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23

Australian Raven

(Corvus coronoides)
Alternate name(s): "Crow*", "Raven*", "Kelly*"
Aboriginal name(s): Race "perplexus": "wodang", "kwokom", "karlo" (WA)

Size: 48-54 cm; wing span 100 cm (average)
Weight: 650 g (average)

Similar species

Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See Australian Raven at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

Race "coronoides"

ADULT

Full-frontal portrait of an Australian Raven; their forward vision (note the position of the eyes) shows that they are not worried about raptors (or predators of any kind)
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, August 2015]

Near-frontal portrait of an Australian Raven
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, August 2015]

Near-lateral portrait of an Australian Raven
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, August 2015]

Frontal view of an Australian Raven (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Karatta, Kangaroo Island, SA, March 2016]

Frontal view of an Australian Raven (photo courtesy of L. Scott)
[Roseberry Creek Valley, near Toonumbar NP, northern NSW, November 2016]

Frontal view of an Australian Raven; note how, with sun glare, the partly reflective plumage makes the bird appear grey, rather than pitch-black
[Yarrie Lake, NSW, March 2016]

Near-lateral view of an Australian Raven displaying its hackles
[June 2009]

Lateral view of an Australian Raven (photo courtesy of L. Scott)
[Roseberry Creek Valley, near Toonumbar NP, northern NSW, November 2016]

Lateral view of an Australian Raven
[Epping, NSW, April 2006]

Different perspective from below; note that there are no white tail feathers - these are glossy black feathers reflecting sunlight
[March 2011]

Near-dorsal portrait of an Australian Raven (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Karatta, Kangaroo Island, SA, March 2016]

Dorsal view of an Australian Raven (photo courtesy of L. Scott)
[Roseberry Creek Valley, near Toonumbar NP, northern NSW, November 2016]

Dorsal view of an Australian Raven
[March 2011]

Australian Raven taking a bath
[August 2011]

Australian Raven calling and in the process displaying its hackles
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, March 2013]

According to the photographer, this Australian Raven was a bit of a practical joker... (photo courtesy of L. Scott)
[Roseberry Creek Valley, near Toonumbar NP, northern NSW, November 2016]

Corvids are notoriously difficult to tell apart; apart from the hackles shown above, one more characteristic of an Australian Raven is the slightly rounded shape of its tail in normal flight (as opposed to the Torresian Crow's, which has a square tip)
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, August 2012]

Lateral view of an Australian Raven in flight
[Eulah Creek, NSW, April 2011]

Different phase of the wing beat
[July 2011]

Near-dorsal view of an Australian Raven banking in low flight (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[South Ensay, East Gippsland, VIC, June 2014]

Ventral view of an Australian Raven in flight; note the rounded shape of the tail end
[Near Burren Junction, NSW, March 2014]

IMMATURE/JUVENILE

Frontal view of an immature Australian Raven
[October 2010]

This bird was identified by its call as an Australian Raven; its short bill and remnant pink gape indicate that it is a young bird
[Eulah Creek, NSW, May 2012]

Fledgling Australian Raven observed near its nest
[Near Narrabri, NSW, 2006]

Near-frontal view of an immature Australian Raven in flight
[Eulah Creek, NSW, April 2011]

Lateral view of an immature Australian Raven in flight; while the length of the bill, compared to the size of the head, indicates that this is an Australian Raven, the absence of hackles suggests that the bird is still young
[Eulah Creek, NSW, April 2011]

Frontal view of a juvenile Australian Raven playfully breaking twigs
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, October 2015]

Corvus coronoides "moriturus" - a blind Australian Raven that appeared in our garden in November 2011; although it could still fly, it was doomed (one can see that it was under attack from ants already)
[Eulah Creek, NSW, November 2011]

Example of how reflection of sunlight off an Australian Raven's glossy plumage can change its appearance
[Bullawa Creek SCA, NSW, August 2013]

Race "perplexus"

ADULT

Near-lateral view of an Australian Raven (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Herdsman Lake, Perth, WA, August 2015]

Lateral view of an Australian Raven (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Herdsman Lake, Perth, WA, August 2015]

Lateral view of an Australian Raven in the stance for calling (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Herdsman Lake, Perth, WA, August 2015]

Breeding information

Breeding season: Jul - Sep Eggs: 4 - 5 Incubation period: 19 days Fledging age: 28 days

There can be communal breeding, with more than one female laying eggs into the same nest. All family members help care for the chicks.

