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Common Raven

Common Raven

Common Raven by Pam Huntley, as heard on

For many, the Common Raven represents magic.

Somehow the word “common” doesn’t fit this bird that is known for its intelligence, aerial acrobatics and impressive repertoire of vocalizations.

The Common Raven is the largest passerine. The male is two feet long; the female is slightly smaller. Feathers are jet black and iridescent. A large curved black bill is described as “Romanesque.” When perched, their necks looks shaggy. In flight, their wings are broad and blunt at the tips. The tail is wedge-shaped.

Common Ravens are renowned for flying skills that include spectacular midair dives. Some believe these impressive flights are a form of play. During courtship, the pair flies wingtip to wingtip. Courtship involves vocalization and grooming of partners.

The pair bonds for life. Pairs build nests on cliffs and ledges, man-made structures or tall conifers. Nests are constructed of large sticks and branches, and lined with fur and plants. Both parents feed the young food and water. Nests are built in early spring to take advantage of an abundant food source: other birds’ eggs and nestlings. The young ravens’ falsetto croaks are a familiar summer sound in our forests and neighborhoods.

First published March 2014 MCAS Black Oystercatcher
Common Raven photo courtesy of Ron LeValley