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Thread: crows / ravens

  1. #1 crows / ravens 
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    apart from size, is there a clear-cut way to tell ravens from crows ?

    i'm living in the west of the UK so both should be around, but i've always assumed that, since crows are common, any black corvid that is not a chough, rook or jackdaw must be a crow

    trouble is, if i saw any such bird on its own, rather than the 2 kinds next to one another, i'm making my identification on rather dodgy grounds


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  3. #2  
    Forum Professor Zwirko's Avatar
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    I can't tell the difference and that I might be seeing different birds never occurred to me until I read your post. When I see what has probably been in fact a raven I've always thought it was just a particularly big crow. I'll need to have a closer look the next time I see some and see what we've got round these parts (central Scotland).

    Apparently the tail feathers (if you can see them) are a key diagnostic feature, as well as size.



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    Forum Cosmic Wizard i_feel_tiredsleepy's Avatar
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    Ravens are noticeably larger, and have a larger beak relative to their size. Frankly, I've only seen ravens in zoos, I think they're fairly uncommon in urban areas.
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    I can see mistaking a large crow without nearby scaling info for a raven, momentarily.

    But I think if you see a raven you'll know it. They fly differently, act differently, have those big whiskery beaks; and the difference in size is dramatic. People tend to mistake ravens for eagles, vultures - not crows.

    Kind of like the rattlesnake/grasshopper thing - people sometimes mistake the rattle of a grasshopper launching for a rattlesnake, but never the other way around.

    Edit in: speaking of the North American ravens and crows - I don't know what the situation is in the UK.
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    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    the only time i'm fairly sure i saw a raven (apart from near the Towers of London) was near Llandeilo where 2 crows were mobbing a larger crow-like bird when it came too close to their nest for their liking

    didn't know about the difference in tail shape at the time though, so didn't check that one out
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  7. #6  
    Ted
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    The raven (Corvus corax) is our largest crow and bigger than a buzzard. They are found only in the west of Britain (and USA), mainly in upland rural areas. Their flight is powerful, majestic and slower than that of other crows, yet they are incredibly acrobatic for such a big bird. Their voice is suitably powerful for such a large bird - usual flight call is hollow-sounding 'kronk, kronk' or an echoing 'toc, toc, toc'.
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  8. #7 Re: crows / ravens 
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR
    apart from size, is there a clear-cut way to tell ravens from crows ?
    DNA analysis? 8)
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  9. #8  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    funny enough, i don't tend to take my DIY DNA kit with me on field trips
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  10. #9  
    Time Lord
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    No clue about European ravens.

    Ravens of the Pacific Northwest mainly flap to gain altitude, then glide and wheel much like eagles. The crows in contrast flap continually throughout their flight, which is much "twitchier" and erratic than ravens', even when the crow intends to fly directly from A to B.
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  11. #10  
    Ted
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    The Common Raven (Corvus corax), also known as the Northern Raven, is found in Europe and the Pacific Northwest. Found across the northern hemisphere, it is the most widely distributed of all corvids.
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