Raven vs Crow: How to Tell Them Apart

Raven Vs. Crow; what are the differences? This is a question that has bugged amateur bird watchers. While a raven and a crow have similar looks, they are different in their behavior, where they choose to live, and other traits. Ravens and crows are identical because they both belong to the Corvidae family. 

One of the easiest ways to tell a raven from a crow is for you to understand that ravens are bigger than crows. Ravens will also travel in pairs, while crows travel in large groups. Crows and Ravens can be hard to tell apart, so we’ve decided to help you through this easy-to-understand guide. 

Raven Vs. Crow: Differences in Physical Appearance 

Raven and Crow

If you are an amateur bird watcher, you can differentiate between a raven and a crow by simply looking at their size. As a rule of thumb, a raven is bigger than a crow. Ravens have more weight than crows, and they also have a larger wingspan. Ravens also have bigger bills. Simply put, everything about a raven in terms of size is bigger than a crow. 

You can also tell them apart from their tails when they are flying. When ravens are flying, their wings are pointed, and their tails become wedge-shaped. However, in crows, their wings are blunt and splay-shaped. Their tails are also shaped like a fan. 

An American crow’s length is about 40 to 50cm. The average American crow also weighs around 300-600grams.

In contrast, the common raven measures around 63 centimeters. Some may be up to 70 centimeters. Common ravens also weigh about 1.2 kilograms and a maximum of 1.5 kilograms. 

Still, the raven generally has a bigger beak than crows on physical appearance and size. For example, the bill of the Thick-billed raven is about 8 to 9cm long. If you are an amateur bird watcher, you can use the beak to tell the difference between a crow and a raven. The crow has a beak that is slimmer and less curved. 

Raven Vs. Crow: Differences in Call

If you are an avid watcher of the television series Game of Thrones, you should be familiar with the sound of a crow. It sounds like a “kaw.” You will hear them make a loud kaw sound followed by short kaws when listening to them. The kaw sound is very loud and nasal. Frankly, the call sounds of crows are harsh and can be very disturbing to listen to for long periods. Crows don’t have the sweet calls of, say, a bluebird. 

On the other hand, the call sounds of a raven are deep and less harsh than a crow’s. The raven’s call may sound like a “croak” or “wonk-wonk.”

Raven Vs. Crow: Differences in Intelligence 

The Heads of a Raven and Crow

Crows are very intelligent birds. They are so smart that they can form bonds with humans that feed them regularly. So, if you want to have an Avian friend, you can start providing food for a crow today! Crows also come up with several smart ways to get food and survive in urban areas. 

There have been cases where crows brought back gifts to a person or family that feeds them. Isn’t that sweet? Crows are also known to remember the faces of people. Crows have used water displacement for drinking water or reaching a treat. They will also use sticks to retrieve a hard-to-reach treat. 

Crows are also very social. They have different calls for varying scenarios. Crows use communication to survive. For example, crows have various warnings for cats, hawks, and people. You may think that “kaw” is the only sound they make, but crows also use clicks, rattles, and coos to communicate. 

Ravens are also very smart birds. Ravens and crows are considered some of the smartest birds in the world. Ravens belong to the same Corvids family, which blue jays are a part of. And birds in the Corvid family are known to be very smart. 

When it comes down to deciding if ravens are smarter than crows, they will take the prize. This is because Ravens live for about 30 years while crows live for about eight years. So, it only makes sense to assume that they’d become far smarter than a crow throughout a raven’s long life due to experience. Ravens are also better at solving problems than crows. However, crows are better at remembering the faces of people. When it comes to deciding if ravens are more intelligent than crows, it is a close call. 

Raven Vs. Crow: Differences in Diet 

Regarding diet, ravens prefer to eat small invertebrates, reptiles, small mammals, human garbage, etc. Crows, on the other hand, are more simple in their diet. They eat fruits, small birds, nuts, mollusks, earthworms, etc. 

Raven Vs. Crow: Differences in Habitat 

Ravens like to live in open habitats. They also will live in forest habitats. The common raven’s forest habitats go across western and northern North America. The common raven will live in forests that are evergreen. They will also stay on the sea coast, high desert, tundra, and grasslands. Ravens can live well amongst people that live in rural settlements. You may also occasionally find ravens that inhabit towns and cities. 

On the other hand, crows will live on tree tops and even on roadsides. They will also live in open woods and empty town centers. The American crow can be found in Northern America, and they like to live in open areas.

Raven Vs. Crow: Differences in Plumage 

It is hard to distinguish ravens from crows in terms of plumage because they are both black-colored birds. However, experienced bird watchers will tell you that a crow has shorter and more neat-looking feathers. 

The ravens’ feathers are thicker, and their primary wing feathers are longer than a crow’s. The feathers of both birds have an oily, shiny look. Ravens also spot longer middle feathers. If you are asked to identify a raven from a crow, one of the best ways is to look at their plumage. The one with a shaggy-looking plumage is most likely the raven. 

Raven Vs. Crow: Differences In Behavior 

When it comes to being social, crows are generally more social than ravens. Unlike hummingbirds, ravens and crows are monogamous and will mate for life. 

Just like the bluejay, ravens and crows are very territorial. They will both fiercely protect their territories. However, crows are more social when it comes to feeding and roosting. There are some slight differences in the gregarious nature of crows in terms of species. For example, the Carrion crow is a very solitary bird and prefers to roost independently. However, the Rook crow is very social and roost in large colonies. 

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