Hin­ter­land Who’s Who

Wild - - CONTENTS - Text by An­nie Lan­glois Il­lus­tra­tion by Ash­ley Bar­ron

Com­mon Raven

Sci­en­tific Name

The Cana­dian sub­species of the Com­mon Raven is Corvus corax

prin­ci­palis, or North­ern Raven


Com­mon Ravens are some of the world’s most cos­mopoli­tan birds! Found through­out the North­ern Hemi­sphere, they’re habi­tat gen­er­al­ists. They can live com­fort­ably in forests of all types, grass­lands, moun­tains, coast­lines, deserts and even the Arc­tic tun­dra! Ravens don’t even mind shar­ing our towns and cities! You can ob­serve ravens al­most any­where in Canada, ex­cept in parts of the Prairies.

Size and colour

Ravens are large, black birds which are of­ten con­fused with crows. The eas­i­est way to dis­tin­guish the Raven from a crow is by its larger size. Ravens can have a wing­span (the mea­sure be­tween the tips of the wings) of a me­tre and a half, while a crow’s is un­der a me­tre. Also, the raven has a wedge-shaped tail when spread, while the crow has a fan-shaped tail. If you ob­serve them up close, you may no­tice that the raven has a much thicker bill and a ruff of throat feath­ers stick­ing out called “hack­les”.


Ravens will eat just about any­thing they can find; from plant mat­ter and in­ver­te­brates to eggs and other an­i­mals. They even scav­enge car­rion, or dead an­i­mals! They of­ten search for food in pairs but will also work with other crea­tures to gain ac­cess to food. By call­ing in wolves, a tough an­i­mal car­cass will be opened up for the ravens to dine too.

How is it Do­ing?

Ravens have been con­sid­ered re­ally im­por­tant by In­dige­nous Peo­ples in Canada, who ap­pre­ci­ated how mis­chievous, cu­ri­ous and smart these birds are. But when Euro­peans came to North Amer­ica, they brought along their fear and su­per­sti­tions about this bird. In some ar­eas, ravens were wiped out by hu­mans who be­lieved the birds were prey­ing on farm an­i­mals and de­stroy­ing crops. They were also af­fected by the de­struc­tion of nat­u­ral ar­eas. Now, though, this in­cred­i­bly bril­liant and adapt­able bird has made a healthy come­back and pop­u­la­tions are thriv­ing across the coun­try.

What You Can Do

If you see a raven or any wild an­i­mal liv­ing in the cities, keep your dis­tance and do not feed them! Even if we share our space, it’s im­por­tant to keep our wildlife as wild as pos­si­ble! Also, other peo­ple might think that ravens are creepy. Tell them how in­cred­i­bly smart these birds are, and en­cour­age them to learn more about them!

What the Cana­dian Wildlife Fed­er­a­tion is Do­ing

CWF has done many projects to help ur­ban wildlife, like the Com­mon Raven. Teach­ing folks about our wild neigh­bours is su­per im­por­tant so that we can live along­side each other!

Raven Crow

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