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Learn the Difference Between Crow and Raven

Did you ever try to know the difference between crow and raven? They are so similar that one inattentive look towards them makes us believe that both are the same. But no, they are not. 

Yesterday we learned about the difference between turtle and tortoise, and today we came with yet another LLTD article – the difference between crow and raven. Without much ado let us begin the difference between crow and raven. 

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Aves

Order: Passeriformes

Family: Corvidae

Genus: Corvus

Crow

Note: As there are several species of crows with their own distinct characteristics, we are discussing only American crow for the description of crow. 

The scientific name of the American crow is Corvus brachyrhynchos. It is a common bird seen mostly in the United States of America. They are the western counterparts of eastern hooded crow and carrion crow. 

It measures around 40-50 centimeters or 16-20 inches long and weighs around 300 to 600 grams or 11 to 21 oz. Males are usually larger than females. 

The crows are omnivores meaning they eat both meat and plants. In normal weather, they hunt frogs, mice, and other animals. In winter when the food was scarce, their diet consisted of acorns and nuts. Similar to other species of crows, they are scavengers meaning they eat dead animals. 

Crows are monogamous. The crows lay nearly three to six eggs and the incubation period is 18 days. They are listed as ‘Least Concern’ in the IUCN Red List. 

Raven

The scientific name of raven is Corvus corax. It is also known as the northern raven or the western raven. The species is found in the Northern Hemisphere. Raven is the most widely distributed species of the genus Corvus. 

There are 8 subspecies of raven. The subspecies are not only different in their physical appearance but also show genetic differences. 

They are 63 centimeters or 25 inches long and weigh 2.6 pounds or 1.2 kilograms. 

Ravens are omnivores and opportunistic predators. Their diet varies with seasons and includes rodents, frogs, and other small animals. They are also scavengers and feed on carrion of caribou and ptarmigan. They stash the food and raid the food caches of other animals. Furthermore, they mostly feed on human garbage (food that humans throw). 

They are mostly monogamous. Females lay three to seven eggs that are pale bluish-green with brown blotches. Incubation period is 18 to 21 days. IUCN Red List lists raven under ‘Least Concern’ category. 

Difference Between Crow and Raven 

Physical Characteristics

If you give a closer look, you will understand that ravens are larger than crows. Their wingspan is longer than crows. Ravens tail appears like a wedge whereas crows tail are flat and open like a fan.

The beaks of the raven are bigger and curvier than crows. The bristles present at the base of the beak are longer in ravens than crows. The feathers near the throat are shaggier in ravens. 

Geographic Location

Ravens are seen in countries that are present in the Northern Hemisphere like Canada, USA, China, Russia, UK, etc. They are not seen in the Southern Hemisphere. 

Crows are present in every continent except Antarctica. There are around 35 crow species spread across the world. 

Calls

Raven croak. The calls produced by raven are low-pitched and sound hollow and rattled. 

Crows caw in series. A longer caw is followed by a series of shorter caws. It is nasal and high-pitched. Crows have harsher and louder sound than ravens. Crows can sometimes purr as well. 

Environment

Ravens prefer wild and quiet setting far from the bustling world whereas crows are comfortable with populous and densely populated areas like cities. They are cool with humans.

Diet

Both ravens and crows are omnivores. They feed on birds, frogs, mice, eggs of other birds, carrion of small animals, corns, wheat, and nuts. But ravens prefer meat more than crows. 

One of the reasons assumed for this preference is that ravens live in wilder areas where availability of meat is easier than for the crows which live in densely populated areas. 

Social Behavior

As ravens stay in remote and wild areas, they are not very social with humans. But crows inhabit both rural and urban areas and hence they are very social. 

Flight

Ravens flight is similar to soaring and crows flap more while flying. The wingtips or ‘ ‘fingers’ look longer in ravens and help in flight. The fingers or feathers are shorter in crows due to which they have to flap their wing more often. 

Lifespan

Ravens live for 10 to 15 years in the wild and when in captivity, they can live for up to 40 years. The longest known lifespan of a raven was of a banded wild Common Raven which lived for 23 years and 3 months. 

Crows live for seven to eight years (talking of American crow) in the wild. In captivity, their lifespan is around thirty years. 

Difference Between Crow and Raven in a Nutshell

Characteristic CrowRaven
Habitat Urban and rural dwellingsWild and remote areas
Tail Fan shapedWedge shaped
VocalizationCaw and purr, high-pitched, louderCroak, low-pitched, softer
Beak or billSmall and flatBigger and curvier
Wings Blunt Size: 32 to 40 inchesPointedSize: 46 to 54 inches
SizeSmaller, 600 to 900 gramsBigger, around 1.2 kilograms
Lifespan7-8 years (in wild)30 years (in captivity)10-15 years (in wild)40 years (in captivity)
Diet Less meat consumptionMore meat consumption
Geographic LocationAll continents except AntarcticaSeen only in the Northern Hemisphere
FeathersLess shinyShiny 
FlightMore of flapping More of soaring
Social BehaviorVery socialLess social
Throat FeathersLess conspicuousHighly visible and are whiskery than crows

This ends our article on difference between crow and raven. If you want us to write more on similar topics, drop a comment below.