Common Raven – Profile | Facts | Size | Flight | Traits | Nest

Common Raven

Common Raven is a giant, blackbird, with a sturdy, heavy bills. They look relatively like American Crows however are a lot bigger and may weigh more than 4 instances as a lot.

Common Raven profile

When the size is not sufficient to tell apart the 2 species, search for the heavier bill and the shaggy feathers across the raven’s throat. In-flight, the raven exhibits a wedge-shaped tail from beneath, not like the crow, which has a barely rounded tail.

Its wings are longer and fewer rounded, reminding one in all a raptor. Ravens additionally usually soar and glide, whereas crows are inclined to flap repeatedly and fly in a direct path.

Ravens are normally seen in pairs or small family teams relatively than within the giant flocks that crow usually kind.

Of the birds categorized as perching birds or “songbirds,” the Common Raven is the biggest, the size of a hawk. Often its deep croaking call will alert the observer to a pair of ravens hovering high overhead.

An intelligent and remarkably adaptable bird, dwelling as a scavenger and predator, Common Raven will possibly survive in any respect seasons in the environment as totally different as sizzling desert and high Arctic tundra.

Once pushed from a lot of its eastern range, the raven is now making a comeback.

Geographic Range

Common ravens are one of the crucial widespread, naturally occurring birds worldwide. They are present in northern Europe, the British Isles, Greenland (primarily coastal areas), Iceland, northern Scandinavia, east by way of central Asia to the Pacific Ocean and south to the Himalayas and northwestern India, Iranian area and close to the east, northwestern Africa and the Canary Islands, and North and Central America as far south as Nicaragua.

Common Raven Overview

The intriguing Common Raven has accompanied people across the Northern Hemisphere for hundreds of years, following their wagons, sleds, sleighs, and looking events in hopes of a fast meal.

Common Raven is among the many smartest of all birds, gaining a fame for fixing ever more sophisticated issues invented by ever more creative scientists.

These large, sooty birds thrive amongst people and within the back of the past, stretching throughout the sky on straightforward, flowing wingbeats and filling the empty areas with an echoing croak.

Common Ravens aren’t as social as crows; you are inclined to see them alone or in pairs besides at meal sources like landfills.

Common Raven is certain, inquisitive birds that strut around or often certain ahead with light, two-footed hops. In-flight they’re buoyant and swish, interspersing hovering, gliding, and sluggish flaps.

Common Ravens stay in open and forest habitats throughout western and northern North America. This contains deciduous and evergreen forests as much as treeline, in addition to high desert, beach, sagebrush, tundra, and grasslands. They do nicely round people, notably rural settlements but additionally some cities and cities.

Common Raven Description

A mature widespread raven ranges between 54 and 67 cm (21″ and 26″) long, with a wingspan of 115 to 150 cm (45–51″. Recorded weights range from 0.69 to 2 kg (1.5 to 4.4 lb), thus making the widespread raven one of many heaviest passerines.

Birds from colder areas such because the Himalayas and Greenland are typically bigger with barely bigger bills, whereas these from hotter areas are smaller with proportionally smaller bills.

The representative of the size variation within the species, ravens from California weighed an average of 784 g (1.728 lb), those from Alaska weighed an average of 1,135 g (2.502 lb), and people from Nova Scotia weighed an average of 1,230 g (2.71 lb).

The bill is giant and barely curved, with a culmen size of 5.7 to eight.5 cm (2.2 to 3.3 in), simply one of many largest bills amongst passerines (maybe solely the thick-billed raven has a noticeably bigger bill).

It has a longish, strongly graduated tail, at 20 to 26.3 cm (7.9 to 10.Four in), and largely black iridescent plumage, and a darkish brown iris. The throat feathers are elongated and pointed and the bases of the neck feathers are pale brownish-grey.

The legs and feet are good-sized, with a tarsus size of 6 to 7.2 cm (2.Four to 2.eight in). Juvenile plumage is comparable however duller with a blue-grey iris.

