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Difference Between Crow and Raven

raven_crowCrow vs Raven

Crows and ravens are birds which are familiar to almost all. Though both these birds look similar, there are many differences between the two ranging from the physical features to behavior and habitat.

The family of crows covers different species of birds like the magpies, ravens, and jays. Owing to the similarity in the appearance, many use the names of the birds wrongly. The first visible difference between a crow and a raven is the size. Ravens are usually bigger in size than the crows. When a raven can be up to 64 cm in height, a crow’s height ranges up to 46 cm. Similarly, the wings, feet, and beak sizes also differ. Being bigger in size, the ravens are very much heavier than the crows. The age spans of ravens are more than that of crows. When a crow lives up to 8 years, a raven can live up to 30 years.

Raven’s feathers are shiny and have a tint of purple when the sun rays fall on it. But crows have plain black feathers which can also have lighter markings on them. And talking about the tail, a raven’s tail has a triangular shape and that of a crow is squared off and even. Crows have thicker beaks than ravens which help them in the food habits. Another difference in the beaks is that a crow has a sort of flat beak while a raven has a curved and powerful one.

And if you have listened to the cries of both the birds, you will know that a crow’s sound is more irritating than that of ravens. A raven has the capability to imitate certain sounds as well. You can find crows in your garden, neighboring places, electric lines, and even in highly bustling places. But ravens cannot be found like that. They like solitude and privacy and hence are found in the woods and hills where human population is less or nil. Like the habitat, the food habits of ravens and crows also are different. When crows scavenge for fruits, vegetables, and other foods in groups, ravens hunt solitarily. So crows are never the friends of a farmer as it destroys the crops. Though both the birds are omnivorous and scavenge on carrion, ravens feed more on the carrions, especially sheep.

There are different types of crows around the world like the American crows, Jungle crows, and Carrion crows. Similarly there are many different varieties of ravens as well.

1. Crows and ravens differ in the size and ravens are bigger.
2. Ravens have a purple shiny tint on the feathers when sunrays fall on them, while crows have plain dark feathers.
3. The life spans of crows are very less compared to that of ravens.
4. Crows scavenge in groups while ravens hunt in solitude.
5. Crows can be found among the dwellings of humans, but ravens prefer to stay away in the hills and woods.

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  1. There are some exceptions to Ravens staying away from human places. Here in Santa Fe, NM, where we are close to the mountains, many ravens haunt the areas around shopping malls, perching on light poles and on the parapets of the buildings. I imagine they’re dumpster-diving. They are huge and well-fed. They seem to have staked out the Malls as their territory and not many Crows are there. Conversely, in the residential neighborhoods, crows will fly down into the yards, but the Ravens remain in the high Spruce trees, and rarely come down into the yards. I imagine they like to leave themselves more wide-open space to make a quick escape.

    • Probably looking for small injuryed animals that have been hit by cars in the parking lot.

      Either that or they’re waiting for us to drop food or money. lol

  2. The crows are the ones that stay away from humans. Ravens are common in campgrounds parks and in my garage. You’ll never get close to a crow.

    • I think you might be mistaken. I see crows in my neighborhood all the time, and have rarely seen a raven. Is it possible their behavior varies depending on location?

    • Probably exceptions, I think. Here in San Francisco, several dozen crows live in the trees on the southern side of the Transamerica Pyramid building, and that area is crawling with people and cars. True, they don’t let humans get too close (unlike the completely habituated rock pigeons), but they have chosen to live in an urban environment. The last time I saw a raven was at a desolate rest stop along I80.

    • It’s an ironic thing. Crows tend to live closer to people, and ravens don’t. But, when a group of ravens break with this tendency, or humans go out into the woods where they are, ravens are much more likely to want to interact with us. Where I live in south CT, I see ravens quite sporadically. But, when I get close enough for them to hear me mimic their calls, they always call back. Crows…not so much.

  3. I’ve seen Ravens nesting in a tall pine in the heart of Los Angeles, also able to hand feed them in Death Valley.

  4. welll it was exremely knowledge full for me …to gather informaion about the topic. well thnxx to the writer

  5. Websites like this can be very confusing. The author starts out saying there are many types of crow and people use the wrong names. Then proceeds to use the name ‘crow’ throughout the text. To explain the difference between ‘crows’ and Ravens’ is therefore nonsense. I just watched a Youtube video with the same title and it showed A raven and some Rooks. If you are going to try and educate us please be a teeny bit more specific. Many Crow species have shiny feathers. For example the Carrion crow builds a solitary nest while rooks are more gregarious and build in a colony called a Rookery.

  6. I was raised in the desert and all I knew about ravens was via the Edgar Allan Poe story. The last five years I’ve lived in the mountains (7200 ft). Crows were fairly common in the Valley (mostly pigeons, doves, sparrows, grackle, and jay birds) but never saw a raven until I moved up North. They’re amazing.

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