Have you ever come across a bird species that can mimic humans and imitate other birds' sounds? You may immediately think of a parrot, but another Australian species, the Australian raven, can also mimic voices.
As the name suggests, the Australian raven (Corvus coronoides) are birds in the Corvidae family native to Australia. The Australian ravens have a complete black plumage, strong grayish-black legs and feet, and a short beak and mouth. Its black feathers have gray bases, and the upper body appears shiny with a blue, violet, or green sheen. The Australian raven's dark eyes, shorter throat hackles differentiate it from the Australian crow. The color of iris for the Australian ravens change based on their age, i.e. the older adults have white irises, the younger adults have white irises with an inner blue rim. In contrast, the young birds have dark brown irises till the age of 15 months, and it appears hazel with an inner blue rim when it reaches the age of two years and 10 months.
Grains, insects, fruits, eggs, carrion, and small animals
What do they eat?
Average litter size?
How much do they weigh?
1.4 lb (650 g)
How long are they?
18-21 in (46-53 cm)
How tall are they?
What do they look like?
What are their main threats?
Wedge-tailed eagles, owls, and red foxes
What is their conservation status?
Where you'll find them
Open woodland and transitional zones
Southern Western Australia, eastern Australia, and Central Australia
Australian Raven Interesting Facts
What type of animal is an Australian raven?
An Australian raven (Corvus coronoides) is a perching bird or songbird species native to Australia.
What class of animal does an Australian raven belong to?
The Australian ravens are birds and belong to the Aves class.
How many Australian ravens are there in the world?
The global population of the Australian ravens is unknown, but the species is mentioned as commonly seen in Central and Western Australia and distributed over an extensive range. So, we can presume that the ravens are far above the threshold limit for extinction under the population size criterion.
Where does an Australian raven live?
An Australian raven is common bird species in Eastern Australia and southern Western Australia. The Australian ravens have adapted well to habitats in cities like Perth, Canberra, and Sydney. It is displaced by the Little raven in Adelaide and Melbourne and by Brisbane's Torresian crow.
What is an Australian raven's habitat?
We can find an Australian raven in its natural habitat and modified habitat. The Australian raven preferred habitats are farmland, eucalyptus-dominated forests, open uncultivated lands, and mangroves. In the absence of tall trees, they prefer abandoned buildings and windmills.
Who do Australian ravens live with?
The Australian ravens are usually seen in pairs and usually mate for life. In South Australia, the Australian raven is also seen along with the Little raven, but the ravens are restricted to forested areas while the Little raven prefers open areas. It is known to co-occur with the forest raven. In Central Australia and Western Australia, the Australian ravens and the Torresian crows compete for scattered uncommon trees and outcrops.
How long does an Australian raven live?
The average lifespan of an Australian raven is expected to be nearly 21 years. The average life expectancy of breeding Australian ravens is four to five years after they reach breeding age, i.e. three years.
How do they reproduce?
The Australian ravens start to breed at three and breed in their nests. They arrange nests in tall trees, and their nests are generally large and untidy, consisting of a floor of sticks lined with grasses, barks, and feathers usually 2 in thick. Both birds participate in constructing the nest, with the male responsible for material collection while the female takes care of the border of the nest. The breeding season of this species is from July to September. The female raven develops a patch of uncovered skin, also known as a brood patch on the bird's bottom, that turns red before the bird lays its first egg.
The female raven lays eggs, usually a clutch size of four to six eggs. The eggs appear pale-green or bluish-green with brown, black, and darker olive patches. The incubation period is approximately 20 days, and the incubation of the eggs is done solely by the female. The incubation becomes constant when the bird lays its third or fourth egg. Usually, one brood is raised per year, but sometimes a second clutch is laid if the first clutch is eaten by the predators. The juveniles resemble their adults but have dark eyes, pink fleshy gape, and lack throat hackles. Once they reach four to five months, the juvenile birds leave their parents to join the flocks. The birds older than one year develop throat hackles, and the pink fleshy gape remains until it reaches the age of two to three years.
What is their conservation status?
As per the International Union for Conservation and Nature classification, the conservation status of the Australian ravens is Least Concern.
Australian Raven Fun Facts
What do Australian ravens look like?
