British wildlife recordings
Corvus corax : Common Raven - Corvidae
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Torrington, Devon: OS Grid Reference(284500,90500)
Raven, Corvus corax
The call of the raven, recorded at Torrington, Devon. The raven is the largest of the crow family, dwarfing even the buzzard in size. It has a large heavy bill and thick neck with long throat feathers, which give it a shaggy mane-like appearance. It is commonly seen gliding and soaring over mountains, cliffs, or moorland landscapes, with a powerful flight and distinctive wedge-shaped tail. It will also perform impressive aerobatics, flipping onto its back and tumbling fast downwards while calling. The call is a much deeper and throatier 'croar-croar' than other members of the crow family. Pairs of ravens will defend territories throughout the year and will often reuse nest sites. Nesting begins very early in the year, with eggs being laid in February usually on a cliff ledge. Many myths and legends surround the raven and it is often associated with death. Since it readily feeds on carrion, this is perhaps hardly surprising. However, it will also feed on mammals, birds, and eggs, and as a result has been persecuted by gamekeepers and farmers. Once widespread across Britain, it is now restricted to the west of the country, although it is making a good recovery in Wales. Currently there are around 7,000 pairs breeding in Britain.