There are three species of raven in Australia, and three crows. Ravens are generally bigger than crows, but other differences - e.g. range, calls - are more reliable for identifying which species is which.
Australian Ravens are black with white eyes in adults. The feathers on the throat (hackles) are longer than in other species, and a bird tends to extend these when calling, while holding its head and body in a horizontal position. Australian Ravens are usually seen in pairs. Another aid to identification of this species is the absence of wing-flicking while calling. Young birds resemble the adults, but have dark eyes, shorter throat hackles and often the presence of a pink, fleshy gape. This species is sometimes called a crow.
The Australian Raven is found in all habitat types, with the exception of the more arid areas of Western Australia.
The Australian Raven is found in eastern, southern and central Australia.
Feeding and diet
The Family Corvidae has a wide-ranging diet that may consist of grains, fruits, insects, small animals, eggs, refuse and carrion; however, the Australian Raven is mainly carnivorous.
The territorial call is a slow, rather high 'ah-ah-ah-aaaah' with the last note drawn out.
Australian Ravens construct a large untidy nest, normally consisting of bowl or platform of sticks, lined with grasses, bark and feathers. Both sexes construct the nest and feed the young. The incubation of the eggs is performed solely by the female, and only one brood is raised in a year.
- Pizzey, G. and Knight, F. 1997. Field Guide to the Birds of Australia. Angus and Robertson, Sydney.
- Schodde, R. and Tideman, S.C. (eds) 1990. Reader's Digest Complete Book of Australian Birds (2nd Edition). Reader's Digest (Australia) Pty Ltd, Sydney.
- Strahan, R. (ed) 1996. Finches, Bowerbirds and Other Passerines of Australia.Angus and Robertson and the National Photographic Index of Australian Wildlife, Sydney.