The mysterious common raven is one of the most exciting birds, although most people don’t think so.
Ravens have been depicted in several legends and literature, and some say they are signs of misfortunate or death.
Nevertheless, these beautiful birds are misunderstood, and your mind may be changed entirely by knowing some interesting facts about them!
Ravens have great intelligence and can imitate humans. They have a complex social structure and use gestures to communicate. Ravens show empathy, remember faces, and have friends and enemies!
They are powerful symbols, they travel in gangs, which is called an unkindness. They are also very playful.
Ravens are interesting birds, and a lot of the information on them will most likely come as a huge surprise. Continue reading with us as we go through facts in ravens!
The Raven’s Appearance And Natural Habitat
The Corvus corax, commonly known as the raven, is a large bird species, usually ranging from 22 to 17 inches.
Ravens can be found in various habitats, ranging from across the Artic regions, North America, to as far as the mountains of South America and North Africa. Ravens are commonly found in woodlands, usually forests, and along rocky coastlines.
While ravens prefer to live in forests, they can also survive in the aridest deserts because they eat almost anything.
Ravens don’t need much of an introduction, as their facts are sure to blow your mind!
Let’s look at interesting facts about the amazing raven:
1. Ravens Are Highly Intelligent
Regarding intelligence, ravens are right up there, along with dolphins and chimpanzees.
In conducted studies, it was proved that a raven could reach a piece of hanging food by pulling at a string, anchoring it with its talon, and repeating the action until the food was within its reach.
Many ravens got the piece of food on their first try, and others completed the task within only 30 seconds!
If a raven knows that another raven is watching them hide their food, they will pretend to put their food in one place while hiding it in another. Since the other ravens are also intelligent, this will only work half the time.
In the wild, ravens push rocks onto people to prevent them from climbing too close to their nests.
Some ravens will even play dead close to the carcass of other animals to discourage other ravens, so they will have more to eat. Observing how ravens act gave scientists a clear idea of how intelligent these birds are!
2. Ravens Can Talk Better Than Parrots When Kept In Captivity
In captivity, ravens can learn to imitate their owners and develop better speech than most parrots. Ravens also can mimic other noises, such as bird calls, toilets flushing, or car engines!
Ravens have also been known to imitate foxes or wolves in the wild to attract them to carcasses that the raven is incapable of breaking open!
3. Ravens Have A Complex Social Structure
Ravens are a monogamous species, and some pairs mate for life. This is different from most other birds; sometimes, ravens will even mate mid-air!
4. Ravens Are Exceptionally Good At Hunting
Although you may think ravens to be only scavengers, feasting off any dead animal they can find, ravens often hunt in groups. They are known to trap and kill prey up to twice their size!
As mentioned above, due to the raven’s high intelligence levels, they will hide their food from other ravens and predators.
They will pretend to hide food in a safe place while they know another raven is watching them, only to move their food to another location when the raven isn’t watching them anymore.
They even will follow pregnant sheep around when they are giving birth and attack the young lambs as they are being born.
5. Ravens Use Gestures To Communicate With Each Other
From holding up objects that have gained their interest to “pointing” at things using their beaks, ravens have a specific way of communicating with each other.
A male will gesture with his beak to a female he is sexually interested in, and the female will maneuver her beak to object or accept.
Ravens have been elevated to a higher level of communication which was until recently only observed in apes and humans, making them even more impressive animals!
6. Ravens Are Capable Of Feeling Empathy For Each Other
Despite their mischievous nature, ravens are capable of feeling empathy toward each other. If a raven’s friend loses during a fight, they will attempt to console them.
Ravens can also remember other birds they like and will respond positively to some birds up to three years after seeing them.
However, ravens can also hold grudges; although they are kind, they will remember a bird who has betrayed them or attempted to fight with them!
7. Ravens Can Remember Human Faces
Perhaps one of the most unsettling but impressive facts on this list about ravens is that they have something that is referred to as “episodic memory.”
Humans and other primates also have episodic memory, and it allows ravens to remember specific human faces, along with characteristics.
However, ravens can remember a human face and characteristics and associate it with an event or emotion, so if you’ve ever harmed a raven, be on the lookout!
8. Ravens Have Friends And Enemies
Ravens tend to prefer companionship with other ravens, especially if they are of the opposite sex or relatives.
It has been proved that a raven will refuse to work with another raven that has harmed or betrayed them; in fact, it has been proven that ravens can hold a grudge for up to a month after a negative experience!
9. Ravens Are Powerful Symbols
Ravens are generally associated with illness, death, or a bad omen, and they have been featured in countless ancient stories worldwide and in almost every religion and culture!
For instance, Swedish folklore has it that ravens are the spirits of murdered people who were not given Christian burials.
Irish folklore regards ravens as symbols of warfare. In the Hindu religion, one of their gods is often portrayed on the back of a huge raven!
10. Not All Ravens Are Black
Although most people have never seen white ravens, they do exist, and it’s due to a very rare pigment condition called leucism. This causes a raven to have white feathers and sometimes blue eyes!
11. Ravens Travel In Teenage Groups
Although ravens mate for life and live in pairs in a chosen territory, many young ravens will leave their homes when they reach adolescence. They will join gangs and live the lives many mothers fear for their children!
They will create a group of young, “teenage” birds and live and eat together until they find their perfect mate and fly off.
Interestingly enough, teenage ravens do not do well when they live with each other, and studies have found higher levels of stress hormones in teenage raven droppings than in mated adults’ droppings!
12. A Group Of Ravens Is Called An “Unkindness”
If ravens don’t already have a spooky enough appearance and reputation, the collective noun for them is known as an “unkindness.”
Other collective nouns for a group of ravens include “conspiracy” and a “treachery,” which doesn’t sound much more positive!
13. Ravens Love To Play
Ravens are very similar to acrobats. They will fly upside down, surf updrafts, or even turn somersaults just because they know they can!
Young ravens have been documented and seen playing games by catching and dropping sticks in the air and then quickly swooping down to catch them before it reaches the ground.
When it comes to ravens, they are much more than what meets the eye. These highly intelligent and complex birds are exciting and don’t necessarily deserve the common misperception many have about them! The next time you see a raven, consider it your lucky day, and be sure to give them a wave and a smile!