Common Raven

Scientific Name: Corvus corax

Pictures: (click for larger images)

Common Raven strutting around a planter near Sproul Hall in the dorms.  This is Fawkes, the male.  Photo by UCLA Student & Environmental Bruin Joy Sun. 
Three juvenile ravens looking like they're ready to leave the nest.  One of their parents is there too.  This nest was at Covel Commons in the dorms.  Joy did some totally cool resaerch on them.  Photo by Joy Sun. 2004.
Fawkes in a tree with his mouth open on a very hot day. Photo by Joy Sun.


Fawkes, the father, flies in and feeds the three babies, 5/9/04: 5-9-04_Ravens.MOV

Fawkes flies in to feed again.  This time the mother, Esperanza, is there too, 5/16/05: 5-16-04_Ravens.MOV

-Photos & videos by Joy Sun

Description: Very large. 2' in length (beak to tail), about on par with the Red-Tailed Hawk  Completely black.  How can you tell the difference between a raven and a crow?  A raven is bigger, has a bigger and thicker beak, it's tail is wedge-shaped, and it ften soars high above, like a hawk. 

Sound: "A low, drawn-out 'croak.'" (National Geographic Field Guide)  Listen to a Common Raven calling!  Link is to the sound page for this bird from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's All About Birds.

Commonality/Seasonality: Present reliably year-round, but in small numbers.

Location: Ravens nest on campus!  Pairs of ravens can be seen near nest areas, but they can also be seen all over campus.  They are typically seen solo or in a pair, unlike crows which may be seen in larger groups.  There has been a raven nest in the dorms for the past two years, and there are two nests high up on the Factor building (far south campus), at least one of which has been there for several years, according to notes from Dr. Gregory Schrott in 2001.  They can also be seen fairly often around the Native Fragment.

Notes: According to Professor Hartmut Walter, urban ravens are pretty rare and not much research has been done on them.  For instance, it's not clear what their food source is here.  In wilder places, they typically eat carrion.


Historical Dr. Loye Miller wrote about the "American Raven" as it was known back then:

The Raven is more at home in wilder areas of hills and desert, but it occasioannly visits us.  In September, 1933, a single bird (probably a youngster) spent ten days with us, calling occasionally from perches on the Library or the Education Building.  [I wonder if the ravens who reside with us today may be decendants of that bird? ~jf]

-Miller, Loye.  "Birds of the Campus, University of California, Los Angeles," from University of California Syllabus Series, No. 300.  Text by Loye Miller, illustrations by Robert C. Stebbins.  Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1947.



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