Ravens are very large black birds with black beaks, they are the biggest member of the crow family. They have very long wings and if you spot them in flight you will see they have a diamond shaped tail. Ravens can reach 60cm long and have a wingspan of nearly a metre. They have been described as 'the vultures of the sheep country' because they search through the countryside looking for dying animals to target such as deer or sheep. They work very effectively in teams, and this is how they hunt. This allows them to hunt down prey that would be too big for a single bird to take down. They are happy to eat almost anything including rodents, worms, insects, human garbage and larger animals that are dying. Ravens will also steal eggs and destroy the nests of other birds for a quick meal.
Ever since the times of Henry the 8th Ravens have lived in the tower of London. According to legend, if the Ravens leave the Tower of London, the fortress and the British Kingdom will fall. They are found mainly in South West England, Wales, the Lake District and Scotland. Ravens live a lot longer than some other birds and are quite resilient.
Surprisingly, Ravens mate for life and build very big nests which are made from sticks and sometimes sheeps wool. Both parents work together and look after their young who are dependent on them for a good few months. They are very good in the air and there flying displays can rival other aerial artists such as hawks and falcons. They make a distinctive croaking noise which is easy to identify once you know it.
Ravens often appear in horror films and spooky programmes because of their daunting appearance. They are quite ferocious and they can attack if intimidated. William Shakespeare portrayed them as messengers of evil and in some cultures they can even represent death. These fascinating birds have long been the subject of myths and poetry and were honoured by Native Americans because of their intelligence. They are good problem solvers and are very quick learners, many people think they are one of the most intelligent birds. Despite their spooky reputation, Ravens can actually be very playful birds who like to play tricks on other animals.