Ravens vs Crows

Is it a raven? Or a crow? I see these huge big fellas in our garden and I know they are ravens. Yet some of my friends insist that they are crows. The Queen of England to this day keeps (or, rather “enlists”, as they are considered soldiers of the Kingdom), ravens in the Tower of London, following a long line of tradition. See Queen’s Ravens. I’ve seen them, and they bear a very strong resemblance to the fellas in my garden. We may be half a world apart, and there may be some variation in the species, but my boys are definitely ravens.

So, what are the main differences between Ravens and Crows? Here’s a couple of visual infographics that will help:

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These infographics are comparing American Ravens to crows. The Australian Raven is corvus coronoides, the American Raven is corvus corax, and the English Raven is essentially the same as its American counterpart, and indeed in the Northern Hemisphere they are collectively known as the “Common” Raven.

For further information on Ravens, common or otherwise, here is Wikipedia’s link.

Adult ravens have a black pupil encircled by white. Juveniles have dark eyes. (I always thought it was the other way round Duh!) Australian Ravens are easily distinguishable from crows by their “hackles” or shaggy beard that appears under their throats when they call. Their call goes like “Ca ca cawwwwww”, with a long drawn-out final syllable.

Anyway, I was lucky enough to photograph an Australian Raven up close on Rottnest Island a few days ago. So here he/she is.

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This YouTube video, which I found, clearly shows what an Australian Raven looks and sounds like:

http://youtu.be/S6YhVOHX-ws

And yes, Ravens are extremely intelligent birds. Here’s just one video showing their depth of reasoning. Just how they are able to make the connection and solve the puzzle, I don’t know, but they sure have my respect!

5 thoughts on “Ravens vs Crows

  1. Wow you nailed the crow vs raven difference. I usually count on the beak and ruff difference plus just plain size. Great photos too. He looks a little startled but I think that is just eye color. Thanx. R

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