What’s the difference between a Crow and a Raven?

Welcome to Morrigan Thursday!

As I continue my journey to learn more about the Morrigan and her aspects, crows and ravens keep popping up all the time in my research.  The Morrigan is all about ravens, and Morgan le Fey is all about Crows.

But I keep thinking, what the hell difference is there between them ravens and crows?  I know that ravens are bigger, both are black, and they are both Corvids (crow family), then I get lost.  So if you are lost too, here is the difference between a Crow and a Raven.

Crows and ravens are from the same bird familyCorvids, which is also the family of jays, magpies, and nutcrackers – and both of them belong to the Crow branch of that family – Corvus. So ravens are a kind of crow really, just the hugest crow in the family.

Ravens are a hella lot bigger than crows – Ravens are the size of Hawks and crows the size of hefty Pigeons. Here’s a picture of a crow and a really creepy looking raven next to the same catfood mound.

Ravens live a lot longer too – a crow can live for up to 8 years, and a raven can live for a whopping 30 years – but they tend to be loners, living solitary lives. Crows are much more sociable and like to live in big flocks with their mates. They eat whatever they can find really – they sure aren’t picky – but although both birds like to eat carrion (which is why I’m always seeing crows trying to get at the roadkill on the dual carriageways) ravens make it a bigger part of their diet than crows. (As they are carrion birds – the vultures of the Brittish isles – this is where their association with death gods come from in mythology.)

Both birds are black of course, but wheras crows are that glorious light-sucking pitch black, raven’s feathers are iridescent – they shimmer purple in the sunlight, which is why they often look a little greasy in photos. They are obviously cheesy vampire crows!

I always wondered why I’d never seen a Raven, and it’s because they only live in the west of the UK and throughout Ireland. Whereas crows are mega adaptable and will rock up pretty much anywhere, ravens prefer the wild places – which is why they shun the flatter, more arable lands of the east of England for the wilder, more hilly, wetter lands of the west. Can’t say I blame them. It’s rare to catch Ravens living in a city, but Crows really don’t give a crap – they’ll live anywhere.

You can hear what a raven sounds like Here, if you press play on the audio bit. They sound kinda choke-y, like a crow-duck. You can hear crows here – to me, they sound like magic and autumn and evenings and outdoors and crow calls are just the most magical sound.

Crows and ravens are both bloody smart – they are the smartest among all the birds. They use tools, create games and sports to play amongst themselves, and some experiments have shown that they can count , if they feel the need. Ravens have the biggest brain out of all birds everywhere, and use it to manipulate other animals into finding and breaking up carrion for them, solve problems, and collect shiny things when they are teenagers.

I am a crow-

I am a raven –

There we go. Now none of us will ever be foxed about the difference between a crow and a raven again.

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