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(Common) Raven

Both sexes: Glossy black plumage. Shaggy throat feathers.

The Raven is our largest crow and is about the same size as a Buzzard or about half as big again as Carrion Crows and Rooks.

Ravens have thick necks with a beard of shaggy throat feathers, which is particularly evident when calling, and a very powerful looking stout bill. On closer inspection the black feathers have a purplish sheen. The bill and legs are black.

Juveniles are like the adults but browner and have paler eyes.


In flight, the tail is diamond-shaped, and the wing beat is very slow and purposeful. Despite their size they are remarkably agile and perform allsorts of aerobatic tumbles, dives and even flip upside down, especially in the springtime.

Flight Silhouettes & Comparative Sizes
Flight Silhouettes & Comparative Sizes

Scientific Name Corvus corax
Length 64 cm (25")
Wing Span 120-150 cm (47-59")
Weight 0.8-1.5 kg (1¾-3¼ lb)
Breeding Pairs 7000
Present All Year
Status Green

Distribution map - when and where you are most likely to see the species.


The Raven's call is a very deep croaking, "kronk kronk kronk", which once heard and identified will be easily remembered.


© Jean Roché,


The Raven is a ground feeder, feeding on a diverse diet that includes: carrion, mammals, birds and their eggs and insects. Like many of the crows, they store food when it is in ample supply in readiness for leaner times.


Raven breed in the mountainous regions, on the coast and in forests. The nest is usually on a sheltered ledge or in the fork of a tree, and is built by both birds from large twigs, earth, and moss. The cup is lined with grass, moss, wool and hair.

The eggs are glossy, light blue with irregular dark brown markings. The female alone incubates the eggs, but the male brings her food. After fledging, the young birds remain dependent on their parents for 3 to 4 weeks but they often stay together for much longer.

Breeding Starts Clutches Eggs Incubation (days) Fledge (days)
February 1 3-7 20 c.35-49


British Ravens are sedentary though juveniles disperse in their first autumn or winter; the distances are typically 30 km (20 miles), but some may travel hundreds of kilometres (miles).


In the past Ravens were persecuted by farmers and gamekeepers, and then more recently they have suffered from the effects of pesticides. Their population is declining severely in Scotland and the increases in England, Wales and Ireland do not compensate for these losses.