Common Raven

Scientific Name:

Corvus corax

Type:

Bird

Habitat:

Forests, mountains and other rocky areas, shrublands, grasslands, tundra, farms, and urban areas

Range:

Most of North America, Europe, Asia, and the Mediterranean

Status:

Least Concern (IUCN Red List)

This species is

NATIVE

to the Truckee Meadows.

Identification:

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.

Fast Facts:

  • 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.

Sources:

Contributor(s):

Haley McGuire (research & content)

Alex Shahbazi (edits & page design)

Last Updated:

May 12, 2021, 1:03:44 AM