Common Raven, Zie-Zoo, Netherlands
Despite its giant range throughout the world, I don't recall having seen a Raven in the wild. In the Netherlands they had been near-extinct, yet made a tiny comeback with at most a few hundred breeding pairs. I was kind of shocked to see how enormous they are compared to the crow-like species attending our garden.
Despite size, this bird is notable for its intelligent behavior. A few examples, taken from the dutch Wikipedia page:
- They can form pact with wolves, notifying a wolf of injured animals, after which the raven feeds on the carcass after the kill by the wolf.
- They have the ability to use tools; using sticks to pull out food from holes, and using rocks to crack open nuts.
- It can mimic sounds of its surroundings, including human voice.
- It has a solid memory, as it stashes food supplies in dozens of different places
- It also remembers food stashes from other Ravens, to plunder them later
- It understands when another Raven's line of sight is blocked, so that even when the stash owner is nearby, it knows when it can plunder
- They know who their friends and enemies are, they know alliances of other Ravens, in other words: they know politics
- They comfort Ravens that were beaten in a dispute, expecting this service in return
And...they are useful like vultures in cleaning up carcasses. I'd summarize this as the Raven being a freaking awesome bird. Not at all the "biblical" devil like creature it is believed to be.
The Common Raven, also known as the Northern Raven, is a large, all-black passerine bird. Found across the northern hemisphere, it is the most widely distributed of all corvids. It is one of the two largest corvids, alongside the Thick-billed Raven, and is possibly the heaviest passerine bird; at maturity, the Common Raven averages 63 cm in length and 1.2 kg.