Scientific Name: Corvus corax
Ravens can communicate ideas both within and between species.
Common ravens are one of the most intelligent birds. They can learn by observation, find logical solutions to problems, and recognize individuals in their own and other species. Because food sources differ on a daily basis, ravens utilize their intelligence in formulating successful hunting strategies specific to a situation. This intelligence is the reason ravens are popular images in mythology and folklore.
STATUS: Common ravens are listed as Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
HABITAT: Ravens are very adaptable and are found in versatile environments throughout the northern hemisphere. They can survive in any habitat except for the rainforest. Cliff ledges, large trees, and urban features like power lines and billboards are common nesting areas for ravens.
DIET: Ravens are omnivorous scavengers that will eat just about anything. Most often they eat eggs, other birds’ young, carrion, worms, grains and insects.
PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: Standing at 22-27 inches with wingspans ranging from 3.8 to 4.7 feet, ravens are the biggest of the perching birds. They are covered in glossy, black feathers that cluster at the throat to form a hackle, which is used in communication. Ravens have big beaks and wedge-shaped tails—features that help distinguish them from common crows. Their average lifespan in the wild is 10-15 years.
Common ravens are known to mate for life. Courtship rituals begin in mid-January every year. Males perform aerial stunts to impress females. Ravens’ abilities to fly upside down and glide for long periods of time allow them to boast impressive aerial sequences that common crows cannot. Once a female accepts her mate, they will often travel together, flying with their wingtips touching. A couple constructs a nest of sticks and scrap materials. Ravens fly in flocks during the day and roost in proximity at night, with each couple responsible for its own nest. In the spring, a female will lay three to seven eggs and will incubate them for three weeks. Chicks are fed via regurgitation by both parents, and they become independent a month after hatching.