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Raven

The Largest Songbird

Raven
Photo by: Gerald and Buff Corsi
 California Academy of Sciences
Common Raven

Corvus corax

Ravens (Corvus corax) are members of the family Corvidae.  This family also includes magpies, jays, rooks, and crows.  The raven is found throughout the Northern Hemisphere.  They are found in many different types of habitats such as tundra, arid areas, deciduous forest, rocky coastal areas, and rainforest.

Ravens weigh about three to four pounds.  They can range from twenty-two to twenty-seven inches long with a wingspan of about forty-six to fifty-six inches and stand twenty-four inches tall. Their large stout bill (three to four inches or seven to ten centimeters) and the fan-shaped tail that help to distinguish them from crows.  Their coloration is a black which appears to have a metallic shine in different types of light. Male and females have the same coloration.

 

 Raven's scientific name is Corvus corax, which means “raven croaker”.  These birds are one of the most intelligent animals.  Because of their intelligence, their vocalization includes a large range of sounds including human voices.  Their vocalization depends on the activity they are involved in, such as alert calls, hunger calls, defensive calls, and territorial calls.

Ravens are very accomplished flyers.  They soar like predatory birds such as; eagles, hawks, owls, and falcons.  They often perform aerial acrobatics and can soar at great heights.  Their flight is a combination of flapping their wings and soaring in thermal updrafts.

Raven
Photo by: Leah Arnold

 

 Raven
Photo by: Leah Arnold

Ravens mate for life.  The pair will find a secluded area for reproduction.  The birds begin their courtship in January, and by March the mating pair will be roosting in an area where the nest will be built.  The large nest is built with sticks and is lined with animal hair, plant material, and other materials that the pair finds.  After nest building the female will lay between three and seven (green with brown spotted) eggs. She alone will incubate the eggs.  The male will provide food for the female during incubation (about three weeks).  After the chicks have hatched, they will receive regurgitated food and water from both parents.  After four weeks (around the first of June), the young chicks will leave the nest.

 

 Raven


  

 Raven

Ravens are scavengers.  They also eat carrion, insects, grain, fruits, and bird eggs. They are also known to visit the picnic areas and have been known to carry away bags of garbage. They also prey on small rodents and will kill sick or injured animals.

Classification

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class:  Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Suborder: Passeres
Family: Corvidae
Genus: Corvus
Species: corax

Relatives 

 Florida Scrub Jay
Florida Scrub Jay
Photo by: Gerald and Buff Corsi
 California Academy of Sciences

Blue Jay
Blue Jay
Photo by: Ann Cook
 California Academy of Sciences


  

 Steller Jay
Steller Jay
Photo by: Glenn Vargas
 California Academy of Sciences

 

Clark's Nutcracker
Clark's Nutcracker
Photo by: Albert P. Bekker 
California Academy of Sciences

 

Odd Facts about the Raven

  • Largest member of the Crow Family 
  • Considered  to be omens of death, pestilence and disease.
  • Has a large complex and varied vocabulary.
  • Male ravens are larger than females.
  • Eats carrion, sick, injured animals, and will even raid garbage bags.
  • Highly developed brain
  • Type of consumer: omnivore
  • Lifespan in the wild: 7 - 15 years 
  • Largest songbird
  • Has sharp eye sight and hearing

Raven

 

Links

http://polaris.umuc.edu/~jcrowno2/docs-start.html

http://polaris.umuc.edu/~jcrowno2/docs-start.html

http://birding.about.com/library/blravenslit.htm

http://birding.about.com/library/weekly/aa041801a.htm

http://www.state.ak.us/local/akpages/FISH.GAME/wildlife/geninfo/birds/raven.htm

Leah Arnold
larnold@bhs.scsc.k12.ar.us


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