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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: 09/26/10

Sunday, September 26, 2010

THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN RAVENS AND CROWS!!


The Raven

The Crow




   Raven are the largest members of the crow family, so it's only natural that the two species look similarly.  Ravens are clearly spotted when they are next to crows by their sheer body size.  But ravens and crows do not always conveniently stand next to each other when a human observer is trying to identify them.  Then, the observer has to look at other features on the bird.


The Crow

   A Note On Species Differential
   There are several species of ravens, but the most familiar species is Corvus corax, or the common raven.  Unfortunately, this species is not so common now due to hunting and habitat loss.  Other species of ravens in the world do share similar characteristics, including a mostly black body.  There are raven species that have dark brown feathers or white marks on the back of their necks.  Also there are dozens of species of crows in the world.  Many of these species come in other colors, making it easy to distinguish them from ravens.  But sometimes, a species like the carrion crow  comes in an all-black sub-species.  Then, there are species like the American crow that are also all black, no matter what their age, sex or subspecies.

Beak Shape
   Crows have a basic long spear-like beak shape that's similar to many other species of songbirds.  Ravens have vastly different bill shapes than crows.  They almost seem grotesque in comparison.  If looking at the bill profile, it seems to curve upwards into a shape that bird watchers call "hooked".  One species in Africa, the thick-billed raven has a bill so large that it almost looks like a second head.
   Some species like the common raven and the Australian raven will also have feathers on the part of the bill closest to the head.  In comparison, a crow's bill will be feather-free.  Some species of crows will have a small but prominent hook at the very end of the top half of the beak.  In the thick-billed raven, this tip is white while the rest of the beak is black,  however you have to get pretty close in order to see that.


The Raven

Tail Shape
   The only way to see the tail shape of the bird properly is to see the bird in flight.  Since it flies by so fast, just look at the basic shape the silhouette of the tail creates.  In many all-black crow species, this tail shape is triangular.  But in ravens, the shape is usually more like a wedge.

Attitude
   Although individual birds vary, in general ravens are much shyer than crows.  However, juvenile ravens have often been observed behaving as bold as crows while their elders admonish them from their hiding places.