Monday, July 12, 2010

Do you know the differences between Ravens versus Crows?

A lady down the street from me feeds the local crows everyday. They hang around, those special few who’ve discovered her generosity, on the electrical lines in the front of her house. 
For some silly reason I always think of those two British speaking Crows, Heckel and Jeckel, in the cartoons.   

While on one of my daily walks with my pug, I had my 3-year-old granddaughter with me.
She was delighted with those black birdies, and I told her they were Crows.
I also told her that there were other black birdies bigger than Crows called Ravens.
In the delightful manner of a know-everything 3-year old, she nodded her head and said, “I know.” A snap shot moment.
For those who don’t know all the differences between these two intelligent birds, I’ve listed some differences below on the American crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) and the common raven (Corvus corax).
Physical Differences: Crows average around 17 inches long, and ravens about 24-27.
  • A raven weighs about four times that of a crow.
  • Crows have a wing span around 2.5 ft., and ravens about 3.5-4 ft.
    • A raven's wing sometimes makes a prominent "swish, swish" sound, while a crow's wingbeat is usually silient.
  • Ravens have pointed wings, while crows have a more blunt and splayed wing tip.
  • Crows have a fan-shaped tail (squared-off), while raven tails are long and wege-shaped.
  • Besides having a bigger, more powerful bill, a raven's bill is curved, while a crow has a more-or-less flat bill. Additionally, atop a raven's bill is a tuft of hairs absent on crows.
    • As a result of being larger and more powerful, ravens are the more efficient predator. (Predation is a very small percentage of crow and raven diets.)
    • Crows are more at home in the urban landscape, given their ability to be more socially inclined than ravens.
    • Diet: While both are commited to being vociferous omnivores, ravens are drawn to carrion (especially sheep), while crows may be less picky
    • Ravens probably find food faster in the wild, considering anecdotes from tappers about how fast ravens could find the carrion in their traps.
  • Vocalizations: For the sake of basic reference, a crow's call is a "caw" and a raven's is a low and slow croak.
  • Crows exhibit at least two dozen differnt calls, while ravens can express themselves with 20-100's of different vocalizations, depending on the expert cited.
Time for me to walk on down the road...

1 comment:

Jendocino said...

"There is a fifth dimension, beyond that which is known to man.
It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition. And, it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone."

I bet there are ravens in the Twilight Zone. They seem like that kind of bird, don't they? Outstanding post. But of course I would like it!

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