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Location: Birds & Bats
Tags: common / raven / corvus / corax

Common Raven (Corvus corax)



Common Raven (Corvus corax)
Order: Passeriformes, Family: Corvidae

The raven is a large, black bird (the largest of all entirely black birds) with a wedge-shaped tail. It calls frequently, and has a peculiar hoarse, resonant croak. The sexes are very similar physically, although the female is smaller. The raven's range is widespread to say the least. It encompasses northwest Europe, Britain, Holarctic, Greenland (mainly coastal areas), Iceland, northern Scandinavia, east to Pacific, central Asia to the Himalayas and northwest India, Iran and the Near East, northwest Africa and Canary Islands, North and Central America.



I. DESCRIPTION:
  • The raven is a large, black bird (the largest of all entirely black birds) with a wedge-shaped tail. It calls frequently, and has a peculiar hoarse, resonant croak.
  • The sexes are very similar physically, although the female is smaller.
II. GEOGRAPHICAL RANGE AND HABITAT:
  • The raven's range is widespread to say the least. It encompasses northwest Europe, Britain, Holarctic, Greenland (mainly coastal areas), Iceland, northern Scandinavia, east to Pacific, central Asia to the Himalayas and northwest India, Iran and the Near East, northwest Africa and Canary Islands, North and Central America.
  • Ravens live in a variety of habitats, including tundra, coastline, riverbanks, rocky cliffs, mountain forests, plains, deserts, open mountainous or coastal regions, and sometimes woodlands or desert. They roost on cliff ledges or in trees.
III. DIET:
  • Ravens take most of their food from the ground. They like to eat carrion and especially the insects that feed on it (e.g. maggots and beetles). They also feed on the afterbirth of ewes and other large mammals, small mammals, reptiles, frogs, young or wounded birds, some mollusca and other invertebrates. In addition, they eat vegetable foods, such as grains, acorns and cherries.
  • Ravens have learned to eat bread offered by humans. Scavengers, they often rob feeding vultures. Ravens usually hide and store any surplus food. They sometimes carry food in their feet.
IV. LIFE CYCLE/SOCIAL STRUCTURE:
  • Females usually lay three to six eggs per nest, in late February or early March. Incubation is 18 to 19 days, and male ravens play no part in the process.
  • Both sexes take care of young. Courtship consists of several elaborate displays. The female invites the male by crouching slightly, or by extending, opening or drooping her wings and quivering her ever-so-slightly raised tail.
  • Ravens are territorial and breed in pairs. Immature ravens form roaming flocks. Ravens walk or hop while on the ground; in the sky, they become skilled aviators, frequently gliding, soaring and performing acrobatics.
  • They're crafty birds, resourceful and quick to learn. They frequently call, or beg, and will threaten fellow ravens or other animals with an open bill. Ravens can also be shy and wary creatures. They live in communal roosts and usually stay in pairs.
V. SPECIAL NOTES/ADAPTATIONS:
  • Positive: Ravens eat dead animals, which could carry disease. Edgar Allen Poe popularized them in "The Raven."
  • Negative: They sometimes consume human food.



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