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Common Raven
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Common Raven

Facts about the Common Raven

Family: Corvidae
Length : 56 to 67 cm
Wingspan : 117 to 142 cm
Weight : 1240 g for males, 1158 g for females


The Common Raven (Corvus corax) is considerably larger than the crow.  It is in fact the largest corvid on earth.

In North America, the Common Raven occurs in almost all areas of Canada, as well as Alaska, the western United States, certain regions in the eastern United States, Mexico and Nicaragua.  It is also found in Greenland.   

Bulky nest

Branches and twigs are the main building materials for the nest, which is then lined with shreds of bark and mosses.  From one year to the next, pairs alternate between 2 or 3 different nests they’ve built.  In forested areas, the nest is most likely located in an evergreen tree anywhere from 14 to 30 meters above ground. The Common Raven also nests in well-shaded, sheltered crevices on steep cliffs. 

First flight

Around the 35th day, the fledglings leave the nest.  Although they’ve not yet mastered the art of flight, they still manage to cover short distances.  The young are dependent on their parents for the first 2 months and sometimes even until they’re as old as 6 months.   Ravens only begin to breed when they’re 3 years old.

Scavengers

The Common Raven will sometimes travel over 90 km a day in search of food.  Its menu is extremely varied:  rodents, insects, fruits, eggs, baby birds ... it will eat almost anything.  Ravens are scavengers.  They help rid the environment of carrion, the decaying flesh of dead animals.  

Multiple habitats

The Common raven occurs in a wide range of environments:  mountainous, coastline, desert, arctic and forested regions.  Height and shade are the requisites for the nesting sites.

Raven or crow?

Do you know how to tell the difference between a raven and a crow?  It’s easy:  check the tail in flight.  The raven’s tail is wedge-shaped; the crow’s tail has a squared or slightly rounded shape.

Spring - Summer

Males and females build the nest together, an activity that can take more than 2 weeks.  Only after laying the second egg does the female begin her brooding, which lasts 18 to 22 days.  The male feeds her while she broods.  When the eggs hatch, the parents take turns in feeding the family. 

The nest is easy to locate because the young birds are very noisy.  Any intruder that dares to get a little too close for comfort is dealt with summarily and aggressively by both parents.  The nest can be as wide as 0.9 m in diameter and as deep as 1.2 m.  The female lays from 5 to 7 eggs that are drab green with dark blotches.  They look very much like crows’ eggs but bigger. 

Autumn - Winter

Common ravens remain at their nesting sites in winter.  Because they live in areas where there’s a lot of snow, food sources are more scarce than during the summer months, and they feed mainly on the carcasses left over by carnivores. The Common raven caches food supplies under the snow.

The mating season occurs in February.  During the courtship flight, the male dives and tumbles in a spectacular aerial display.  Males and females are both more boisterous than usual.   

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Comments

corbeau et corneille

Par giejac bem, 2014-09-09, 06h21

Le corbeau marche, la corneille sautille c'est aussi une différence.

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