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Forest and Rangeland Birds of the United States

Natural History and Habitat Use

Common Raven -- Corvus corax


RANGE: Resident from Alaska and northern Canada south through the western United States to Baja California and Mexico, and east to the eastern edge of the Rockies, western Oklahoma, and central Texas; east of the Rockies, south to central Saskatchewan, northern Wisconsin, southern Ontario, Vermont, and southeastern Maine; also locally in the Appalachians to northwestern Georgia.

STATUS: Common to locally common; reinvading its historic range and colonizing new areas.

HABITAT: Occurs in a wide variety of habitats but is most often found in open woodlands and mountainous and coastal regions. Inhabits rocky seacoasts, steep canyons, boreal forests, deserts, foothills, mountains, arctic tundra, and wooded marine islands. Tends to avoid extensive, dense forests.

SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Cliff ledges or tall trees for nesting.

NEST: Usually builds nest high up in a tall coniferous tree or on a cliff ledge that is sheltered overhead and undercut or nearly vertical below. Generally selects locations inaccessible to humans and will sometimes use the same site in successive years.

FOOD: Scavenge for road kills along highways, and eats small mammals, reptiles, frogs, eggs, young and wounded birds, insects, mollusks, cultivated grains, mast, fruits, and other plant material. Eats all types of carrion, from small to large mammals to fishes.

REFERENCES: DeGraff et al. 1980, Goodwin 1976, Harlow et al. 1975, Hooper 1977, Johnsgard 1979, Knight and Call 1980, Terrill in Farrand 1983b, White and Cade 1971, Wilmore 1977.


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