Learn 100 Common Valley Birds: Species #69/100

Few things on earth fill us with as much delight as birds, and knowing them by name only adds to our pleasure. In California’s Central Valley, with only a little bit of effort, anyone can learn 100 local bird species. Valley residents almost daily come in contact with at least a dozen species that most recognize, but may not know the name of. Learning local birds is one of the most gratifying ways to connect with nature. See more of Jim Gain’s excursions into nature at Reflections of the Natural World.

What’s in a Name

Common Raven – Corvus corax
Name Roots: (Latin. corvus, “a crow” – Greek. korax, “raven”; krazo, “to croak”)


Physical Characteristics

The Common Raven is a large, glossy-black bird with a wedge-shaped tail. It is larger than a crow with a longer and thicker bill. It is distinctive in flight with rather long, swept-back wings and a long tail. Note its smoother, steadier wingbeats compared with the faster, choppier wingbeats of crows.

Common Raven by Jim Gain
Raven by Jim Gain

An Interesting or Unusual Fact

One fascinating fact about the Common Raven is that they are believed to mate for life. This means that once they find a partner, they stay together until one of them dies. They raise only one brood a year, which includes between three and seven young1. This monogamous behavior is quite unusual and interesting in the bird world.


Ravens by Jim Gain
Ravens by Jim Gain

Distribution Status in the San Joaquin Valley

This large, black, majestic bird is geographically and ecologically one of the most widespread naturally occurring birds in the world. It is distributed throughout major portions of North America, Europe, Asia, and North Africa, and in all terrestrial biomes except tropical rain forests. The Common Raven is a Common Yearround Resident in California’s Central Valley and can be seen flying over any habitat, but is more frequently encountered closer to the foothills on each side of the valley.

Learn 100 Birds logo Gain


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