are ravens birds of prey

A Definition of Raptors and Birds of Prey

Thus, we suggest that all species within orders that diverged from a raptorial landbird lineage and in which the majority of species retained their raptorial lifestyle as derived from their common ancestor be classified as raptors, or birds of prey. Based on current taxonomy (Fig. 1; Hackett et al. 2008, Jarvis et al. 2014, Prum et al. 2015), species belonging to the orders Accipitriformes, Cathartiformes, Strigiformes, Cariamiformes, and Falconiformes are included in this definition. Although these orders are similar to each other in many ecological and morphological aspects, this does not mean that they are raptors. Therefore, our definition is predicated not on the morphology of individual species, but rather on the evidence that all extant lineages that we designate as raptorial have generally maintained the ancestral raptorial condition of each order. Therefore, our definition integrates morphology, ecology, and phylogeny, but it emphasizes the significance of using evolutionary history to characterize shared common ancestry patterns more than anything else. With this method, we can classify species as raptors on a more scientific basis and avoid the ambiguity that frequently arises when raptors are identified by their morphology or raptorial behavior, as is the case with the often contested groups of vultures and owls.

The acceptance of the currently accepted theory that core landbirds descended from a raptorial common ancestor is necessary for the interpretation of our definition (Fig. 1; Hackett et al. 2008, Jarvis et al. 2014, Prum et al. 2015). Our definition of raptors should be interpreted as all species belonging to the ancestral raptorial core landbird grade if further research validates this theory (Fig. 1). Therefore, the preservation of the ancestral condition rather than the outcome of convergence would be the most economical explanation for morphological similarities among raptor groups (Bright et al. 2016). In case subsequent research indicates that the raptorial way of life is not inherited, then raptors collectively are indeed the result of convergence. However, because these are landbird orders where the majority of species have maintained an ancestral raptorial condition, our definition would still classify these groups as “raptors.”

Shrikes are not considered birds of prey under our definition because most species in their order (Passeriformes) are not raptorial, and their raptorial traits are likely homoplasy rather than ancestral (Cade 1967, Panov 2011). We do admit that, given their simplicity, convenience, or study-specific objectives, shrikes, ravens, or other related species that might have “raptor-like lifestyles” might make sense to include them in raptor studies or monitoring programs. However, in these situations, we advise authors to clearly indicate the rationale behind the inclusion of non-raptor taxa alongside other raptors as described here (see Bednarz et al. 1990, Booms et al. 2010, Duerr et al. 2015, Jankowiak et al. 2015a, 2015b for examples). It is generally accepted that the Old and New World vultures belong to the same family, Accipitriformes, and that they are sisters. For this reason, they are classified as prey birds. Thus, the definition proposed here resolves the status of frequently contested groups while also embracing all groups customarily classified as raptors. Although seriemas have not traditionally been regarded as raptors, their raptorial lifestyle and new research indicating a close kinship with falcons argues otherwise. Put another way, there isn’t currently a reason to separate seriemas from raptors based on morphology, ecology, or evolution.

We thank the M. J. Grainger Hunt, Jim Bednarz, Ian Newton, Todd Katzner, Travis Booms, Rick Watson, Murdock Charitable Trust, Cheryl Dykstra, and an unidentified reviewer for valuable feedback on earlier drafts of this work We also acknowledge Graham Martin for his suggestions, corrections, and guidance on the topic of raptor vision. We owe a great deal to the numerous other researchers who have grappled with the definition of a “raptor,” particularly those referenced here. ”.

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Taxonomy edit

The brown-necked raven (C) is the closest relative of the common raven. ruficollis), the pied crow (C. albus) of Africa, and the Chihuahuan raven (C. cryptoleucus) of the North American Southwest. [10] Although up to eleven subspecies have been recognized by some authorities,[11] only eight have been recognized by others:[12].

