Forests, mountains and other rocky areas, shrublands, grasslands, tundra, farms, and urban areas
Most of North America, Europe, Asia, and the Mediterranean
Least Concern (IUCN Red List)
This species is
to the Truckee Meadows.
Common ravens are large, all-black birds with shiny feathers. While they are closely related to crows and look similar, there are some distinct differences. At around two feet long with almost four-foot wingspans, ravens are larger than crows. Raven beaks are larger and curvier than those of crows, and the bristles at the bases of their beaks are noticeably larger. Raven and crow tails are different as well, with raven tails resembling a wedge and crow tails rounded and fan-shaped. Looking at a raven or crow isn't the only way to tell them apart, either. Crow calls resemble caws and purrs, whereas ravens make deep, gurgling croaking sounds.
Ravens are very intelligent birds that often perform as well as chimpanzees on certain tasks.
Ravens' intelligence makes them excellent predators. Pairs of ravens have been observed raiding seabird colonies using a strategy where one bird distracts an incubating adult while the other waits to grab the eggs once they are uncovered. Ravens have also been seen to wait in trees for ewes (female sheep) to give birth before snatching the newborn.
Ravens are known to be excellent acrobatic flyers. Young ravens have been observed playing games by dropping sticks in the air and diving to catch them in midair.
Ravens will cache food from large sources, such as carcasses or seabird nests, for later consumption.
Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Common Raven, 2021, https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Common_Raven/lifehistory
Cornell Lab of Ornithology, How to Tell a Raven From a Crow, 2012, https://www.audubon.org/news/how-tell-raven-crow
IUCN Red List, Common Raven, 2021, https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/22706068/113271893
Scientific American, Young Ravens Rival Adult Chimps in a Big Test of General Intelligence, 2020, https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/young-ravens-rival-adult-chimps-in-a-big-test-of-general-intelligence/#:~:text=Scientists%20and%20casual%20observers%20alike,corvid%20relatives%20are%20extremely%20smart.&text=%E2%80%9CQuite%20often%2C%20in%20single%20tasks,at%20Osnabr%C3%BCck%20University%20in%20Germany.
Image: Bryant Olsen, https://www.flickr.com/photos/bryanto/4517678629,CC license https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/, cropped from original.
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