Many species of birds are known to collect and incorporate mammalian hair into their nests, presumably to augment their reproductive success. Birds source it from dead animals, shed hairs, and even live animals. Here, we report theft of hair (kleptotrichy) from a live cow by 2 Large-billed Crows (Corvus macrorhynchos culminatus) in India, along with photographic evidence. The crows strenuously plucked the hair from the tail of a resting cow. The crows flew away with beakfuls of hair and returned after 5 min to repeat the same. The function of kleptotrichy is not clearly known—thermal regulation and predator/parasite deterrence have been offered as explanations. This is the first report of kleptotrichy by Large-billed Crows from a live mammal.

You do not currently have access to this content.