Nest

"bungobittah", "malunna" = nest [Aboriginal]

Type: Basket Material: Sticks with grass, wool or fur lining Height above ground: <10 m

Australian Raven's nest 15 m high up in a treetop
[October 2007]

Different nest, with three chicks looking out over the edge
[Rocky Creek, NSW, September 2008]

Australian Raven arriving with two sticks for its nest
[Whittaker's Lagoon, NSW, June 2012]

Pair of Australian Ravens is preparing its nest for the new breeding season - first a straight branch
[Whittaker's Lagoon, NSW, June 2012]

Pair of Australian Ravens is preparing its nest for the new breeding season - then a prickly branch from a briarbush to lock everything in place
[Whittaker's Lagoon, NSW, June 2012]

Tree chosen by a pair of Australian Ravens for building their nest (in a small fork near the top)
[Near Wee Waa, NSW, September 2012]

Eggs

"boyanga", "booyanga", "derinya", "dirandil", "koomura", "ngampu", "nooluk", "pateena" = Egg; "dirundirri" = eggs [Aboriginal]; "gawu" = eggs [gamilaraay]

Size: 45 x 35 mm Colour: Creamy, heavily speckled all over with brown speckles Shape: Tapered oval

Behaviour

Social behaviour: Communal/roaming Mobility: Sedentary/dispersive Elementary unit: Flock

Outside the breeding season Australian Ravens tend to form small mobs of up to ca. 20 birds
[Yarrie Lake, NSW, April 2017]

Australian Ravens are the "highway patrol" in the bird world. They fly along roads searching for road kill, which, together with ants, Wedge-tailed Eagles and Whistling Kites, they will clean up in a very short time.

They are very well adapted to the presence of humans in cities, but shy out in the wild. They often come in pairs in summertime and groups through the winter, one first checking out the terrain before the others approach. Even then one will probably remain high in a tree while the others forage.

We have seen an Australian Raven hustle an Australian Magpie, stealing its prey in flight. When the Magpie let go of the small lizard it had caught, the Australian Raven scooped it up in mid-air and then flew to a nearby tree to pluck it apart while sitting on an horizontal branch.

As nest robbers Australian Ravens are not well-liked by other bird species, especially during the breeding season; here a Noisy Friarbird has taken offence
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, October 2012]

Food, Diet

Adults: Omnivore Dependents: ? Water intake: Daily?

Like all members of the Corvus family known to us, Australian Ravens are omnivores. They are often found scavenging at rubbish tip and by roadsides. Many are also found in crops and fallow fields.

Australian Ravens on a kangaroo carcass - the first point of ingress is via the soft parts (the anus; the bird on the lower right)
[Eulah Creek, NSW, May 2016]

Australian Raven exploring the carcass of a fox cub
[Eulah Creek, NSW, November 2012]

Australian Raven pulling an earth worm out of soft soil in rainy conditions
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2016]

The "bread thief" - Australian Raven making off with a piece of bread
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, March 2013]

Australian Raven with a good meal in its bill - several olives
[Eulah Creek, NSW, May 2013]

Here an Australian Raven that we have seen with something to eat (hard to identify at this distance) on the water's edge; we do not know whether the bird caught its prey in the water or whether it may have rinsed its meal (a behavioural pattern that we have seen used by a House Crow in Oman)
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, September 2011]

Unexpected observation: Australian Ravens taking nectar from a Grevillea robusta tree
[Eulah Creek, NSW, November 2012]

Two Australian Ravens having a good time at the "Road Kill Restaurant"... (photo courtesy of R. Druce)
[Maules Creek, NSW, June 2013]

... but then a Whistling Kite appeared and spoiled all the fun (photo courtesy of R. Druce)
[Maules Creek, NSW, June 2013]

Australian Raven checking for dead animals washed up on a beach and sand dune
[Munmorah SCA, NSW, July 2013]

Australian Raven taking off with an unwary human's apple...
[Urunga Heads Beach, NSW, August 2015]

Call(s)/Song

For this species we have recorded the following call(s)/song. The interpretation of their meaning is our own; comments and suggestions for improvement are welcome.

austrav_20140109_2.mp3 coronoides
(NW NSW)
Contact call © MD
austrav_20140128.mp3 coronoides
(NW NSW)
Contact calls © MD
austrav_20140128_2.mp3 coronoides
(NW NSW)
Q&A © MD
austrav_20140703.mp3 coronoides
(NW NSW)
"Cawing" © MD
austrav_20140107_2.mp3 coronoides
(NW NSW)
In flight © MD
austrav_20140411.mp3 coronoides
(NW NSW)
Clicking call © MD
austrav_20151219.mp3 coronoides
(NW NSW)
? (immature) © MD
austrav_20140509.mp3 coronoides
(NW NSW)
? © MD
Click here for more recordings

We have also recorded the sound of Australian Ravens' wing beats.

austrav_20140404_2.mp3 coronoides
(NW NSW)
Cruising © MD
austrav_20140404.mp3 coronoides
(NW NSW)
High thrust © MD
austrav_20140509_2.mp3 coronoides
(NW NSW)
High thrust © MD

These pages are largely based on our own observations and those of our contributors. The structure of these bird pages is explained HERE. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.

Would you like to contribute photos or sound recordings to this site?
If interested, please CLICK HERE. Credits to contributors are given HERE.