1. Corvus corax.
Corvus corax, Linn. Syst. Nat. i, p. 155 (1760) ; Blyth, Cat. p. 89; Horsf. & M. Cat. ii, p. 552; Jerd. B. I. ii, p. 203; Blanf. J. A. S. B. xli, pt. ii, p. 68; Sharpe, Cat. B. 31. iii, p. 14; Hume, Cat. no. 657; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. i, p. 1. Corvus thibetanus, Hodgs. A. M. N. II. (2) iii, p. 203 ( 1849) ; Horsf. & M. Cat. ii, p. 553 ; Jerd. B. I. ii, p. 294 ; Stoliczka, J. A. S. B. xxxvii, pt. ii, p. 54; Hume, Cat. no. 658. Corvus lawrencii, Hume, Lah. to Yark. p. 235 (1873) ; id. S. F. i, p. 205; Adam, S. F. i, p. 385 ; Hume, N. E. p. 408; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. iii, p. 15 note; Hume, S. F. vii, p. 63; id. Cat, no. 657 bis; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 250.
The European Raven, The Tibet Raven, Jerd.; Domkak, Doda, Hind, in the N.W.; Kargh, Candahar.
Coloration. Entirely black, glossed with steel-blue, purple, and like ; the throat-hackles long and conspicuous.
Iris brown; bill and legs shining black (Hume Coll.).
The following are the dimensions of the larger race found in the Himalayas: - Length 28 inches; tail 11.5; wing up to 19.3; tarsus 2.7; bill from gape 3.2. The smaller race from the plains measures: - Length about 24; tail 9.5; wing 16.3 to 17.4; tarsus 2.3; bill from gape 2.8.
The Raven of Tibet, Sikhim, Nepal, and the higher portions of the Himalayas is recognizably distinct from the Raven which is found as a permanent resident in Sind, Rajputana, and the Punjab. The Alpine race, a dweller in a cold bracing climate, has developed into an immense bird somewhat larger than any I have been able to pick out from a series of more than 50 Ravens from all parts of the northern hemisphere. The race from the plains of India, on the other hand, a dweller in an enervating tropical atmosphere, has dwindled down to a size which it is hard to match from the same series. Yet between the immense bird of Sikhim and the smallest bird of the plains it is by no means difficult to interpolate others from- Europe and Africa which serve to bridge the difference of size. It therefore seems impossible to separate the Havens of the whole world into two or more species.
If the Ravens of India alone are examined, it is not difficult to assign differential characters to two species. Not only is size sufficient, but the character and shape of the hackles of the throat, which I now figure, would suffice to diagnose them. As the matter stands, however, I unite them into one species, although I do so with considerable hesitation.
Distribution. The Raven is found throughout the Himalayas at altitudes generally of above 14,000 feet. It does not appear to be found below this level till the plains of the north-west are reached. Here a smaller and dull-coloured race occurs. This race is found throughout Sind, the Punjab, Bahawalpur, Bickaneer, the northern portions of Jodhpore and Jeypore, extending as far as Sambhar, where it appears to be common. In some portions of the above area it is said to be migratory and a winter visitor, but in the greater portion of the tract it remains to breed.
The Raven is found in nearly every part of the northern hemisphere.
Habits &c. The Raven of the Himalayas and the Raven of Europe are shy, wary birds, seldom approaching civilized surroundings. The Raven of. the North-west of India, on the other hand, appears to have all the habits of the Common Crow, attending camps and villages and going about without fear, but with the usual wariness of his tribe. Hume has noticed how a large number of Ravens die annually in the autumn on their first arrival in Sind from no apparent cause. Blanford informs me that the Sind Raven utters a most peculiar bell-like note besides the usual guttural cry.
The Raven of the North-west breeds from December to March. It constructs a large nest of sticks near the top of a tree standing in a field or in open jungle. The eggs are usually five in number and are greenish or pale blue, marked with blackish brown, olive, and pale purple. They measure 1.94 by 1.31.
Mandelli obtained the nest of the Sikhim bird high up towards the snows, containing four eggs. The date on which the nest was found is not stated.