Raven vs. Crow: What is the difference between raven and crow?

Raven vs. Crow: they might appear similar at the first glance but a closer look at them reveal otherwise. They have different sizes with ravens being larger than crows. The other obvious difference lies in crow vs. raven tail with crow’s tail spreading like a fan during flight and raven’s maintaining a wedged shape.

Considering Crow vs. Raven definitions for better understanding

What is a Raven?

Raven is a large black bird with a wedge-shaped tail and a well-developed ruff of feathers on the throat.

What is a Crow?

Crow is a black colored bird with a large fan-shaped tail and smooth feathers on the throat.

Listing the similarities between a crow and a raven for further clarity

  • Both raven and crow belong to the Corvidae family.
  • Raven and crow happen to be the only bird species of North America that are completely black.
  • Both raven and crow are opportunistic omnivores practically eating everything they may find. From insects to the scavenged food of humans, they feed on all they can get.
  • Both of them are flock members and live in close-knit family setups. 
  • Both ravens and crows have been proven to be intelligent bird species. They have been shown to possess abilities like learning speech in context to the meaning, recognizing human faces, making tools, and using them for solving the assigned tasks, to name a few. 

How big are ravens compared to crows?

Measuring from beak to tail, a raven is about 25 inches while a crow is around 19 inches long.

Are crows and ravens related?

Yes, both crows and ravens belong to the same cosmopolitan family called Corvidae.

Are the Ravens dangerous?

Ravens are dangerous predators as they are smart and work in groups. They do not pose any danger to us unless we get close to their nest. They are robust defenders for their young ones and attack the perceived predators. There are, however, no reports of serious injuries received by humans in such self-defense attacks by ravens.

Do Ravens attack humans?

Yes, ravens can attack humans if they are perceived as a threat. It is recommended not to go near a raven’s nest to avoid such an attack.

Do Ravens have teeth?

No, ravens do not have teeth like all other birds.

What are Ravens afraid of?

Ravens are afraid of cats, wolves, foxes, and other ground predators when they scavenge on land. Large hawks, owls, and eagles are also a danger for ravens.

Why do ravens attack humans?

Ravens attack humans when they perceive them as a threat. These birds are extremely protective of their young ones and will attack any being coming close to their nest.

Do ravens kill other birds?

Yes, ravens kill other birds by attacking their nest in groups. They feed on fledglings (baby birds) and eggs from these nests.

Where do Ravens sleep at night?

Ravens sleep in their giant communal units called roosts. Hundreds or even thousands of ravens gather in woodland at night to sleep together on a suitable tree.

Who is more intelligent between a raven and a crow?

Considering raven vs. crow intelligence, both ravens and crows are equally intelligent birds as proven by many scientific studies conducted specifically to test their cognizance. Along with solving puzzles, they are good at mimicking sounds as well.

Is raven or crow called a blackbird?

Neither a raven nor a crow is commonly called a blackbird. Great-tailed grackle, a bird native to North and South America, is referred to as a blackbird in common language. The biggest raven vs. crow vs. blackbird difference lies in the family they belong to. While ravens and crows share the same family, Corvidae, a blackbird belongs to the Icteridae family. You can easily distinguish a blackbird from the other two birds by looking at its tail which is almost as long as its body.

Comparing the strengths and weaknesses of a raven and a crow for differentiation between the two birds

Strengths of ravens

  • They are smart and intelligent birds that can pre-plan tasks like humans (Ref.1).

Weaknesses of ravens

  • They are not comfortable in urban settlements and, therefore, miss on many feeding opportunities.

Strengths of crows

  • They are smart and intelligent birds and are good at remembering humans they interact with. (Ref.2) 
  • They can easily settle in an urban setting and get additional feeding opportunities.

Weaknesses of crows

  • They cannot travel long distances since they flap their wings against soaring which consumes more of their energies.

What's the difference between crow and raven?

BasisRavenCrow
WingspanThe wingspan of a raven ranges anywhere between 46 to 54 inches.The wingspan of a crow can range anywhere between 32 to 40 inches. 
SizeRavens are larger than crows measuring around 25 inches from beak to tail.Crows tend to be considerably smaller measuring around 19 inches from beak to tail.
LifespanThey can live anywhere between 10 to 15 years. They can live anywhere between 7 to 8 years.
VocalizationRaven has a deep and long croaking sound from the throat.Crows have a sharp and short cawing sound from the mouth.
TailThe tail of ravens is in the shape of a diamond or wedge because of the varying length of feathers.Crows have a fan-shaped tail while flying. This is because all the tail feathers are evenly long.
Bill It has a bigger and a curved bill with a tuft of hair atop.It has a smaller and a bit flatter bill with no hair tuft atop.
FlightRavens usually soar with a swishing sound.Crows flap silently during the flight.
Flock sizeRavens move in pairs.Crows move in large groups aka murder. 

Comparison Chart

Raven vs. Crow: In This Article We Will Discover The Key Differences Between Raven and Crow, Their Similarities, Pros & Cons, And Answer Some Of The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Comparison Video

What Is the Difference Between a Raven and a Crow

How to tell if a bird is a crow or a raven?

Apart from the obvious difference in raven vs. crow size, you can distinguish between the two birds depending on the region you are in. Though both raven and crow are highly adaptive, ravens usually avoid urban settlements while crows are common there. On the other hand, crows are uncommon in deserts where ravens easily survive. 

Reference:

  1. https://science.sciencemag.org/content/357/6347/202 
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4464646/

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Author & Researcher @ Difference 101 Master in Philosophy & Data Analysis, Sorbonne Université (Graduated 2011) Lived in New York City

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