7 things you never knew about the raven

Discover fascinating facts about the raven. 

A
a
-
Raven
Illustration by Mike Langman

 

1 Forces of darkness

Ravens are the most widely distributed of all corvids, being found throughout the northern hemisphere. They are also amongst the heaviest and longest-lived (more than 20 years) of all passerine birds.

2 Black marks

Black plumage and a taste for carrion make ravens obvious symbols of ill-omen and death. But in Norse mythology, a pair of ravens named Huginn and Muninn travel the world to bring information to the god Odin.

3 Dark history

The legend that the Tower of London will fall should its famous resident ravens desert is probably a romantic Victorian invention. The first record of ravens at the Tower dates back to 1895.

4 Black magic

The sinister appearance of ravens is in stark contrast to their playful and acrobatic courtship flights, which even include spells spent flying upside-down.

5 Cliff Hangers

An old Scottish name for this cliff-nesting species – Corby – still echoes in the names of rocky outcrops in northern Britain, such as Corbie's Craig in Edinburgh and Corby's crag in Northumberland.

6 Black market

Non-breeding ravens assemble at communal roosts, where they share information about the whereabouts of food, with knowledgable birds leading the way to animal carcasses in the morning.

7 Jet propulsion

In the Old Testament Book of Genesis, a raven was the first animal to be released by Noah from the Ark. The dove was only the second.

 

We use cookies to improve your experience of our website. Cookies perform functions like recognising you each time you visit and delivering advertising messages that are relevant to you. Read more here