NATURE TABLE: The Raven

Ravens are the largest members of the crow family. Adults have a body length around 65 centimetres (a rook is around 45cm) and a wingspan between a metre and a metre and a half.

They can be identified by a range of loud, very low-pitched calls and, in flight, by a distinctive wedge-shaped tail. At one time they were more or less confined to coastal cliffs and mountain precipices but in recent decades they have increased in numbers and their range has widened to include almost all habitat types, even urban ones.

In the absence of cliffs or disused quarries they will nest in tall trees. They mate for life but not until they are five or six years old and are one of the earliest Irish birds to start nesting in spring, often incubating eggs at the end of February. They are omnivorous feeders but carrion makes up a large proportion of the diet. They will also rob chicks and eggs from other birds.


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