The common Raven belongs to the Corvidae family: large perching birds that includes ravens, crows, jays, magpies, nutcrackers, and their relatives. This large black bird has a long head with a heavy, curved black bill. The sexes are similar in size and plumage, with males being slightly larger and darker. The wings are long, narrow, and pointed; the tail is wedge-shaped; the legs and feet are black. Ravens have dark brown eyes at maturity, a black mouth and tongue, and large nostrils hidden by feather tufts.

Plumage of adults is black, highlighted in bright sunlight with a purplish gloss to the body feathers, and a greenish gloss to the wing feathers. The bases of the head and body feathers are gray, and palest around the neck; adults have a shaggy feathering at the throat, visible when the bird is perched. Feathers of immature ravens have a duller, dark brown coloring. Ravens can be distinguished from crows by their larger size, longer body, deeper, more guttural voice, wedge-shaped tail, and heavier, more curved bill. Their flight alternates flapping, gliding on flat wings, and a hawk-like soaring which is characteristic of ravens, but not crows.


We do not currently have any resident Ravens.


Scientific Name

Corvus corax


Length: 24" ave.

Wing Span: 53" ave.

Weight: 2.6 lb. ave.


Federally protected. 


Ravens tend to keep away from concentrations of people, but can live in many habitats.  Found in boreal forests and mountainous regions of the west, they also inhabit arid grasslands, tundra, riverbanks, and coastal areas near seabird colonies.  Ravens were historically widespread on the Great Plains when bison were common. 


Ravens eat a broad range of foods, varying by season and habitat. Fruit, seeds, insects, carrion, rodents, eggs, nestlings, amphibians, reptiles, and shellfish are all suitable foods for this generalist.  Ravens may follow carnivores to clean up after their meals, and will often cache meat from a carcass. 


A long, hoarse kraaw.....kraaw.... or rrock, rrock... is typical of raven calls, but they are capable of an incredible variety of vocalizations relating to their rich social behavior.  Like crows and other related species, ravens are good mimics of other bird calls. 


Ravens build large, bulky stick nests high up in tall trees, on cliffs, or on manmade structures like powerlines or abandoned buildings. The same sites may be used for many years, with nests becoming as much as four feet high. 

Most Common Problems

The most common causes of injury are the ingestion of plastic items, tangling in wire, getting caught in traps, gunshot, or being hit by vehicles. Logging has caused population declines in some areas.

Range Map

From Canada to the southern USA, extending down into northern Baja California. The American Crow is a widespread and common species, but tends to be restricted to riparian areas in the rural, arid west. Migratory over part of this range, moving from Canada and the northern US to the middle and southern US in winter.



Special Thanks for range maps:

Dan Gleason
BGleason Design & Illustration
Commercial & Scientific Illustration, Graphic Design
CraneDance Communications
Book Production/Design