Common ravens are actually rather remarkable animals. These sleek, black birds are excellent and acrobatic fliers on par with falcons and hawks. Such aerial skills are on display during breeding season, when exciting mating rituals include an elaborate dance of chases, dives, and rolls.
These intelligent birds were honored by Native Americans and often portrayed as sly pranksters for their playful nature.
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. Ravens do dine on carrion and sometimes on human garbage.
In winter, common ravens may gather in flocks to forage during the day and to roost at night. During the rest of the year, they are often coupled, or in small groups. Ravens are believed to mate for life. They build large, stick nests in which females lay three to seven eggs each spring. Both parents care for their young, which remain dependent for several months.
Common ravens typically vocalize with a croaking sound, but they boast a wider repertoire of calls.