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For other uses, see Raven (disambiguation).
Common Ravens
Chihuahuan raven
Fan-tailed raven
Australian raven

A raven is one of several larger-bodied members of the genus Corvus. These species do not form a single taxonomic group within the genus, but share similar behaviours, characteristics and appearances that generally separate them from crows,[citation needed] even though some species are clearly more closely related to crows then other ravens. The largest raven species are the common raven and the thick-billed raven.


The term "raven" originally referred to the common raven, as it is where the term came from, the type species of the genus Corvus and has a larger distribution and habitat then any other species of Corvus, ranging over much (if not all) of the Northern Hemisphere.

The modern English word raven has cognates in all other Germanic languages, including Old Norse (and subsequently modern Icelandic) hrafn[1] and Old High German (h)raban,[2] all which descend from Proto-Germanic *khrabanas.[3]

Obsolete collective nouns for a group of ravens (or at least the common raven) include "unkindness"[4] and "conspiracy".[5] In practice, most people use the more generic "flock".

Larger species[edit]

Larger than the smaller species, most of these species are closely related. The closest relatives of the common raven are the brown-necked, white-necked and chihuahuan raven and also the pied crow. The thick-billed and fan-tailed ravens are not closely related to the common raven. All species of African ravens are closely related.

Smaller species[edit]

These species are smaller and generally more crow-like. The 3 Australian species (Australian, forest and little raven) are very closely related to each other and, to a much lesser degree, the other Australian Corvus (Australian crow and little crow and also the Bismark crow, which is native to Papua New Guinea. The Chihuahuan raven is only closely related to the common raven, which is a much larger (if not the largest) species of raven.

Extinct species[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Oxford English Dictionary entry for "raven."
  2. ^ Simpson, J. and Weiner, E., ed. (1989). "Raven". Oxford English Dictionary (2nd ed.). Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 0-19-861186-2. 
  3. ^ "Raven". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 2007-05-14. 
  4. ^ "Baltimore Bird Club. Group Name for Birds: A Partial List". Retrieved 2007-06-03. 
  5. ^ "University of California Golf Club. List of Collective Nouns". Retrieved 2008-07-16. 

External links[edit]