The Australian raven, Corvus coronoides, belongs to the genus Corvus which includes around 45 widely distributed species from the family Corvidae (aka. the Corvids). Like most of its relatives, the Australian Raven has largely black plumage, though some of its upper parts have a glossy purple, blue and green sheen. Strong in shape and form with a powerful heavy-set beak, the Australian raven is a highly adaptable species that lives in both natural and urban environments.
Australian ravens are medium-sized birds that measure around 45 to 54cm (17.5 to 21.5in) in length and have a wingspan of around 100cm (39in). They weigh 650g (1.43 lb). Like most birds in the Corvus genus and indeed the Corvidae family, the Australian raven is primarily or all black, except for a colourful sheen on its uppermost feathers.
A strong bird with a thick, powerful beak and powerful legs, the Australian raven shares most of its features with other ravens.
Close up of an Australian Raven
The Australian Raven measures around 45 to 54cm in length (17.5 to 21.5in) in length and has a wingspan of around 100cm (39in). They weigh around 650g (1.43 lb). This makes them slightly smaller than the Common raven (Corvus corax).
Typically weighing around 650g (1.43 lb) up to around 800g at the most (1.76lb), the Australian raven is around average for birds in its genus Corvus.
The scientific name for an Australian raven is Corvus coronoides. There are two subspecies, Corvus coronoides coronoides, which is the most widely distributed of the two, and Corvus coronoides perplexus, which is primarily distributed in Western Australia.
Australian Raven in flight
Australian ravens are not necessarily aggressive but are territorial in their breeding pairs. Their territories can be as large as 120 hectares (300 acres), though they will permit other birds to feed in their territory so long as they don’t encroach on their nest.
Where food competition is high, Australian ravens are known to attack other birds, including other ravens like the Little raven. They’re also generally fearless and will attack foxes, birds of prey and other predators in defence.
An adult Australian Raven in captivity can live for 22 years. In the wild, a lifespan of around 20 years is more likely. This is about average for Corvids of this size.
Australian Raven perched in a tree
Australian Ravens are classified as a species of Least Concern, and their populations are climbing, especially in urban areas.
Australian Ravens are omnivores but lean strongly on carnivorous feeding. They’re opportunistic feeders and will hunt prey both alive and as carrion.
They feed mainly on invertebrates and insects, as well as small birds and mammals. Australian ravens forage for food from low-lying vegetation or the ground. Feeding on human waste and leftovers is common in urban environments.
Australian ravens have been observed attacking weak or sick lambs and other larger animals. Their powerful, heavy-set beak is ideal for picking and ripping at corpses. Overall, a flexible, unfussy and opportunistic feeder with a penchant for scavenging for meat.
Australian Raven eating oval grass
Australian ravens are most commonly monogamous, mating for life and occupying territories in their mated pairs. One male may rarely share two females across adjacent territories.
Australian ravens prefer to nest in tall, sheltered trees. In urban environments, they may choose to nest in telephone poles, abandoned buildings, or on the roof of tall structures.
The nest itself is untidy but generally quite large with a diameter of around 60cm. Both birds assist in building the nest, the male commonly foraging for materials whilst the female assembles them into the nest.
Australian Raven collecting sticks for nest building
A typical clutch numbers around 3 to 6 eggs. Australian ravens tend to only raise one brood a year. However, a second clutch can be laid if the first is lost or is otherwise unsuccessful early in the breeding season.
Australian raven eggs are quite variable and tough to identify. They tend to measure around 45 by 30mm and are usually pale green or bluish-green. Eggs often have splotches of dark green or olive intermixed with brown and black spots or other markings.
Australian Raven coming in to land
The typical call of an Australian Raven, used both to communicate with other ravens and to indicate one’s territorial presence is an ah-ah-aaaah sound.
They have various other calls and vocalisations for when they’re preening or roosting. Mated pairs may announce their presence in their territory with a ca sound.
Australian ravens inhabit a wide range of environments, including alpine habitats of up to some 2000m, arid environments, urban environments and all types of pastoral and rural land.
They prefer woodland habitats dominated by pines or eucalyptus. Aside from land of high elevation exceeding 2000m, Australian ravens tend to avoid dense rainforests.
An Australian Raven taking a bath in the water
Australian ravens are common throughout eastern, southern and central Australia. Whilst you’re still more likely to spot them in woodland or rural environments, they are becoming increasingly common in urban areas such as cities and towns. Canberra, Sydney, Perth, Melbourne and Adelaide all have significant populations of Australian ravens.
The Australian raven is most common throughout Eastern Australia and the south coast of the island. They’re also prevalent in the southernmost parts of Western Australia. Sporadic sightings are recorded across most of Australia, however, including in the Australian Alps and offshore islands.
Australian Raven flying
Australian ravens do not migrate, usually sticking to their large territories for much of the duration of their life. In fact, most species of ravens, in general, are non-migratory.
Whilst there is little data on the number of breeding pairs of Australian ravens, they are classified as a species of Least Concern and their populations are currently increasing.
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