Similar Species: Crows and Ravens
By Kevin McGowanPhoto by Daniel Plumer via Creative Commons. August 3, 2012
Crows and ravens are large black birds found throughout North America, and they can be hard to tell apart. The best clue for identification is usually the voice, but the species differ in some other subtle ways, too. This page will help you recognize the differences among these often confusing birds.
Crows and Ravens: By Sight
Click on each species name to go to its in-depth identification page in our All About Birds species guide.
Crows and Ravens: By Sound
One of the best ways to tell crows and ravens apart is by their calls. Here are some expert tips on the sounds they make, and what those sounds mean.
Practice by listening to the sounds of each species:
American Crows have a strong, harsh caw.
Fish Crows make a weaker, more nasal, and often 2-noted caw.
Common Ravens make a deep, throaty croak.
Chihuahuan Ravens make a deep kraaa sound.
Recordings © Macaulay Library/Cornell Lab. ML Catalog numbers: ML 135405, ML 105353, ML 50118; ML 135405, ML 105362, ML 26627; ML 57682, ML 57680, ML 57683; ML 132203, ML 120413. Recordists: Michael J. Andersen, William W.H. Gunn, Geoffery A. Keller.
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