Appearance

Ravens are the largest passerine (perching) birds in the world, with wingspans up to almost five feet: significantly bigger than their close relative, the crow. Ravens can weight up to two-and-a-half pounds. They tend to have thicker beaks than crows, and you can also spot the difference by looking at the tail shape when they fly.

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When the ravens are in direct sunlight, look for an iridescent bluish-green sheen, which comes from microscopic barbules on their feathers.

Other corvids in our area include crows, magpies, and jays.

Ravens in this ecosystem

The ravens in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem are more closely related to ravens in England (and the rest of the world) than they are to the California ravens, even though they look basically the same.

In this ecosystem, our vultures are migratory, leaving a clean-up job to be done during their absence in the winter. Ravens, along with some other birds like eagles and magpies, fill that void, acting as scavengers.

Ravens are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and can’t be kept as pets without special permits.

DIET

Ravens are omnivores. In the wild, they will eat carrion, small animals, birds, insects, maggots, grain, and dung. They hide food in caches, often burying it, sometimes using tools like sticks. They’ll also make fake caches to fool the other ravens and keep their real cache hidden.

At the Sanctuary, we feed our ravens a mix of meats, fruits, vegetables, and kibble.

BEHAVIOR & Lifespan

Ravens have a variety of vocalizations, including a deep croak. They are good at imitating sounds, including the sounds of other animals. Captive-raised ravens can imitate people as well as parrots can.

In the wild, ravens have a life expectancy of around 10-15 years; in captivity they can live more than 40 years.

Taxonomy

KINGDOM: Animalia
PHYLUM: Chordata
CLASS: Aves
ORDER: Passeriformes
FAMILY: Corvidae
GENUS: Corvus
SPECIES: corax

conservation status

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Least Concern

MOST ACTIVE

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Diurnal

Sounds

Our Ravens

  BART  came to the Sanctuary with an injured wing in 2016 and cannot fly, although he hops and jumps well. He was born sometime around 2013.

BART came to the Sanctuary with an injured wing in 2016 and cannot fly, although he hops and jumps well. He was born sometime around 2013.

  LISA  came to the Sanctuary with a wing injury at about the same time as Bart, and they’ve become a bonded pair. She can not fly, so she can’t be released into the wild. We don’t know her age.

LISA came to the Sanctuary with a wing injury at about the same time as Bart, and they’ve become a bonded pair. She can not fly, so she can’t be released into the wild. We don’t know her age.

  EDGAR , like our other ravens, came here due to a wing injury. He’s been here the longest of our ravens (since 2006), and we estimated he was 3 years old when he got here.

EDGAR, like our other ravens, came here due to a wing injury. He’s been here the longest of our ravens (since 2006), and we estimated he was 3 years old when he got here.

Raven-Related Episodes of our Podcast