The Australian raven (Corvus coronoides) is often confused with the Torresian crow due to its identical appearance. But it can be differentiated by its dark eyes, shorter throat hackles. They generally walk while moving and hop when hurrying.
How cute are they?
As the ravens are entirely blackbirds and do not appear appealing, they are not considered cute.
How do they communicate?
Australian ravens are usually seen in pairs and give a territorial call to communicate with other Australian ravens in the vicinity. This territorial call of the Australian raven is a slow to high 'ah-ah-aaaah', with the final note lasting for a longer duration. A raven maintains a horizontal posture during this call, holding its head forward and aligning its body side by side to the ground. When in perched position, it holds its beak open between the calls, lowers its tail, and ruffles its throat hackles. In autumn, winter and spring, they preen each other's head and neck along with low murmuring sounds. This action is considered necessary in pair bonding.
The intensity, pitch, and order of notes will vary depending on the message the Australian raven intends to convey. Birds in flocks make a transit call that is a single high-pitched 'caa' while passing over another territory. An Australian raven gives a longer 'caa' with a reducing pitch to inform its return to the nest to its mate.
How big is an Australian raven?
An Australian raven grows 18-21 in long with a wingspan of 39 in. It is considered the largest species of corvid.
How fast can an Australian raven fly?
The average flight speed of an Australian raven is about 50 mph.
How much does an Australian raven weigh?
An Australian raven weighs up to 1.43 lb.
What are the male and female names of the species?
The information on the gender-specific names for these species is not available. We can call the males as male Australian ravens while females are female Australian ravens.
What would you call a baby Australian raven?
There is no mention of a specific name for the baby Australian ravens. We can call them juveniles or young birds.
What do they eat?
The Australian ravens are smart birds and follow innovative methods for foraging. Ravens usually search for food at dawn or late afternoon and rest during the day to escape the heat. These are omnivores, and their diet consists of grains, fruits, insects, small animals, eggs, refuse, and carrion. Occasionally, they are observed feeding on nectar from eucalypt flowers. Australian ravens prefer to eat the food at the place of finding. In hot weather conditions, the Australian ravens drink water frequently, usually ten times a day. The Australian ravens have adapted well to eat food leftovers in urban areas, like bins outside the restaurants or supermarkets and school playgrounds. Ravens use their bill instead of their feet to hold or snatch the food while flying.
Are they dangerous?
Australian ravens are not aggressive but terrestrial birds. A single breeding pair and their brood are estimated to occupy around 120 hectares. They protect their territory by dive-bombing and chasing their predators like wedge-tailed eagles, owls, red foxes, and even humans. Sometimes they show aggression towards the Little raven when both are fighting for the same food source. When humans come too close to a raven nest, they are sometimes targeted, but serious injuries are rare.
Would they make a good pet?
Based on the habitat and food preferences of the Australian ravens, we can presume that they cannot be domesticated as pets.
Did you know...
The Australian ravens build new nests every year instead of re-using the old ones.
The Noongar people of Western Australia call the Australian raven a Waardar, the watcher.
A notable fact about the Australian ravens is that they can mimic human voices and imitate sounds made by other birds. They can also sing, which is why they are known as songbirds.
Another interesting fact is that under the Agriculture and Related Resources Protection Act provisions, the Australian raven species is classified as a Declared Pest of Agriculture in areas of Western Australia. Under this act, the shooting of Australian ravens on private land is permitted and considered legal.
What is the difference between a crow and a raven in Australia?
The three crow species and the three raven species found in Australia have a similar appearance. The base of their feathers differentiates them as the base of the crow's feathers is white while those of the ravens are gray. Also, they can be differentiated by their calls. Another difference is that the three ravens have a broader chest than the crows.
Does Australia have crows and ravens?
Crows and ravens constitute the Corvidae family found in Australia. There are six members in this family, out of which five members are native to Australia. Of these six members, three are called crows and three ravens. The crow species are the Bismarck crow, the Torresian crow, and the little crow, while the raven species are the Little raven, the forest raven, and the Australian raven. The Australian ravens have throat hackles, while the other four species have bifurcate tips. The throat hackles are longer than those of the other four species.
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