The Little Raven (Corvus mellori) is a species of the crow and raven family Corvidae, that is endemic to Australia. It has all-black plumage, beak and legs with a white iris, as do the other Corvus members in Australia and some species from the islands to the north.
Although the Little Raven was first named by Mathews in 1912, it was only in 1967 that there was consensus to separate it from the Australian Raven (C. coronoides) as a distinct species.
Some of the differences between the two species are as follows: the Little Raven is, at about 48–50 cm in length on average, somewhat smaller than the Australian Raven (though sizes do overlap between both species), the Little Raven's beak is slightly smaller and more curved, its calls are shorter, and its throat bulges out less while calling. The Little Raven is a somewhat more sociable species than the Australian Raven, often forming large flocks that roam freely over wide areas in search of food. The range of the Little Raven does overlap the range of the Australian Raven, but the latter's range extends further.
Distribution and habitat
The Little Raven ranges over southeastern Australia from southern South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales. Also in Kangaroo Island (S.A) and King Island (Bass Strait). Living within scrub, agricultural areas, grazing pasture, woodlands to treeless plains, coasts, and suburbs.
Little Ravens tend to eat rather more vegetable matter than C. coronoides and to feed mainly on the ground, but is probably omnivorous to a similar extent to other Corvus species when opportunity arises.
Little Ravens often nest in a loose colony of up to fifteen pairs, with nests few meters apart. They have often been recorded as having several nests within the nesting territory of a single Australian Raven which, presumably due to different food preferences, does not seem to consider them a threat to its own food resources.
The nest is a thin cup of sticks with a layer of bark, grass and wool to create a thick mat. Nests are commonly low to the ground (under 10 meters), often in a forked branch in the outer canopy of a tree. Juveniles have brown colored eyes until their 3rd year, their eye color changes to white.
Its call is a harsh, guttural "kar-kar-kar-kar" or "ark-ark-ark-ark". They also do a quick upward flick of both wings with each note.