The Australian raven (Corvus coronoides) is a passerine bird in the genus Corvus native to much of southern and northeastern Australia. Measuring 46–53 centimetres in length, it has all-black plumage, beak and mouth, as well as strong grey-black legs and feet. The upper parts are glossy, with a purple, blue, or green sheen, and its black feathers have grey bases. The Australian raven is distinguished from the Australian crow species by its throat hackles, which are prominent in adult birds. Older adult individuals have white irises, younger adults have white irises with an inner blue rim, while younger birds have dark brown irises until fifteen months of age, and hazel irises with an inner blue rim around each pupil until age two years and ten months.
Nicholas Aylward Vigors and Thomas Horsfield described the Australian raven in 1827, its species name (coronoides) highlighting its similarity with the carrion crow (C. corone). Two subspecies are recognised, which differ slightly in calls and are quite divergent genetically. The preferred habitat is open woodland and transitional zones. It has adapted well to urban environments and is a common city bird in Sydney, Canberra, Perth and Brisbane. An omnivorous and opportunistic feeder, it eats a wide variety of plant and animal material, as well as food waste from urban areas.
In eastern Australia, its range is strongly correlated with the presence of sheep, and it has been blamed for killing lambs. However, this is very rare, and the raven most often scavenges for afterbirth and stillborn animals as well as newborn lamb faeces. The Australian raven is territorial, with pairs generally bonding for life. Breeding takes place between July and September, with almost no variation across its range. The nest is a bowl-shaped structure of sticks sited high in a tree, or occasionally in a man-made structure such as a windmill or other building.
This post is part of the Saturday Critters meme