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Australian raven

Australian ravens - Wugan

What are Australian ravens?

Australian ravens are a medium sized bird that have all black feathers and a black beak. Adult birds have white eyes.

It is easy to mistake ravens for crows. There are three types of ravens and three types of crows in Australia and they are all very similar. However, ravens have long throat feathers called hackles that look a bit like a beard. Crows do not have hackles.

Ravens are found all across Australia except desert ecosystems and the very far north.

The scientific name for the Australian raven is Corvus coronoides. The Australian raven is called wugan by the local Darug inhabitants of the Sydney Basin.

What do ravens sound like?

Ravens make a very distinctive sound, almost like a human saying ah, ah, ahhhhhhhhh.

What do ravens eat?

There is not much that ravens will not eat!  Their diet includes plants such as grains or fruits, and insects, small animals, yabbies, eggs, rubbish out of bins and carrion - which is dead animals.

They will also scavenge for food that humans leave behind.  They love rubbish tips, and you might have even seen ravens going through bins and bags in your school playground.

How are ravens adapted to their environment?

Ravens have a strong, sharp beak with a small hook on the end so they can rip apart flesh as well as pick up small insects and plants.

Their legs are adapted for walking on the ground and they can also fly very well.

These adaptations help them live in a range of habitats and eat a wide variety of foods.

Reproduction and life cycle

Ravens usually mate for life and lay their eggs in spring. 

They lay their eggs in large, messy nests which they make high up in trees. Their nests are often in the shape of a bowl or platform, and made of grasses, bark and feathers. Only the female incubates the eggs.

The eggs hatch after about 20 days. The chicks do not grow all their feathers for over a month, and they don’t leave the nest for about the first six weeks. They stay with their parents for 3-4 months until they are independent enough to live by themselves. Both parents feed and look after their young.

Ravens only raise one brood of young a year.

What threats do ravens face?

Australian ravens are not a threatened species. They can be eaten by birds of prey such as powerful owls or wedge tailed eagles.

Farmers sometimes shoot them when they become a problem by eating their crops or animals.

Should you feed ravens?

Humans should not feed ravens. Human food is bad for them and can make them sick. Ravens also start to expect that humans will feed them and can be very persistent following people around for food. They will try to get into bags and lunch boxes so keep your food close when there are ravens around!

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