What’s the Difference Between Crow and Raven?

Difference Between Crow and Raven
Photo by connie_sf

The difference between crow and raven may be challenging to spot at first because they both belong to the Corvidae family.

These birds are black, making it even harder to distinguish between them. Nevertheless, if you look hard enough and listen well, you will be able to differentiate between them. 

These birds have been around for years. They are considered sacred and a symbol in some cultures. Symbolically, crows are believed to represent change and transformation emotionally or spiritually.

At the same time, ravens, on the other hand, are perceived as an all-knowing and sometimes as a bad omen, but they are also associated with healing and long life.

Crows and ravens are considered intelligent animals in the animal kingdom. They are also seen as opportunistic omnivores because they eat everything from insects to carrion to scavenged human food and garbage.

Let’s journey to the Avarian world as we examine the difference between crow and raven.

Body Size

One key difference between crow and raven is in their body size. A Raven is usually twice the size of a crow in length and weight. 

The size of a crow is likened to a pigeon; it is usually 10-20 inches in length and weighs 10-20 oz, whereas ravens, which are likened to red-tailed hawks, can be from 30-40 inches in length and weighs 40 oz.

Wing size/ how they fly

Another difference between crow and raven is in their wing span. A raven has an enormous wingspan in contrast to a crow.

The wings of a crow are blunt and splayed, spanning about 32-40 inches, i.e., 1-2 feet long, while a raven’s wings are pointed and span about 46-54 inches. I.e., 3-4 feet long. 

When in mid-flight, one can also tell them apart. Here, the neck of a raven looks longer than a crow. Also, ravens soar when they fly. The wings of a raven make a unique swishing sound.

They allow the air to propel them to save energy since they are larger. The raven, on windy days, display fancy acrobatics like flying upside down and somersaulting in mid-flight. 

They can also glide along with an outstretched wing for more than a few seconds for fun. The crow, on the other hand, flaps. When in flight, it actively flutters its wings more than the raven, and the wings are silent, unlike the raven that makes a swishing sound.

When they are on land, crows usually walk while ravens walk and hop in their gait when moving fast.

Vocalization 

Although these birds are both vocal, there is a difference in the sound they produce. 

The sound produced by the raven is a deep, throaty, croaky sound like reverberating “gronk-gronk,” while the call of a crow is an even “caw caw” sound. The crow also makes sounds likened to clicking and bell-like notes.

Shape of tail

A distinctive difference between crow and raven is the shape of their tail. This can clearly be seen, especially when they are flying.

A raven’s middle tail is made of much longer feathers which gives them a wedge-like shape and looks unique when in flight, like a triangle. In contrast, a crow is short, even in length, and forms a rounded outline shaped like a fan when in flight.

The size of the beak

The beak of a raven is enormous and hooked. It is curvier than that of a crow. A crow’s beak is slimmer, shorter, and less curved. The size of the beak there is a notable difference between crow and raven.

Although both have brittle at the base of their neck, that of a raven is more pronounced. A raven’s feather at the bottom of its beak is ruffled, while that of a crow is neat.

Feather

One reason people find it difficult to tell these birds apart is that they look so much alike from the appearance of their feathers.

Their feathers are both jet black. Nevertheless, there is also a difference in how their plumage appears. A raven’s feathers are glossy with green, blue, and purple iridescence and an oily sheen.

The crow’s feathers also appear iridescent blue and purple but are far less shiny than the raven’s. The crow’s feather also appears shorter and neater than a raven’s.

Habitat

The natural dwelling place where you can mostly find these birds is also a difference between them. A raven prefers the countryside and wilder areas; they are not common in populated urban areas.

Conversely, crows are more social and can be found in human-populated regions such as cities. Crows can travel in large groups, whereas ravens prefer to be solitary or travel in pairs.

When it comes to raising their young ones, crows, because of their social nature, help each other raise their young ones, whereas ravens do not. This is also a difference between crow and raven.

Conclusion

The difference between crow and raven is subtle. This doesn’t come as a surprise since they are closely related.

Notwithstanding, we have been able to examine some differences between these species ranging from the size difference in body, beak, wing, the sound they produce, and the shape of their tails, amongst others.

With some of the tips we’ve seen so far, you should be able to tell these birds apart the next time you see them. 

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