Common name Scientific name Distribution Notes
northern raven C. c. principalis Northern North America and Greenland It has a large body and the largest bill, its plumage is strongly glossy, and its throat hackles are well-developed.[13]
western raven C. c. sinuatus South-central North America and Central America It is smaller, with a smaller and narrower bill than C. c. principalis. Populations in the far southwestern U.S. and northwestern Mexico (including the Revillagigedo Islands) are the smallest ravens in North America. They are sometimes included in C. c. sinuatus, while other authorities recognize them as a separate subspecies, the southwestern raven (C. c. clarionensis).[11]
North Atlantic raven C. c. varius Iceland and the Faroe Islands It is less glossy than C. c. principalis or the nominate subspecies C. c. corax, is intermediate in size, and the bases of its neck feathers are whitish (not visible at a distance). An extinct white-and-black colour morph found only on the Faroe Islands was known as the pied raven (C. c. varius morpha leucophaeus; the black colour morphs scientific name is C. c. varius morpha typicus).[13]
North African raven C. c. tingitanus North Africa and the Canary Islands It is the smallest subspecies, with the shortest throat hackles and a distinctly oily plumage gloss. Its bill is short but markedly stout, and the culmen is strongly arched. The Canary Islands raven is browner than the North African raven, leading some authorities to recognize them as separate subspecies, with the North African raven maintaining the name C. c. tingitanus and the Canary Islands raven known as C. c. canariensis.[11]
North Eurasian raven C. c. corax From Europe eastwards to Lake Baikal, south to the Caucasus region and northern Iran It has a relatively short, arched bill. The population in southwestern Europe (including the Balearic Islands, Corsica and Sardinia) has an even more arched bill and shorter wings than the “typical” nominate, leading some authorities to recognize it as a separate subspecies, the Hispanic raven (C. c. hispanus).[11]
South Eurasian raven C. c. subcorax From Greece eastwards to northwestern India, Central Asia and western China, though not in the Himalayan region It is larger than the nominate subspecies, but has relatively short throat hackles. Its plumage is generally all black, though its neck and breast have a brownish tone similar to that of the brown-necked raven; this is more evident when the plumage is worn. The bases of its neck feathers, although somewhat variable in colour, are often almost whitish.

The name C. c. laurencei (also spelt lawrencii or laurencii) is sometimes used instead of C. c. subcorax.[11] It is based on the population from Sindh described by Hume in 1873[14] and is sometimes preferred, since the type specimen of subcorax collected by Nikolai Severtzov is possibly a brown-necked raven.[15]

The population of this subspecies restricted to the Sindh district of Pakistan and the adjoining regions of northwestern India is sometimes known as the Punjab raven.[16][17]

Tibetan raven C. c. tibetanus The Himalayas It is the largest and glossiest subspecies, with the longest throat hackles. Its bill is large, but less imposing than that of C. c. principalis and the bases of its neck feathers are grey.[13]
Kamchatkan raven C. c. kamtschaticus Northeastern Asia Intergrades into the nominate subspecies in the Lake Baikal region. It is intermediate in size between C. c. principalis and C. c. corax and has a distinctly larger and thicker bill than the nominate subspecies does.[13]

Predation edit

Few natural predators can match the size, gregariousness, and defensive skills of the common raven. Predators of its eggs include owls, martens, and sometimes eagles. Ravens are known for their fierce defense of their young and their ability to fend off perceived threats. They fly at potential predators and make a lunge with their massive bills. If humans approach a raven nest, they may occasionally be attacked, though serious injuries are unlikely. A few instances of large birds of prey predating have been documented. According to reports, great horned owls, northern goshawks, bald eagles, golden eagles, and red-tailed hawks have all attacked them in America. The possibility exists that the two hawk species only target young ravens; in one case, a parent raven chased a peregrine falcon away when it swooped down on a newly fledged raven. [58][59][60][61].


Is a raven considered a bird of prey?

Not really. Even though they do prey on small animals and nestlings, they are omnivores and will eat just about anything. True “birds of prey” on the other hand, pretty much eat only other animals that they catch and kill. (A few species that are considered birds of prey also eat carrion and/or garbage.)

Do ravens hunt other birds?

Known as scavengers, ravens are also effective hunters that sometimes use cooperative techniques. Teams of ravens have been known to hunt down game too large for a single bird. They also prey on eggs and nestlings of other birds, such as coastal seabirds, as well as rodents, grains, worms, and insects.

What kind of bird is a raven?

Ravens are massive birds with a thick neck and distinctive shaggy throat feathers. Like other corvids, ravens have strong, large feet and long bills. Most ravens are a solid black. Ravens most closely resemble the common crow, but they soar in flight, more like a hawk.

Do ravens hunt prey?

Ravens are omnivorous, consuming a wide variety of both plant and animal matter. They are notorious scavengers and are common visitors to garbage dumps, although at times they are also predatory on small animals.