17 Characteristics Of Ravens

Ravens are the largest all-black passerine bird. Although cosmopolitan, common ravens are mostly found abundantly all across the Northern Hemisphere. 

To get to know the bird better, you must first learn its basic characteristics. So, here is a list of all the characteristics of the raven, a fascinating all-black bird.

Subspecies8 subspecies 
Physical features Large
Mostly entirely black
Thick neck
Shaggy throat feathers 
Large feet
Long bills
Slender wings
Wedged-shaped tail
Size22 to 27 inches
Weight 1 to 3.5 pounds
Wingspan 45.5 to 46.5 inches
Plumage colorTypically solid black, except for some subspecies like white ravens and white-necked ravens 
Eye colorVarying colors from dark brown to gray and pure white 
Fly capability Great
Vocalization Over 30 different vocalizations
Intelligence High 
Eating habit Omnivorous 
Social structure Mostly seen in couples. But in winter they form groups 
Social behavior Less social than crows 
Playfulness Yes, high
Friendliness Capable 
Nesting Build nests in high places like cliffs, billboards, trees, telephone poles, bridges, and other places 
Aggression Depends on the situation but are not overtly aggressive 
HabitatWide and include woodlands, forests, rocky coasts, etc. 
Lifespan 10-15 years in the wild Over 40 years in captivity 
Characteristics of Ravens

Let’s concentrate on the traits of ravens in more depth.


Most experts assert that there are 8 subspecies of ravens. However, deviating from this perception, some ornithologists claim that 11 subspecies of ravens could be found.  

Physical features

Ravens lack any marks and are typically all-black. White ravens and white-necked ravens are the exceptions, though. These birds are also distinguished by their large, powerful beak, fluffy neck feathers, and wedge-shaped tails. Additionally, ravens’ feathers are primarily curled.

Size and Weight

Ravens vary in size and weight depending on their subspecies. However, ravens are commonly considered of as large birds. Typically, they are 22 to 27 inches in size. With a wingspan of between 45.5 and 46.5 inches, ravens can weigh between 1 and 3.5 pounds.

Plumage color

Ravens have dark, polished, and rich black plumage that shines with a bluish or purplish gloss under the light. Also, these birds have feathers that are a light gray color on their necks.

Eye color

Ravens can have eyes that are pure white, dark brown, or blue. The iris of a common raven is dark brown, whereas those of its young are bluish-gray. On the other hand, the irises of the Australian raven species are entirely white.

Flying capability

Ravens are accomplished flyers. In fact, it almost appears the bird is having fun using its wings. Ravens leap higher than crows as well but slower than the latter. Ravens can fly at a typical speed of 25 miles per hour. This bird can even fly upside down, which makes it stand out the most.


There are many calls that Common Ravens can produce, from a loud “caw” to a deep, gurgling croak. It is also amazing that scientists have used over 30 categories to categorize raven vocalization. The majority of vocalizations are made for social purposes.


Ravens are incredibly smart birds. In reality, studies conducted by experts have revealed that ravens are on par with chimpanzees and orangutans in terms of intelligence. Scientific Reports claims that their intelligence is extraordinary over a wide spectrum of cognitive abilities.

Eating habits

The raven is an omnivorous bird. Although they prefer to eat dead animals, they will also take live ones. They also include fruits and vegetables in their menu.

Social structure

Ravens spend the majority of the year in pairs and are primarily monogamous. Furthermore, ravens like to gather in groups to feed and roost during the winter.

Social behavior

Compared to crows, ravens are less sociable. Yet, these birds can form a strong bond with humans if they are treated well. 


One of the playfulness and mischief-loving wild birds is the raven. In fact, these birds have a reputation for pouncing on and pestering animals like dogs and cats by grabbing their tails or ears. They even enjoy tearing off pieces of twigs to pretend swordplay.


Ravens are smart birds. They can recall both positive and bad faces that have interacted with them. So, if given a welcoming environment, ravens can show their amiable side.


Ravens often build their nests on higher ground, such as cliffs, trees, and structures such as telephone poles, banners, bridges, and electricity towers. They also return to the same nest year after year.


Ravens are not a particularly violent bird species. However, they can easily display their aggressive side without hesitation if they feel threatened.


Ravens are usually found in the northern hemisphere. They can be seen in various settings, though they favor open or somewhat open areas.


Ravens can survive for 10 to 15 years in the outdoors. These birds, however, could live to be 40 or 50 years old in captivity.

Characteristics of Australian ravens

Most of southern and northeastern Australia is home to the Australian raven, also known as Corvus coronoides. Here, we’ll outline the fundamental traits of Australian ravens.

Scientific nameCorvus coronoides
Subspecies2- C. c. coronoides and C. c. perplexus
HabitatVariable, other than in the drier regions of Western Australia
Size18–21 inches long39 inches wingspan 
WeightAround 1.43 lb
Physical appearance All black body
White-eyes (adults)
Dark eyes (young birds)
Longer feathers near the neck
Black beak 
Gray-black legs and feet
No flapping of the wings when calling
A pink, fleshy gape (young bird)
Plumage Black with a blue-purple to a blue-green sheen
Intelligence High 
DistributionMostly in eastern, southern, and central Australia
DietMainly carnivorous. But also feed on grains, fruits, and vegetables.
VocalizationA slow, high ah-ah-aaaaah call, with the last note, dragged out.
BehaviorTypically sedentary 
NestsLarge and untidy 
Minimum breeding age3 years old
Breeding seasonJuly to September
Characteristics of Australian Ravens


So that was our take on ravens’ essential traits. Ravens are wild birds, and capturing and keeping them as pets is illegal unless you have specific authorization. These intelligent birds are primarily found in the northern hemisphere.

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