a purple iridescence in good light, while the tail is brown.

The legs and feet are also black and feet are robust. The piapiac eyes have varying colors of their iris. Its physical descriptions are some of its identifiable features.

The piapiac egg is pale blue-green in color with brown blotches.

It is a black bird with a long brown tail

How cute are they?

The piapiac, Ptilostomus afer, is a black bird with a bright purple iridescence. Black is after all everyone's favorite, so the bird is considered adorable.

How do they communicate?

The piapiac, Ptilostomus afer, communicates via vocalizations. The voice of the bird from the genus Ptilostomus is speculated to be similar to the jackdaw. The voice is shrilling and croaking.

While jackdaw can be taught human speech, the piapiac (Ptilotomus afer) is not capable to adapt human speech. The calls of jackdaw sound like 'kak-kak' or 'chyak-chyak', every member of the Corvus family have a similar call. The birds from the order Passeriformes are also considered singing birds.

How big is a piapiac?

The piapiac, Ptilostomus afer, is 13.8-16.5 in (35-42 cm) long. The size of the birds of the world from the Corvus family usually ranges between 13-28 in (34-70 cm). It is smaller than an ostrich.

How fast can a piapiac fly?

While an American crow is recorded to fly at a speed of 70 mph (113 kph), the speed of the piapiac (Ptilostomus afer) is not recorded. Since the piapiac (Ptilostomus afer) and American crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) belong to the same family, they are closely related and considered to have similar characteristics including their speed.

The piapiac (Ptilostomus afer) is speculated to run faster and hop at a slower speed.

How much does a piapiac weigh?

The piapiac, Ptilostomus afer, from the genus Ptilostomus weighs up to 4.2-4.5 oz (121-130 g). While a kori bustard is recorded as the heaviest bird in Africa, the piapiac (Ptilostomus afer) is more than ten times lighter than a kori bustard. The kori bustard weighs around 12-40 lb (5-18 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

The piapiac male and piapiac female do not have specific names according to their sex. However, hen and rooster are common names for the female and male species of birds, respectively.

What would you call a baby piapiac?

The piapiac baby has several common names around the world like a chick, hatching, fledging, nestling, or juvenile.

What do they eat?

The piapiac, Ptilostomus afer, from the genus Ptilostomus feeds on a variety of insects and invertebrates. The diet of the piapiac (Ptilostomus afer) comprises the meat of dead animals such as insects and invertebrates, and fruits, mainly oily fruit of the oil palm.

Are they dangerous?

No, the Piapiac (Ptilostomus afer), the only species in the genus Ptilostomus, does not possess any danger.

Would they make a good pet?

The piapiac (Ptilostomus afer) is closely associated with the crows and jays. While crows and jays are considered migratory birds, they are illegal to be petted. Also, they are often found inhabiting human habilitations around the world, the birds can be kept in captivity.

Did you know...

The piapiac (Ptilostomus afer) is a magpie-like bird with its history dating back to the 1760s as it was first documented in the 1760s by a French zoologist. Further, the species was coined by Linnaeus in 1766.

Birds around the world have distinctive nests characterized according to their size, color, or material used to build. Likewise, the piapiac, Ptilostomus afer, uses palm leaves and grass to construct its nest which is cemented using mud. The cup-shaped nest is lined with palm fiber.

How did the piapiacs get their name?

The piapiac, Ptilostomus afer, has several vernacular names and scientific or binomial names. While it is known with different names in various languages around the world like spitzschwanzelster in German, piapiac africain in French, and piapiak in Swedish, it also has a scientific synonym, Corvus afer.

'Afer' is the Latin term for 'Africa', because the bird dominates Senegal to Sudan and Ethiopia in Africa and is quite rare in the other parts of the world. The data lacks to justify the piapiac name.

Are piapiacs related to blue jays?

The piapiac, Ptilostomus afer, is a member of the Corvus family and so is the blue jay. They are related to each other. Also, in 2005, the birds were published to be closely associated with ground jays in Central Asia.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these blue jay facts and cockatoo facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable stint bird coloring pages.

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Written by Gurpuneet Kaur

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Economics

Gurpuneet Kaur picture

Gurpuneet KaurBachelor of Arts specializing in Economics

As a skilled content writer, Gurpuneet has written and managed engaging content for multiple websites and companies. Driven by a passion for helping young people achieve their full potential, she brings a unique perspective to her work. She is currently pursuing a degree in Economics from Sri Guru Gobind Singh College Of Commerce. With extensive experience as a tutor, Gurpuneet has made a significant impact by providing guidance and academic support to students. Her dedication extends beyond tutoring as she has volunteered with Action India, where she offered medical assistance and educational aid to underprivileged communities. Additionally, Gurpuneet has contributed to the creation of student study guides for various educational agencies.

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Fact-checked by Pradhanya Rao

Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Marketing and HR

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Pradhanya RaoBachelor of Commerce specializing in Marketing and HR

With a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from Christ University, Bangalore, Pradhanya's passion for the English language and literature led her to explore the field of content writing, where she has gained extensive experience in writing, reviewing, editing, and fact-checking. She has also earned certifications in Google Ads Search, Google Ads Display, and Social Media Marketing, showcasing her proficiency in digital marketing.

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