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Chihuahuan Raven

Corvus cryptoleucus ORDER: PASSERIFORMES FAMILY: CORVIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A big black bird of the southwestern deserts, the Chihuahuan Raven is intermediate between crows and ravens in many ways. It has the shape of a raven but is the size of a crow.

Merlin Bird ID app
Birds of North America Online

At a GlanceHelp

Measurements
Both Sexes
Length
18.1–20.9 in
46–53 cm
Wingspan
40.9–43.3 in
104–110 cm
Weight
13.4–23.6 oz
380–670 g
Other Names
  • White-necked Raven
  • Corbeau à cou blanc (French)
  • Cuervo llanero (Spanish)

Cool Facts

  • The nest of the Chihuahuan Raven usually is made primarily of twigs. The thorny twigs of mesquite trees are frequently used. Occasionally the raven will make a nest mostly of wire strands, but it will still use soft materials to line the cup.
  • Unlike most crows, the Chihuahuan Raven frequently reuses its nest in subsequent years. Some pairs may maintain two nests and use them in alternate years.
  • The bases of neck and body feathers of a Chihuahuan Raven are white, not gray like those of other American crows and ravens. The white is difficult to see in the field, and is only revealed by wind blowing the feathers, or when a bird fluffs its feathers to display at another raven. Although this coloration is unique in North America, a number of other crows and ravens around the world have white bases to their feathers.

Habitat


Scrub

Dry, open grassland with scattered trees and shrubs, and unbroken desert scrub.

Food


Omnivore

Omnivorous. Large insects, cultivated grains, carrion, eggs, young birds, fruits, lizards, small mammals, garbage.

Nesting

Nesting Facts
Clutch Size
1–8 eggs
Egg Description
Green to blue with blotches and streaks of brown.
Condition at Hatching
Helpless with tufts of down.
Nest Description

Open cup of sticks with softer lining, such as wool, fur, cotton, paper, rope, tree bark, grass, or yucca fibers. Usually placed in low tree or on human-made structure, such as machinery, building, or utility pole.

Nest Placement

Tree

Behavior


Ground Forager

Scans for food while perched or soaring, catches food on the ground. Holds items under its feet to peck them apart.

Conservation

status via IUCN

Least Concern

Populations appear stable.

Credits

  • Bednarz, J. C., and R. J. Raitt. 2002. Chihuahuan Raven (Corvus cryptoleucus). In The Birds of North America, No. 606 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, PA.

Range Map Help

Chihuahuan Raven Range Map
View dynamic map of eBird sightings