Raven Corvus corax
Raven, Kato Zacro, Crete, October 2002 - click for larger image The Raven is found throughout much of Europe, northern and central Asia and the north of North America. It is tolerant of a wide variety of habitats but avoids wetlands, dense forest and intensively farmed or grazed land. Consequently it is not normally found in the lowlands of Europe such as eastern England and much of France, the Low Countries and Germany.
Raven, Kato Zacros, Crete, October 2002 - click for larger image It is an opportunistic feeder and, while maybe best known as a scavenger, it will also attack weak or injured animals, lunging with its strong bill and often aiming at the eyes. Other food sources are nestlings robbed from the nest and shellfish picked up on the shore. Cereals and fruit are also included in its wide diet.
Raven, Mount Youchtas, Crete, November 2002 - click for larger image It is the largest passerine (perching bird) and is the size of a Common Buzzard Buteo buteo.

It is all black and its plumage has a metallic sheen. The bill is very thick and powerful and the feathering on the throat is shaggy. In flight it shows long, narrow-looking wings with obvious "fingers", a projecting neck and a wedge-shaped tail.

Raven, Westray, Orkney, Scotland, May 2003 - click for larger image

It has an unmistakable low-pitched croaking call and, within the confines of the Kato Zacro Gorge in Crete where the first two photos were taken, the slow beating of the wings was amplified to an almost mystical extent.

At this site there was a small flock of 5 birds and they exhibited a high degree of "playfulness" chasing each other and tumbling in the sky for no apparent reason other than enjoyment. They were certainly a joy to watch.

Raven, Westray, Orkney, Scotland, May 2003 - click for larger image Photo 7 was taken in the Yukon, Canada and is the subspecies C. c. principalis.

There is an excellent page on Wikipedia.

Raven, Westray, Orkney, Scotland, May 2003 - click for larger image
Raven, Dezadeash Lake, Yukon, Canada, May 2009 - click for larger image
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