Common Raven

Common Raven (Corvus corax) as seen in our Estuary Trail exhibit.

This animal is not part of an Aquarium exhibit, but is rather a wild species that lives along the Estuary Trail at the edge of the Yaquina Bay.

This large omnivorous bird is commonplace all over North American and, like the coyote and rat, has lived close to human settlements throughout history. The raven’s affinity for humans is an opportunistic one. Intelligent, wily and capable of eating a wide variety of foods, the raven has been a scavenger, a pest and an inspiration for many people. Native American tribes in the Pacific Northwest saw the bird both as a force of creation and as a trickster obsessed with its next meal. Also like the coyote and rat, the raven’s success can be attributed to its role as a generalist – a species which uses various strategies to survive and prosper. This is no better reflected than in its diet which can consist of carrion, insects, small mammals, fruits, grains and food waste. 

The birds can often be spotted on Oregon beaches or at the edge of the road, sometimes in the company of other scavenger birds, feeding on dead animals. The Common Raven looks similar to the American Crow with an all-black body and black bill. However, the raven is larger with a thicker bill and shaggy-looking feathers around the neck. When in direct sunlight, the raven’s feathers take on a blue or purple iridescence. 

Range and Habitat

As with its diet, the Common Raven’s habitat can vary greatly. The are found on every continent in the Northern Hemisphere. They can easily adapt to environments as different as the arctic and the sand-blasted deserts of northern Africa. A typical raven habitat, however, consists of large wooded areas with plenty of understory for foraging. They are often found close to human habitations. 

Conservation Status