Common Raven

Corvus corax

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Ravens and humans have a complex and interesting relationship. Although not a domesticated species, ravens have been found in and around human communities for centuries and have often been incorporated into legend, art and popular culture. Like Coyotes, Raccoons and squirrels, the Common Raven is an animal which adapts easily to the urban landscape and often thrives in proximity to people. As a result, the bird is often referred to as “urban wildlife.”

With glossy black plumage and stocky bodies, the Common Raven is frequently mistaken for the American Crow. The raven is distinguished from the crow by its larger size and a thicker, triangular-shaped bill. When in flight, they can also be distinguished by the shape of the tail: crows have a fan-shaped tail, while ravens have a spade-shaped tail. Both birds have similar habits and are often found together in public parks, roadsides, landfills, fields and farmland. Ravens are not as social as crows however, and are usually seen alone or in very small groups. Both birds are opportunistic eaters who alternate between scavenging and hunting. Common foods include insects, small mammals, reptiles, eggs and carrion.

Ravens are among the most intelligent animals on earth, with some tests rating them as comparable to dolphins and chimpanzees. They are particularly good at problems-solving and can deceive or misdirect other animals to protect their food or nests.

Range and Habitat

The Common Raven appears on every continent in the Northern Hemisphere in virtually every habitat.

Conservation Status

Common. Because they are a generalist species which is highly adaptable, ravens may often live in close proximity to people. Raven populations have been increasing in the United States by 2.5% every year since 1966.