What is the Difference Between Crow and Raven

The main difference between crow and raven is that the crow is comparatively small whereas raven is noticeably bigger. Furthermore, crows live in groups while ravens often travel in pairs. Moreover, the tail of the crow is shaped like a fan while the tail of the raven is wedge-shaped.

Crow and raven are two well-known, black color birds found worldwide. Both of them belong to the genus Corvus and bear a passing resemblance to each other, making them difficult to identify from each other.

Key Areas Covered

1. Crow
     – Definition, Characteristics, Behavior
2. Raven
     – Definition, Characteristics, Behavior
3. What are the Similarities Between Crow and Raven
     – Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Crow and Raven
     – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms

Beak, Black Brides, Corvus, Crow, Feathers, Mobbing, Murder, Raven, Sociability, Tail

Difference Between Crow and Raven- Comparison Summary

Crow – Definition, Characteristics, Behavior

Crow is a black color bird that belongs to the genus Corvus. Also, this genus comprises raven and rooks. These birds are well-known for their intelligence, adaptability, and the loud, harsh “caw” sound. Furthermore, they belong to the Corvidae family along with magpies, jays, and nutcrackers. Generally, around 40 species of crows are found worldwide. However, American crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) is the most common species of crow throughout North America. It grows up to 17.5 inches in average to the size of a pigeon.

What is the Difference Between Crow and Raven

Figure 1: American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)

Usually, crows live in large groups and they prefer to live in open areas including grasslands and agricultural lands. Also, a group of crows is called a murder. When one crow has died, other crows gather together surrounding the deceased to find out the reason for the death and band together to chase the predator. Hence, this behavior of crows is known as mobbing.

Raven – Definition, Characteristics, Behavior

Raven is a type of crow and belongs to the genus Corvus. However, it grows more than 25 inches long. Therefore, the main characteristic feature of a raven is their heavier build. That means; a raven is similar in size to a red-tailed hawk. Also, ravens have a large beak surrounded by hair. Their beak is curved as a Bowie knife. In addition, they have a thick neck and shaggy throat feathers. They have longer and narrower wings when compared to crows. Significantly, the common raven (Corvus corax) is the most widespread species of the raven in the world.

Difference Between Crow and Raven

Figure 2: Common Raven (Corvus corax)

Generally, ravens are not social animals and they mostly live as pairs or alone. They prefer both open areas and forests to live. When compared to crows, ravens have a less gregarious behavior.

Similarities Between Crow and Raven

  • Crow and raven are two species of the genus Corvus.
  • They are black color birds.
  • Furthermore, both their members evolved in Central Asia and radiated out into Europe, North America, Africa, and Australia. The most common species, American crow and common raven, mainly live in North America.
  • They are one of the world’s most intelligent animals. They have encephalization quotient equal to many of the non-human primates. Also, they are capable of using tools and constructing tools.
  • Moreover, both can make a wide variety of vocalizations.
  • Also, both have bristles or hair-like feathers around the base of their mouth.
  • Besides, they are omnivores and eat almost anything including carrion, mice, frogs, mollusks, earthworms, nuts, seeds, and fruits.
  • It takes three years for the sexual maturation of females and five years for males. They lay 3-9 eggs.

Difference Between Crow and Raven


Crow refers to a large perching bird with mostly glossy black plumage, a heavy bill, and a raucous voice while raven refers to a large heavily built crow with mainly black plumage, feeding chiefly on carrion. This is the basic difference between crow and raven.


The size is the main difference between crow and raven. The wingspan of a crow is around 36 inches while the wingspan of a raven is around 42 inches. Further, the total length of a crow is around 20 inches while the total length of a raven is 27 inches.

Primary Feathers

Moreover, the primary feathers of a crow are comparatively small while the primary feathers of a raven are longer. Thus, it is one visible difference between crow and raven.


The tail of a crow is gently-curved like a handheld fan while the tail of a raven ends at a point, giving it a diamond shape. Hence, this is another difference between crow and raven that helps in differentiating both birds.

Feathers under Throat

Another difference between crow and raven is that crows lack feathers under their throat while raven has shaggy feathers under its throat.

The shape of the Beak

Beak also makes a difference between crow and raven. Crow has a straight beak while the raven has a curved beak with hair on it.

Bristles around the Mouth

Bristles around the mouth is another difference between crow and raven. The bristles around the crow’s mouth are shorter while the bristles around the raven’s mouth are longer.


The main vocalization pattern of a crow is the jarring “caw-caw” noise while raven produces a deep croaking sound.


Another difference between crow and raven is that crows live in large flocks while ravens live in pairs.

Habitat Preferences

Crows prefer open areas while ravens prefer to hang out in forests.


American crow can recognize faces while common raven has active planning and impulse control. 


The approximate lifespan of a crow is 8 years while the approximate lifespan of a raven is 30 years. This is yet another difference between crow and raven.


Crow is a black color, medium-sized bird that belongs to the genus Corvus. It lives in groups in open spaces and is an omnivore.  In comparison, the raven is a bigger-sized member of the same genus. It lives in pairs, mainly inside forest. Both crow and raven are highly intelligent forms of animals. Therefore, the main difference between crow and raven is the build, anatomy, and behavior.


1. Bradford, Alina. “Facts About Crows.” LiveScience, Purch, 2 May 2017, Available Here
2. “Common Raven Identification.” All About Birds, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Cornell University, Available Here

Image Courtesy:

1. “Corvus-brachyrhynchos-001” (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia  
2. “Corvus corax.001 – Tower of London” By Drow male – Own work (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia  

About the Author: Lakna

Lakna, a graduate in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, is a Molecular Biologist and has a broad and keen interest in the discovery of nature related things. She has a keen interest in writing articles regarding science.

Leave a Reply