Even with constant correlation to dark omens and death, ravens take a leading position among the most fascinating and intelligent bird species. There are about nine diverse raven species under the crow or Corvus family.
Amazingly, ravens stand out as some of the larger birds in the genus. It is almost impossible to keep ravens in captivity without a legal permit.
Given that these birds are migratory creatures, taking care of them also can be a daunting process to the inexperienced. In addition, there is the noise factor where ravens are well known for their irritating gurgling croak produced in rising pitches.
In this article, we will focus on exciting facts and basic requirements for a healthy raven pet.
Where do ravens live in the wild, what are their preferred habitat?
Raven’s shy nature often pushes away from urbanized areas to the wild. It is common to find your black friends around open spaces, wooded areas, coastlines, and forests. Often, ravens criss-cross several regions in the Northern hemisphere from Asia, Northern Africa, to Central America.
Most impressive is that you can also find them in high altitudes of up to 20,000ft. Mainly, ravens prefer staying away from human establishments. However, the constant supply of food and other resources in the city is an instant magnet.
How do you recognize a raven? What are the main characteristics of raven birds?
Ravens are not only massive in size, but they also have disheveled throat feathers, curved solid beaks, and wide necks. Most striking is their entire black appeal from the beak, eyes, and legs. When flying, ravens display lengthy wedge or diamond-shaped tails, which look like a flapping fan in the sky.
One impressive display is their ability to expand their tails and head in flight, similar to airplanes. Compared to other birds in the Corvus family, they have disheveled throat feathers referred to as hackles. On average, ravens weigh about 0.6 to 2 kg. What’s more, they measure 57 to 70 cm from beak to tail with a wingspan of 117 to 118cm.
Are ravens aggressive towards humans or other birds? Do ravens fight each other?
Compared to the relatively social crows, ravens are a bit laid down and prefer spending more time in pairs or alone. Still, they are pretty curious and confident birds that occasionally strut forward in calculated hops. This boils down to their clever and intelligent nature, which catches most people off guard.
As a matter of fact, this behavior has motivated several researchers to analyze the reasons behind high-level brainpower in ravens and other similar species like crows and magpies. Impressively, several results indicate that the bird’s intelligence range is equivalent to clever animals like dogs and coyotes.
It should not come as a surprise that ravens can perform brilliant struts, identify human faces, and imitate sounds. For instance, when impressing mates, they may gracefully soar around making slow and gliding flaps.
Although they are not aggressive like their cousins, the crows, keep in mind that they can also bite when threatened. Experts advocate that individuals should restrain from moving too close to a raven’s enclosure in the long line. Instead, take time to familiarize yourself and build trust with them.
Diet & Nutrition
What do raven birds usually eat and how do they gather food?
With slightly rounded, strong beaks that easily crush hard objects, ravens enjoy a diverse omnivore diet. Mostly, they prefer small invertebrates, reptiles, amphibians, and smaller bird species. Thanks to their scavenging nature, they also benefit from human garbage and undigested bits of animal droppings. When keeping ravens as pets, you should consider adding grains, unsalted nuts, fruits, pet food, vegetables, and plenty of drinking water. Even if ravens love junk, stick on a healthy diet for enhanced immunity and a longer lifespan.
Nesting and Breeding
When do ravens breed and where do they make their nests?
Most raven species build nests in trees, cliffs, billboards, bridges, power lines, or any safe overhang. Since they are communal creatures, nest building is a joint effort between the breeding partners. The entire process can sometimes take up to 10 days, depending on the size and complexity.
A typical nest usually stands two feet above the ground. Also, it has an inner cup of about 9 to 12 inches wide and 5 to 6 inches deep. If in good condition, nests are sometimes reused for several years. During an incubation period that lasts 18 to 21 days, the males usually feed the nesting mothers. However, after hatching, both parents provide nutrients to their young ones for approximately five to six weeks.
How long do ravens live for? What is the average lifespan of ravens in the wild?
Measuring raven’s longevity in their natural habitat is quite intricate because several threats cut their lives short. Unfortunately, only a small percentage of baby ravens celebrate their first birthday in the wild. Averagely, most wild ravens enjoy a modest lifespan of about ten years.
In captivity, a better quality of life increases the life considerably to about 30 years. A report from Animal Ageing and Longevity Database indicates that ravens can survive for nearly 70 years when kept in captivity.
Do Ravens Migrate?
In contrast to crows that fly away in summer and during nesting, ravens gather in flocks to roost on cold nights. Soon after the climate improves, they retreat to smaller groups. In other words, ravens are exemplary winter birds that thrive in cold seasons.
Besides, they have unique scales around their legs and feet, which keep them warm in winter. Moreover, ravens grow extra feathers in the cold season for enhanced protection. During winter, you can coat your pet birds with oil to snow proof and waterproof them.
Can You Keep This Bird as Pet?
It is against the law to keep ravens in captivity without a legal permit. Depending on your area of residence, the act can be charged or penalized. Obtaining a valid license does not indicate that you should put your birds in tiny indoor cages. Instead, place them in a wide enclosure that allows them to fly in and out at ease.
Despite their off-putting reputation as plant destroyers and agents of misery, ravens contribute positively to the ecosystem in controlling garden pests. Furthermore, they aid in nutrient cycling by feeding on carrions.
That said, getting to understand the importance of ravens in ecology is an eye-opener and the beginning of a gratifying experience with this black beauty.