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A raven in flight 3782 Common Raven in flight.jpg
A raven in flight

A raven is any of several larger-bodied species of the genus Corvus . These species do not form a single taxonomic group within the genus. There is no consistent distinction between "crows" and "ravens", and these appellations have been assigned to different species chiefly on the basis of their size, crows generally being smaller than ravens.[ citation needed ]


The largest raven species are the common raven and the thick-billed raven.


The term "raven" originally referred to the common raven (Corvus corax), the type species of the genus Corvus, which has a larger distribution than any other species of Corvus, ranging over much of the Northern Hemisphere.

The modern English word raven has cognates in all other Germanic languages, including Old Norse (and subsequently modern Icelandic) hrafn [1] and Old High German (h)raban, [2] all of which descend from Proto-Germanic *hrabanaz. [3]

Collective nouns for a group of ravens (or at least the common raven) include "rave", [4] "treachery", [5] "unkindness" [6] and "conspiracy". [7] In practice, most people use the more generic "flock". [8]

Current species

Extinct species

See also

Related Research Articles

Corvidae Family of perching birds

Corvidae is a cosmopolitan family of oscine passerine birds that contains the crows, ravens, rooks, jackdaws, jays, magpies, treepies, choughs, and nutcrackers. In common English, they are known as the crow family, or, more technically, corvids. Currently 133 species are included in this family. The genus Corvus, including the jackdaws, crows, rooks, and ravens, makes up over a third of the entire family. Corvids are the largest passerines.

Thick-billed raven Species of bird

The thick-billed raven, a corvid from the Horn of Africa, shares with the common raven the distinction of being the largest bird in the corvid family, and indeed the largest of the passerines. The thick-billed raven averages 64 cm (25 in) in length, with a range of 60 to 70 cm and weighs approximately 1.15 kg (2.5 lb) in females and 1.5 kg (3.3 lb) in males on average. Its size is about the same as the largest species of common raven but some common raven subspecies are rather smaller and, going on average weights, the thick-billed raven is likely the heaviest extant passerine. The thick-billed raven is about 25% heavier on average than the Australasian superb lyrebird, which is sometimes erroneously titled the largest passerine.

Pied crow Species of bird

The pied crow is a widely distributed African bird species in the crow genus.

Western jackdaw species of bird in the crow family Corvidae

The western jackdaw, also known as the Eurasian jackdaw, the European jackdaw, or simply the jackdaw, is a passerine bird in the crow family. Found across Europe, western Asia and North Africa; it is mostly resident, although northern and eastern populations migrate south in the winter. Four subspecies are recognised, which differ mainly in the colouration of the plumage on the head and nape. Linnaeus first described it formally, giving it the name Corvus monedula. The common name derives from the word jack, denoting "small", and daw, a less common synonym for "jackdaw", and the native English name for the bird.

American crow Species of bird

The American crow is a large passerine bird species of the family Corvidae. It is a common bird found throughout much of North America. American crows are the New World counterpart to the carrion crow and the hooded crow. Although the American crow and the hooded crow are very similar in size, structure and behavior, their calls and visual appearance are different. The American crow, nevertheless, occupies the same ecological niche that the hooded crow and carrion crow do in Eurasia.

Fan-tailed raven Species of bird

The fan-tailed raven is a passerine bird of the crow family native to Eastern Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.

Brown-necked raven Species of bird

The brown-necked raven is a larger bird than the carrion crow though not as large as the common raven. It has similar proportions to the common raven but the bill is not so large or deep and the wings tend to be a little more pointed in profile. The head and throat are a distinct brownish-black giving the bird its English name, while the rest of the plumage is black glossed with purple, blue or purplish-blue. Like the Common raven, Thick-billed raven and White-necked raven, it is one of the larger raven species. The smaller raven species are the Australian raven, Forest raven, Little raven, Fan-tailed raven and Chihuahuan raven with the Thick-billed raven being the world's largest raven species and the Chihuahuan raven being the smallest. The feathers of this species often fade quite quickly to a brownish black and the bird can look distinctly brown by the time it moults. The feet, legs and bill are black. The dwarf raven was formerly considered a subspecies but this bird now appears to be closer to the pied crow than this species.

Common raven Large, black, passerine bird of the Northern Hemisphere

The common raven, also known as the western raven or northern raven when discussing the raven at the subspecies level, is a large all-black passerine bird. Found across the Northern Hemisphere, it is the most widely distributed of all corvids. There are at least eight subspecies with little variation in appearance, although recent research has demonstrated significant genetic differences among populations from various regions. It is one of the two largest corvids, alongside the thick-billed raven, and is possibly the heaviest passerine bird; at maturity, the common raven averages 63 centimetres in length and 1.2 kilograms in mass. Although their typical lifespan is considerably shorter, common ravens can live more than 23 years in the wild, which among passerines only is surpassed by a few Australian species such as the satin bowerbird and probably the lyrebirds. Young birds may travel in flocks but later mate for life, with each mated pair defending a territory.

Crow Index of animals with the same common name

A crow is a bird of the genus Corvus, or more broadly a synonym for all of Corvus. The word "crow" is used as part of the common name of species including:

<i>Corvus</i> Genus of birds from the family Corvidae including crows, ravens and rooks

Corvus is a widely distributed genus of medium-sized to large birds in the family Corvidae. The genus includes species commonly known as crows, ravens and rooks; there is no consistent distinction between "crows" and "ravens", and these appellations have been assigned to different species chiefly on the basis of their size, crows generally being smaller than ravens.

Chihuahuan raven Species of bird

The Chihuahuan raven is a species of crow in the family Corvidae that is native to the United States and Mexico.

Indian jungle crow Species of bird

The Indian jungle crow is a species of crow found across the Indian Subcontinent south of the Himalayas. It is very common and readily distinguished from the house crow, which has a grey neck. In the past the species was treated as a subspecies of another crow species, but vocalizations and evidence from ectoparasite co-evolution and phylogenetic evidence have led to it being considered as a distinct species in modern taxonomic treatments. It differs in its voice from the large-billed crow found in the higher elevations of the Himalayas and the eastern jungle crow overlaps in the eastern part of its range. In appearance, it can be difficult to distinguish from either of these species although the plumage tends to be more uniformly glossed in purple and has a longer bill with a fine tip and a less arched culmen. The Himalayan species has a slightly wedge-shaped tail, unlike the rounded tail of the Indian jungle crow and tends to glide a lot.


  1. Oxford English Dictionary entry for "raven".
  2. Simpson, J.; Weiner, E., eds. (1989). "Raven". Oxford English Dictionary (2nd ed.). Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN   0-19-861186-2.
  3. "Raven". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 14 May 2007.
  4. Lipton, James (1991). An Exaltation of Larks. Viking. ISBN   978-0-670-30044-0.
  5. "Baltimore Bird Club. Group Name for Birds: A Partial List" . Retrieved 3 June 2007.
  6. "Baltimore Bird Club. Group Name for Birds: A Partial List" . Retrieved 3 June 2007.
  7. "University of California Golf Club. List of Collective Nouns". Archived from the original on 18 September 2004. Retrieved 16 July 2008.
  8. "Google Ngram Viewer". books.google.com. Retrieved 5 January 2020.