Common Raven

Corvus corax

Common Raven
Photo courtesy of Tom Grey

Ravens appear “playful” in the air—swooping, falling, rolling. Much of this activity is part of their courtship maneuvering. They alternately flap and soar like a hawk. Breeding pairs tend to stay in their territory year round. Ravens are often part of Native American stories.

Description:
Large, black bird with a purplish, glossy sheen; 22–27 in (56–69 cm); wedge-shaped tail; long-pointed wings; wing span 4–4 ½ ft; very thick bill; feet and bill are black.
Voice:
Common call a very low gronk; also a croaking, resonant cark cark.
Food:
Ravens are opportunistic scavengers, feeding on carrion. They are omnivorous, eating shellfish, rodents, insects, seeds, fruit, bird eggs and food scraps. They also cache food.
Nest:
A large, bulky, loose nest of sticks and bones, lined with a soft material such as wool. Nest built on cliffs, up in trees, on power poles or saguaro cactus. The 3-8 eggs are olive or drab, spotted and blotched with brown or lavender.
Habitat:
Live in a variety of habitats, including deserts, mountains, forests, canyons and Pacific coast beaches. Prefers open country.
Range:
Found throughout the west and across Canada to Greenland; south to Central America.
Migration:
Year round resident
Comments:
Crows are also a glossy, all black birds. However, they are smaller than ravens (17-21 in; 43-53 cm). They also have shorter, less powerful bills. Their tails are square or slightly rounded. Voice is a caw, not as hoarse as that of a raven. They are also opportunistic feeders, consuming a great deal of plant and animal food—seeds, insects, garbage, rodents. Crows are residents near Idyllwild.

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