raven, common name for the largest member of the family Corvidae (crow family), ranging throughout the arctic and temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. The raven, Corvus corax, is a glossy black scavenging bird about 26 in. (66 cm) long, with a call resembling a guttural croak. Long the subject of superstition and legend, the raven can be tamed and taught to mimic human speech. Ravens are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Passeriformes, family Corvidae.

See studies by B. Heinrich (repr. 1991; 1999).

Any of several species (genus Corvus, crow family Corvidae) of heavy-billed, usually solitary, songbirds, once abundant throughout the Northern Hemisphere but now restricted to undisturbed areas. The common raven (C. corax), the biggest passerine, grows to 26 in. (66 cm) long and has a wingspan of more than 4 ft (1.3 m). The dark, iridescent plumage is shaggy, especially around the throat. Ravens eat rodents, insects, grain, birds' eggs, and, in winter, carrion and refuse. Captive nestlings may learn to mimic a few words. The large nest, a crude structure of sticks, is built high on a cliff or treetop.

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Raven is the common name given to the largest species of passerine birds in the genus Corvus. Corvids are also commonly referred to as crows and other species in the same genus include jackdaws and rooks.

In most of Europe and North America, raven is used as a synonym for the widespread Common Raven, and much of the literature and culture surrounding ravens refers to that species.

An obsolete collective noun for a group of ravens (or at least the Common Raven) is an "unkindness or a "conspiracy


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