Common Ravens are the largest of the songbirds
(perching birds). Ravens are considered among the most adaptable and
intelligent of birds, traits which allow them to live in environments ranging
from tundra to forest to desert. The resourceful Raven is often seen
cooperating with others of its kind to capture prey. Ravens were probably
historically found throughout South Dakota, but unfortunately are now only rare
visitors. The Common Raven is, however, expanding its range into other
formerly inhabited areas.
Habitat: Wide variety of habitats, but
most often found in forested country.
Diet: Omnivorous. An incredibly
wide array of items are eaten, including insects, worms, rodents, snakes,
lizards, frogs, tadpoles, salamanders, birds, eggs, small fish, carrion, and
Behavior: Extremely variable in behavior, with
individual birds or pairs of birds exhibiting behaviors suited to local
conditions. They have adapted extremely well to a human presence, and in
many locations can be seen foraging in around human dwellings and developments.
Nesting: Currently a non-breeder in South Dakota,
although they likely bred here historically. In breeding range, the nest
is a large basket built of sticks, lined with grasses, weed stems, bark fibers,
and mosses. The female lays between 3 and 7 eggs, and the female does most
of the incubation, with the male bringing food to the female during this time.
When the eggs hatch, both parents help to feed the young. The young leave
the nest after about 40 days.
Migration: Generally a
permanent resident throughout its range.
Conservation Status: Ravens were exterminated from much of
their former range in the Plains, Midwest, and Eastern United States.
They are now expanding in range and numbers, especially in the Northeastern
United States and in the Appalachians They remain a very rare visitor
to South Dakota, however. On a global basis,
the Common Raven is
considered a species of "Least Concern" by the IUCN.
Cornell University's "All About Birds - Common Raven"
Photo Information: May 2nd, 2008 - Bryce Canyon
National Park, Utah - Terry Sohl
Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or
text links below for additional, higher-resolution Common Raven photos.