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Common Raven

Corvus corax

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54 - 67cm

1.1 - 1.5m

0.7 - 2kg

10 - 15 yrs

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The common raven is the most widely distributed of all corvid species, occurring throughout the Northern Hemisphere. It is perhaps one of the most culturally significant birds, with many depictions in ancient mythology and folklore associating it with evil conspiracies and godlike forces. Research suggests its intelligence far surpasses even non-bird species.

Least Concern

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LC

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It is almost entirely black, with slick-looking, iridescent feathers that create a subtle blue or purple sheen. According to Greek legend, Apollo scorched his spy – a white raven – in an act of fury, turning their species' feathers black. However, the neck feathers can be a pale, brownish grey and they have a dark brown iris. Its beak is long and slightly curved.

What Does it Look Like?

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What Does it Sound Like?

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They have an incredible array of vocalisations, many of which are used for social interaction. Its most distinctive is a “prruk-prruk-prruk” call said to be unlike that of any other corvid. It can also mimic sounds, even human speech. Its language capacity is apparently so advanced that it can “talk” about events beyond the present moment in time.

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They are incredibly opportunistic and will often adjust their diet based on availability. Although they will usually feed on carrion, they have increasingly been seen scavenging from human rubbish. Also, not only do they store surplus food, they will also raid the stores of other animals and may even attack nests to feed on eggs.

What Does it Eat?

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Where Does it Nest?

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The nest is built in a tall tree from twigs bound together by roots or mud and generally lined with soft fur. However, in urban areas an old building or telegraph pole may be used instead. The clutch size ranges from 3-7 eggs, which have a greenish colour and brown blotches. These are incubated for 3 weeks, with the young fledging after about 40 days.

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They are found in most of the Northern Hemisphere regardless of climate, even in the North American Arctic and North African desert regions. They prefer coastal areas due to the easy availability of food and water, but can also be found in open, wooded habitats. However, their numbers have surged in densely-populated urban areas, such as California.

Where Does it Live?

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What is its Status?

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Fear and superstition once led to it being widely persecuted, but since the 1900’s this practice has dramatically reduced, particularly in Europe. However, the population boom in western US states has led to deliberate killings, despite having little visible effect. Seeking non-lethal deterrents is considered of the utmost priority.

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Disclaimer: Whilst we have worked to ensure the content on this page is accurate, any information included herein has been provided for entertainment purposes only and should not be used as a factual reference, including for conservational, biological, veterinary or other scientific uses, as it may not reflect the most up to date research or includes information that is unverified (or, where data is insufficient, has been based on assumptions of wild behaviors.) Species information has been compiled from a range of sources and the knowledge of the BOWC team. The use of content on this page without prior written permission from BOWC is strictly prohibited. Any photographs not owned by BOWC have been sourced under license with full credit given below the images used. Conservation status shown is as reported by the IUCN Red List. If you believe any of the information on this page is demonstrably inaccurate or has been used without proper accreditation, please e-mail info@BOWC.co.uk