Difference Between Crow And Raven

Crows and ravens are similar in intelligence and adaptability, but differ in physical characteristics, vocalizations, behavior, diet, and cultural significance.

Difference Between Crow And Raven

As two black birds that are often confused with one another, the crow and raven have some similarities but also several distinct differences. These birds belong to the same family (Corvidae) and are known for their intelligence, adaptable behavior, and high level of problem-solving skills. However, there are several characteristics that set them apart. In this article, we will delve into the difference between crow and raven.

Physical Differences:

Crows and ravens have some physical differences. Crows are smaller than ravens, typically measuring about 17 inches in length and weighing around 450g. On the other hand, ravens are larger, often measuring over two feet in length and weighing about 1.4kg. The tail feathers of the crow are mostly square-shaped, and their wings appear short and blunt in flight. In contrast, the raven has a distinctive wedge-shaped tail and longer wings that appear pointed when in flight.

Their feathers also differ slightly. Crows have a smooth and soft texture to their feathers and have a slightly curved beak. In contrast, ravens are known for their shaggy and ruffled neck feathers and have a thicker and sturdier beak. The most notable physical difference between the two birds is their overall size- the raven is larger and considered one of the largest perching birds in the world.

Vocal Differences:

Another difference between crow and raven is their vocalization. While both birds have an extensive range of communication calls and a distinctive call, which can identify each bird, there is a significant difference in their vocal range.

Crows are known for their distinctive 'caw' calls, consisting of one or two staccato notes. They are also capable of various other calls such as clicks, rattles, and harsh sounds. However, crow's vocalizations tend to be less complex than those of ravens.

Ravens, on the other hand, have a wide range of more complex vocalizations that include deep croaks, rattles, and grunting noises. They are also capable of mimicking other bird songs and sounds they hear in their environment, including human speech patterns such as words or phrases. Furthermore, ravens are known for their unique ability to imitate sounds, including machinery, car engines, and alarms.

Behavioral Differences:

Crow and raven have several behavioral differences. For instance, crows tend to be social birds and are often seen traveling in flocks or family groups. They are highly intelligent birds that can navigate complex problems and often engage in group defensive behaviors to protect their territory.

Ravens, on the other hand, tend to be solitary birds and are less social than crows. They prefer to live alone or in pairs and are usually seen in the wild far from human settlements or busier locations. They are known for their ability to problem-solve and have been observed using tools to access food, such as using sticks to extract insects from trees or stealing food from other birds.

Dietary Differences:

There is also a difference in the diet of the crow and raven. Both birds are omnivorous and will eat insects, small animals, and plant material. However, their food preferences vary slightly. Crows tend to eat more insects, seeds, fruit, and grain, while ravens prefer meat, carrion, and larger prey. Ravens have even been observed hunting in packs and stealing food from other birds or animals.

Cultural Differences:

There are also many cultural differences between crows and ravens. Throughout history, these birds have appeared in many myths, legends, and stories across different cultures globally.

In many Indigenous cultures of North America, crows are considered sacred animals and symbolic of transformation, intelligence, and communication. Similarly, in the Celtic tradition, crows were often regarded as mystical and were associated with shamanism and divination.

Ravens have also played an important cultural role in many societies, including Norse mythology, where Odin, the god of war, is accompanied by two ravens named Huginn and Muninn, who symbolize thought and memory. Additionally, in many First Nations cultures, ravens are believed to be tricksters who embody the spirits of the dead, and their calls are seen as messages from the afterlife.


In conclusion, while both birds belong to the same family and share some similarities, such as their intelligence and adaptable behavior, there are several differences between crow and raven. These differences include their physical characteristics, vocalizations, behavior, diet, and cultural significance. Knowing how to differentiate between the two birds can help bird enthusiasts or anyone interested in nature to understand the fascinating world of these intelligent and mysterious birds.