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Last updated on April 24, 2014 at 16:36 EDT

Australian Raven

The Australian Raven (Corvus coronoides) is the largest member of the genus Corvus found in Australia. It is more slender than the Common Raven of the Northern Hemisphere but is otherwise similar. Like the other Corvus members in Australia and some species from the islands to the north, it has a white iris distinguished in this species by having a light blue ring around the pupil. The totally black feathers have a beautiful blue or bluish purple gloss in bright light. The area under the bill near the throat is usually naked unlike any other species. Like almost all members of the genus Corvus, its flight is strong and purposeful. Additionally, it shows the same intelligence and resourcefulness as the rest of the genus.

At 48 to 56 cm in length, it is only marginally larger than the 48 to 50 cm Little Raven, and is best distinguished from it by a higher-pitched call and more deeply fingered wingtips.

It is common throughout eastern Australia and southern Western Australia (the populations being connected by a narrow strip across the Nullarbor Plain) but not found in the far north.

Their diet consists of carrion, insects, seeds, fruit, small reptiles, nestlings and eggs. Research has shown that the preference ratio is 34% carrion, 42% invertebrates and 24% plant material. Food is taken mainly from the ground but they will occasionally feed in trees.

The Australian Raven prefers to nest in tall trees, never near to the ground as some species do. The female lays 5-7 eggs which are incubated over 20 days. Juveniles are fledged within 45 days and they stay with the parents for about four months after that.

Its call is a mournful “aaaar aaaar aaaar” dying away towards the end often into a gargling. The long throat feathers hang down in a very distinctive way when it is calling.

Australian Raven