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Raven vs. Crow | What’s the Difference?

Is there a difference between ravens and crows? According to most people, there is no distinction – they’re both simply black birds. But in reality, these two types of Corvidae (bird family) are quite different.

So, in our raven vs. crow guide, we’re going to explore the differences between ravens and crows and why you might choose to identify one over the other. Let’s get started!

The Corvidae Family 

The Corvidae family is a classification of oscine passerine birds. Some members of this family are crows, ravens, magpies, nutcrackers, etc. the Corvidae family is also known as the crow family. Corvids are the most intelligent birds found so far.

What Type of Birds Are Ravens?

Ravens are the largest type of perching bird. Their size is almost like a hawk. The raven is a scavenger and a predator. These birds soar high, gliding through the wind.

Their wings are larger and display a wedge-shaped tail. The color of the wings is deep black, with hues of gray, brown, deep blue, and sometimes dark purple.

Ravens are omnivorous and will eat whatever is available. They tend to stay with families and care for each other. Ravens have a lifespan of around 10 to 15 years.

What Type of Birds Are Crows?

Crows are a common sight everywhere. They are known for their intelligence, and loud ‘caws.’ Crows are also scavengers and predators. They mostly feed on the ground, on anything.

Crows are omnivorous. They fly by flapping their wings frequently. Their wings are smaller than ravens, and their tail is rounded. Like ravens, their wings are also mainly black, occasionally a hint of deep blue, purple, and gray.

Crows live in large families and care for each other. The average lifespan of crows is from 7 to 8 years. But they can live for much longer, especially in warm temperate regions.

The Confusion About Raven and Crow

From the descriptions of the two birds above, you can tell they are very much similar. So, there is always confusion about the exact differences between crows and ravens. Let us find out!

What Is the Difference between Ravens and Crows?

Let us break into specific factors how ravens and crows are different from each other.

  • Scientific name

The scientific name of common American crows is Corvus brachyrhynchos, while the scientific name of the common raven is Corvus corax. That means ravens and crows belong to the same genus Corvus but are different species.

 

  • Flight pattern

Ravens soar high while crows flap wings frequently and fly in a lower path than ravens.

  • Size

The wingspan of ravens is larger than those of crows. Their bodies are also bigger than crows. Ravens have a larger body structure. The beaks of ravens are bigger and curved, unlike crows.

When you compare a crow side by side with a raven, you can clearly see the difference in their appearance, starting from the height.

 

  • Lifespan

The average lifespan of ravens is 10 to 15 years, while the same for crows is 7 to 8 years. Both of their regions overlap. They are well suited for places with warm temperatures. Crows can live longer if they live in weather conditions suitable to them.

  • Breeding period

Ravens usually start their mating period around January. The mating period for crows starts around March.

  • Friendliness

Crows are social birds that are found to be on friendly terms with humans. However, ravens are known to be less friendly and more aggressive.

  • Availability 

Crows are a common sight almost everywhere in the world across varieties of habitats. Urban or rural places, you name it. You’ll find crows everywhere. However, ravens are very uncommon.

They are mostly found around the northern hemisphere. You might see a big crow flying around your neighborhood once in a while – those are probably ravens.

Fun Fact About Raven and Crow

Ravens and crows are often tied together in mythologies. Both of these black birds hold ominous meanings in different cultural depictions.

Ravens and crows are often interchanged in the stories, and different events with them are considered to have different meanings, generally negative ones. These birds are symbolized by different qualities.

Are Raven and Crow Enemies?

That’s right. Ravens and crows do not generally get along. They don’t become friends. Due to their similar food habits, they are often competitors. Ravens might even prey on crows for food.

But when there’s any squabble between crows and ravens, it is more likely that the crows are the aggressors instead of the larger-sized ravens.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can crows and ravens remember faces?

Ravens and crows are so intelligent that they can even remember the faces of humans they interact with once.

  • Are ravens smarter than crows?

Ravens are believed to be slightly smarter than crows. Both of these birds are the most intelligent bird species.

  • How many calls do the ravens have?

Unlike crows, ravens have 7 different calls.

  • Can crows imitate the calls of other birds like ravens?

Yes, ravens and crows share this specialty. They can imitate the calls of other birds and animals, too, sometimes.

  • Why are ravens and crows so smart?

Due to the neuron structure in their brains, ravens and crows can interact with the environment for their lifestyle at a much more advanced level than other birds.

  • Are ravens and crows related?

Ravens and crows both belong to the Corvus genus but are separate species.

  • Do crows and ravens hybridize?

No. Crows and ravens reproduce only with their own species. Hence they are not interrelated in terms of breeding.

Final Words

Ravens and crows are very closely related. However, they are not the same species. There are many differences – starting from their flight patterns, appearance, and other factors. Hopefully, this article cleared out your confusion about raven vs. crow.

Read Also: 

Junco vs. Chickadee

Falcon Vs. Hawk

Falcon vs Eagle

By Nathan Moy

Hi, Nathan Moy is the founder and CEO of Birdmoy.com . Im passionate about nature and I use this site as a platform to share my experiences, learnings, mistakes, and ideas about birding and nature.

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