Raven

Corvus corax

64cm

Appearance

The Raven is bigger than a Buzzard, and is the largest of the crow family. Adults are black all over with a metallic iridescence, sometimes with a red or purplish tinge; the wings are fingered at the tips, and there are longer feathers at the bird’s throat. Juveniles are very similar, but their appearance is slightly lighter and more matte.

Habitat

The Raven is quite flexible in its habitat. While it tends towards mountains and coastal cliffs in the west of the region, it may also be found in areas of human population, upland territories, and woods.

Character

The Raven appears robust and strong, even in flight, and it can be surprisingly aerobatic, tumbling and diving, particularly around cliffs. Most commonly found in pairs, though may group together where food is plentiful or to roost. Ravens are territorial, defending their breeding grounds throughout the year. Mostly feeds when on the ground.

Food

Diet includes carrion, mammals, insects, birds and eggs; Ravens have a habit of hiding food when it’s in abundance, preserving it for leaner times.

Breeding

Female lays 4-6 eggs, usually between the middle of February and the middle of April; she incubates these for 21-22 days. Both parents care for the hatchlings, which depart the nest at about 35-49 days old, but remain with family for 4-6 months after they learn to fly.

Population

The region’s population is sedentary, with immature birds traveling up to 50km, but only in their first autumn. Approximately 7400 pairs breed in the UK and between 2500 and 10 000 in Ireland.

Observation Tips

The Raven’s loud call can often be heard from sea cliff vantage points, particularly between Cornwall and the west coast of Scotland. Remember this bird’s preference for craggy, rough landscapes.

Voice

The call is a very loud ‘kronk’, and this is often sounded in flight.
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