Apart from its larger size, the widespread raven differs from its cousins, the crows, by having a bigger and heavier black beak, shaggy feathers across the throat and above the beak, and a wedge-shaped tail.

Flying ravens are distinguished from crows by their tail form, bigger wing space, and more stable hovering fashion, which typically includes much less wing flapping.

Despite their bulk, ravens are simply as agile in flight as their smaller cousins. In-flight the feathers produce a creaking sound that has been likened to the rustle of silk.

The voice of ravens can be fairly distinct, its ordinary call being a deep croak of a lot more sonorous high quality than a crow’s call.

In North America, the Chihuahuan raven (C. cryptoleucus) is pretty just like the comparatively small widespread ravens of the American southwest and is greatest distinguished by the nonetheless comparatively smaller size of its bill, beard, and body and a comparatively longer tail.

All-black carrion crow (C. corone) in Europe could recommend a raven because of their largish bill however are nonetheless distinctly smaller and have the wing and tail shapes typical of crows.

Common Raven Reproduction

There is little information on when or how to pair formation happens. Displays happen between people all through the year, a few of which can be courtship.

These shows are most intense within the fall and winter. There is proof that pairs keep collectively all through the year however no concrete proof that mating occurs at all times.

Females invite copulation by crouching barely or opening, extending, or drooping their wings and shaking or quivering a barely raised tail.

Breeding and egg-laying happen between mid-February and late May, although most clutches are begun in March or April. The breeding season varies by area and by the size of the winter.

Usually, 3 to 7 eggs are laid per nest and incubated for 20 to 25 days. Nests are made largely of sticks, are asymmetrical, and measure 40 to 153 cm diameter by 20 to 61 cm high on the base and 22 to 40 cm diameter by 13 to 15 cm deep within the cup.

Young depart the nest between 5 and seven weeks of age. They could then depart the world, and their family, inside per week or could stay with the parents for a more prolonged time frame. Sexual maturity is reached at about 3 years of age.


A wild raven was recorded dwelling for 13 years and 4 months. Captive birds could stay for much longer, one captive particular person was recorded to have lived 80 years, and captives on the Tower of London in England stay for 44 years or more. Probably most typical ravens die throughout their first few years of life.

Common Raven Behavior

Common Raven is recognized for his or her intelligence and complicated social dynamics. They appear able to studying innovative options for newly encountered issues.

Common Raven usually forage in bigger teams in areas the place sources are concentrated, and non-breeding people could occupy communal roosts, however mostly ravens happen alone or in pairs.

Breeding pairs set up nesting territories, which differ in size with the density of sources within the space. Migration has not been recorded in widespread ravens, however, populations on the edges of their range could make shorter seasonal actions to keep away from extreme climate.


Boreal and mountain forests, coastal cliffs, tundra, desert. Can stay in a really big selection of habitats, from tundra above the Arctic Circle to sizzling desert areas of the southwest. Often in the closely forested nation; may stay on prairies if good nest sites (on cliffs) exist close by.

Common Raven Communication

Common Raven is a very vocal animal, with various suites of calls and non-vocal sounds for various functions and social contexts. From 15 to 33 classes of vocalizations have been described on this species.

There are alarm calls, consolation sounds, chase calls, and calls designed for promoting territories. Common ravens could possibly mimic sounds of different animals however this has not been unambiguously documented.

It can be possible that they’re merely able to an enormous range of sounds and innovation sufficient to create calls that sound like these of others.

Young birds have interaction in vocal play, through which they seemingly undergo their total repertoire of sounds, pitches, and volumes for minutes or hours at a time. Nonvocal sounds embody wing whistles and bill snapping.

Common Raven Vocal

Common ravens have a large range of vocalizations that are of curiosity to ornithologists. Gwinner carried out vital research within the early 1960s, recording and photographing his findings in great element.

