Readers’ wildlife photos

May 21, 2023 • 8:15 am

Today is Sunday, which is Themed Bird Photos by John Avise Day. Today we celebrate corvids; John’s narrative and captions are indented, and you can click on the photos to enlarge them.

Crows and Ravens

American Crows (Corvus brachyrhynchos) and Common Ravens (Corvus corax) are two widespread and well-known North American members of the family Corvidae.  Because both species are medium-sized and all black in plumage, they can be somewhat difficult to distinguish from one another.

But the Raven is larger-bodied, scruffier around the head and neck, and has a wedge-shaped rather than squared-off tail (most evident in flight).  The two species also differ in their vocalizations, with the Crow issuing clean “Cah Cahs” while the Raven issues more throaty “Kraaahs or Brrrocks”.

This week’s photos, all taken in Southern California or Wyoming, compare some different views of these two close cousins.  Crows and Ravens may not be the most beautiful of birds, butthey certainly seem to be among the most intelligent.

American Crow:

Another American Crow:

American Crow in flight:

American Crow holding a feather:

Yet another American Crow:

Flock of American Crows coming in to roost:

Common Raven:

Another Common Raven:

Common Raven in flight:

Another Common Raven in flight:

Common Raven head portrait:

Mobbing a Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis):

Crooning pair of Common Ravens:

Fight silhouettes of a Common Raven chasing an American Crow:

9 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. Right on cue – splendid

    I’d use an exclamation point but prefer a more relaxed effect – I’m not sure there is such punctuation.

    1. Yes, useful in showing off the differences. It’s often difficult to distinguish between these two species.

  2. If you like corvids, a trip to England will enable you to distinguish ravens from their crows and rooks and to tell the crows from the rooks. When I first went to England and learned how different their idea of the English language is from ours, I thought rook was just the British English word for crow. It isn’t. They have crows and rooks, and rooks live in very noisy rookeries. And besides the crows and rooks and ravens, they have jackdaws all over and choughs in some areas. And their crows have two forms. So it’s good for corvid-admirers. Lots to learn to see and hear.

  3. Ravens have a much wider vocal repertoire than crows. They quork a lot, but also make what are, to my ear, some quite un-corvid-like sounds.
    They’ve become urban birds where I live in the past few years. It’s nice to see them, but I wonder what effect they’re having on the breeding success of smaller birds. The crows and magpies were bad enough in the past, before the raven invasion.

  4. That’s interesting! Ravens have also recently shown up in and around heavily crow-populated Davis. I heard they are actually ‘reinvading’ because farmers don’t persecute them as much as they used to. Anyway – great corvid pics!

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