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A photo of a Australian Raven (Corvus coronoides)
Australian Raven

Australian Raven

Corvus coronoides

The Australian raven (Corvus coronoides) is a passerine bird, a member of the family Corvidae, native to much of southern and northeastern Australia. This all-black bird is the largest of the Australian corvids, measuring 46–53 centimeters in length with a wingspan of 100 centimeters and weighing approximately 650 grams. The plumage is glossy with a sheen that varies from purple to blue or green, depending on the light. Notably, the feathers have grey bases, a characteristic feature of this species.

Identification Tips

Adult Australian ravens can be identified by their prominent throat hackles, especially visible when the bird is vocalizing. The iris of the eye is white in older adults, while younger birds exhibit a range of iris colors from dark brown to hazel with an inner blue rim, transitioning to white as they mature. The beak and mouth are black, and the legs and feet are strong and grey-black. The upper mandible is adorned with bristles, and the heavy-set beak ends in a slight hook.

Habitat

The Australian raven favors open woodland and transitional zones. It has adapted remarkably well to urban environments and is commonly seen in cities such as Sydney, Canberra, Perth, and Brisbane.

Distribution

This species is widespread throughout eastern Australia and southern Western Australia, with a presence in a variety of habitats including eucalypt forests, heath, and mangroves. It is also found on some offshore islands and is a rare vagrant to Lord Howe Island.

Behaviour

Australian ravens are territorial and generally mate for life. They are sedentary, with most movement attributed to non-breeding subadults joining flocks. These intelligent birds exhibit complex social behaviors, including allopreening, which is crucial for pair bonding.

Song & Calls

The territorial call is a distinctive slow, high "ah-ah-aaaah" with the last note drawn out. The bird has a variety of calls used for communication, including a low murmuring between pairs and a high-pitched "caa" when flying over another territory.

Breeding

Breeding occurs between July and September, with pairs bonding for life and maintaining a territory. The nest is a bowl-shaped structure of sticks, often located high in a tree or occasionally on man-made structures. Clutches typically consist of four to five eggs, with the female solely responsible for incubation.

Similar Species

The Australian raven can be distinguished from Australian crow species by its throat hackles and the grey bases of its feathers, as opposed to the white bases found in crows.

Diet and Feeding

An omnivorous and opportunistic feeder, the Australian raven consumes a wide variety of plant and animal material, as well as urban food waste. It has a particular affinity for insects in summer and plant items in autumn, with flesh comprising over half its diet in winter.

Conservation status

The Australian raven is classified as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List, with a large range, abundance, and increasing population.

In the voice of David Attenborough: "The Australian raven, a bird of remarkable adaptability and intelligence, thrives across diverse landscapes of its native land. With its glossy black plumage and haunting calls, it is a symbol of the wild that has seamlessly integrated into the urban tableau."

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Australian Ravens on Birda

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