Fifteen to 30 classes of vocalization have been recorded for this species, most of that is used for social interplay. Calls recorded embody alarm calls, chase calls, and flight calls.

The species has a particular, deep, resonant prruk-prruk-prruk call, which to skilled listeners is not like that of every other corvid. Its very large and complicated vocabulary features a high, knocking toc-toc-toc, a dry, grating kraa, a low guttural rattle, and a few calls of a nearly musical nature.

Like different corvids, the widespread raven can mimic sounds from their surroundings, together with human speech. Non-vocal sounds produced by the widespread raven embody wing whistles and bill snapping.

Clapping or clicking has been noticed more usually in females than in males. If a member of a pair is lost, its mate reproduces the calls of its lost partner to encourage its return.

Common Raven Food Habits

Common ravens are primarily scavengers. They eat a wide selection of animal meals, together with arthropods, amphibians, small mammals, birds, reptiles, and carrion.

They are interested in carrion and eat additionally the bugs that feed on carrion (mainly on maggots and beetles). They are additionally recognized to eat the afterbirth of ewes and different giant mammals.

Vegetable meals embody grains, acorns, fruits, and buds. Stomach analyses present that the diet is made up primarily of mammalian flesh, adopted by bugs and birds.

Common ravens take their meals from the ground and can retail meals of every kind, together with nuts, bones, eggs, and meat. Young ravens start to experiment with caching edible and non-edible objects quickly after leaving the nest.

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Not simply giant however large, with a thick neck, shaggy throat feathers, and a Bowie knife of a beak. In-flight, ravens have long, wedge-shaped tails. They’re more slender than crows, with longer, narrower wings, and longer, thinner “fingers” on the wingtips.

Common Raven Intelligence

Common Raven has been noticed calling wolves to the site of useless animals. The wolves open the carcass, leaving the scraps more accessible to the birds.

They watch the place different widespread ravens bury their meals and bear in mind the areas of one another’s meals caches, to allow them to steal from them.

This sort of theft happens so often that widespread ravens will fly additional distances from a meal source to search out higher hiding locations for meals.

They have additionally been noticed pretending to make a cache without really depositing the meals, presumably to confuse onlookers.

Common ravens are recognized to steal and cache shiny objects equivalent to pebbles, items of metal, and golf balls. One principle is that they hoard shiny objects to impress different ravens.

Another analysis signifies that juveniles are deeply inquisitive about all new issues and that widespread ravens retain an attraction to vivid, round objects primarily based on their similarity to bird eggs. Mature birds lose their intense curiosity within the uncommon and develop into extremely neophobic.


Common Ravens are totally black, right right down to the legs, eyes, and beak.

Common Raven Play

There has been growing recognition of the extent to which birds have interaction in play. Juvenile widespread ravens are among the many most playful of bird species. They have been noticed to slip down snowbanks, apparently purely for enjoyment.

They even have interaction in video games with different species, equivalent to enjoying catch-me-if-you-can with wolves, otters, and dogs. Common ravens are recognized for spectacular aerobatic shows, equivalent to flying in loops or interlocking talons with one another in flight.

They are additionally one in all only some wild animals who make their very own toys. They have been noticed breaking off twigs to play with socially.

Common Raven Diet

Omnivorous. May feed on virtually something, however, the majority of diet apparently is animal matter. Feeds on all kinds of bugs, together with beetles, caterpillars, and others; additionally rodents, lizards, frogs, and eggs and younger of different birds. Regularly eat carrion and rubbish.

Typically forages in pairs, the 2 birds typically cooperating to flush out prey. Searches for nests, to eat the eggs or younger birds. An opportunist, profiting from momentary meal sources.

Does most feeding on the ground. Often feeds as a scavenger, trying to find carrion or visiting rubbish dumps. In northern Alaska (Pt. Barrow) in winter, seen feeding at dump below artificial lights.


4-6, typically 3-7. Greenish, blotched with olive or brown. Incubation is generally or totally by the feminine, about 18-21 days. Male feeds feminine throughout incubation.

Young: Both parents deliver meals for nestlings, and feminine broods them whereas they’re small. Young depart nest about 5-6 weeks after hatching.


Both parents deliver meals for nestlings, and feminine broods them whereas they’re small. Young depart nest about 5-6 weeks after hatching.

Common Raven Nesting

In courtship display, male soars swoop and tumble in mid-air. Pair could soar high collectively; when perched, they contact bills, preen one another’s feathers.

Nest site is normally on the ledge of a rock cliff, or high in a tall tree (particularly conifer). May use similar site year after year, including materials on top of the old nest.

Both sexes assist construct. The nest is a cumbersome basket of enormous sticks and twigs, with deep melancholy in middle lined with grass, bark strips, moss, animal hair.

Where to search out

Look for ravens wherever from the outskirts of cities (notably landfills) to foothill forests or scrub, and out to the deep woods of mountains and national parks.

If they’re around you’re prone to hear a deep gurgling croak from far overhead: search for a long-tailed blackbird flying on long wings and straightforward, swish wingbeats.

When driving, maintain a watch out for them on the roadsides, gathered at roadkill, or flying straight down the middle line looking out.

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Common Raven Facts

The Common Raven is an acrobatic flier, usually doing rolls and somersaults within the air. One bird was seen flying the wrong way up for more than a half-mile.

Young birds are keen on enjoying video games with sticks, repeatedly dropping them, then diving to catch them in midair.

Breeding pairs of Common Ravens maintain territories and attempt to exclude all different ravens all through the year. In winter, younger ravens discovering a carcass will call different ravens to the prize. They apparently do that to overwhelm the native territory house owners by the drive of numbers to achieve entry to the meals.

Common Ravens are good, which makes them harmful predators. They typically work in pairs to raid seabird colonies, with one bird distracting an incubating adult and the opposite ready to seize an egg or chick as quickly because it’s uncovered. They’ve been seen ready in bushes as ewes give beginning, then attacking the new child lambs.

They additionally use their mind to place collectively trigger and impact. Research in Wyoming found that in looking season, the sound of a gunshot attracts ravens in to research a presumed carcass, whereas the birds ignore sounds which can be simply as loud however innocent, equivalent to an airhorn or a car door slamming.

People the world over sense a sure type of personality in ravens. Edgar Allan Poe clearly discovered them a bit creepy. The captive ravens on the Tower of London are beloved and maybe a bit of fear: legend has it that in the event that they ever depart the tower, the British Empire will crumble. Native people of the Pacific Northwest regard the raven as an incurable trickster, bringing fireplace to people by stealing it from the sun and stealing salmon solely to drop them in rivers everywhere in the world.

Increasing raven populations threaten some susceptible species together with desert tortoises, Marbled Murrelets, and Least Terns. Ravens could cause bother for people too.

They’ve been implicated in inflicting energy outages by contaminating insulators on energy traces, fouling satellite tv for pc dishes on the Goldstone Deep Space Site, peeling radar-absorbent materials off buildings on the China Lake Naval Weapons Center, pecking holes in airplane wings, stealing golf balls, opening campers’ tents, and raiding automobiles left open at parks.

Common Ravens can mimic the calls of different bird species. When raised in captivity, they will even imitate human phrases; one Common Raven raised from birth was taught to imitate the phrase “nevermore.”

The oldest recognized wild Common Raven was at the very least 22 years, 7 months old. It was banded and located in Nova Scotia.

Conservation Status

Common ravens have been persecuted by people for allegedly preying on lambs and crops. They are sometimes shot, poisoned, or captured in traps.

Ravens have been killed on a neighborhood scale as a way to defend different endangered species applications, such because the applications to guard desert tortoises and sandhill cranes, the place ravens have been implicated in predation on these animals.

In some components of their range, widespread ravens have been extirpated however some populations have gotten re-established.

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