Common Raven

Corvus corax

Order: Passeriformes

Husbandry Information

Housing Requirements

Diet Requirements

  • Extremely varied. Ravens will hunt for insects and small vertebrates, scavenge on carrion, or eat fruits, vegetables, seeds and eggs.

Veterinary Concerns

Notes on Enrichment & Training


Colony or Breeding Management


Individual Identification


Programmatic Information


Temperature Guidelines



Tips on Presentation

Touching Techniques

Tips on Handling


Potential Messaging

Acquisition Information


Comments from the Rating System

  • Buffalo Zoo: Non-imprinted specimens are very challenging, and it is time-consuming to satisfy their behavioral needs. Could work better if in a group with conspecifics.
  • Houston Zoo: Big time investment; need a strong training team.
  • Maryland Zoo in Baltimore: We have three brown neck/pied crow crosses. They are the mascots of the Baltimore Ravens. Amazing, smart, adaptable birds, but with a very limited number of highly skilled handlers.
  • Philadelphia Zoo: Need very experienced trainers and handlers – cannot be handled like a bird of prey. Time consuming.
  • Zoo America: Extremely trainable, but we have a rehabilitated bird. She’s very temperamental and only works for a few handlers. Hates bracelets and boxes.

Natural History Information

Range and Habitat

The raven is found throughout Europe and North America.  Its habitat is varied.  They are often found around mountains and coastal areas.  Usually found in areas that are uninhabited by humans.

Physical Description

The raven’s plumage is all black, often with iridescent hues.  The sexes appear similar.  The beak is very large and heavy.  Bristle-like feathers cover the nostrils.  Ravens and crows are often confused.  Ravens are larger, have bigger beaks, and shaggy throat feathers.  A raven’s tail is wedge-shaped, unlike a crow’s.


Length: 18”

Wingspan: 3.8 – 4.7 feet

Weight: 2 lbs

Life Cycle

Raven pairs will form exclusive breeding territories that are defended against intruders.  The female lays 2 – 8 eggs and incubates them for 16 – 22 days.  The male will feed the female on the nest during the incubation, and both parents feed the young after hatching.  Nestlings will fledge at about 30 days and are sexually mature at 2 years of age.

In the wild, ravens rarely live longer than 10 years. In captivity, the record is 29 years.


Ravens are the largest passerine (perching) bird and are considered to be the most evolutionarily advanced of all birds.  There are many accounts of their high degree of intelligence.  Ravens have a wide variety of vocalizations and are excellent mimics.  Ravens are extremely adaptable and versatile in their diets and feeding behavior.  They will take both plant and animal food and are quick to exploit new food sources.  Ravens often cache (hide) excess food for later use.

Threats and Conservation Status


Did you know…



Honey learning some new behaviors.


Contributors and Citations

  • Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

Top Photo Credit: By Stolz, Gary M. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons