Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Ravens In Manhattan?

Today there were these photographs of two birds published on    They appear to be Corvids but which species?  Discussion then ensued as to exactly  which species these birds are.  

Are they Crows or Ravens?

 No size comparison is possible from a photograph with nothing in it but the birds themselves.  Nor are we privy to their voices or possible ruffed feathers at the neck.

The beaks look a bit thick, but not definitive enough for me to be positive.

Supposedly Crows have fan shaped tails and Ravens have a wedge shaped tail.  Here without anything to compare the tails  of actual Crows vs Raven tails to these, it appears that the bird on the left may have a wedge shape and the bird on the right has a possible fan shape....but maybe it's a bit wedgie as it is slightly curved?

No clincher so far.  

In my opinion when in doubt about identification based on physical attributes, it is time to look into the differences in behavior.  

And it appears to me that these two birds are participating in some sort of courtship display.

The question:  What does courtship behavior consist of in Crows and what in Ravens? 

As it turns out, courtship in Crows involves the male doing a good bit of strutting. 

But Ravens do a courtship flight which includes flying with wingtips touching.


Donegal Browne

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