Corvus corax, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 155 (1766) ; Naum. ii. p. 43, Taf. 53, fig. 1. ; Hewitson, i. p. 220, pl. lvii. ; Gould, B. of E. iii. pl. 220 id. B. of Gt. Brit iii. pl. 57 ; Newton, ii. p. 259 ; Dresser, iv. p. 567, pl. 262, fig. 3, 265, fig. 1 ; Audub. B. Am. pl. 224 ; David and Oust. Ois. Chine, p. 266 ; Sharpe. Cat. B. Br, Mus. iii. p. 14 ; Oates, F. Brit. Ind. Birds, i. p. 14 ; Saunders, p. 241 ; Lilford, ii. p. 44, pl. 19 ; Tacz. F. O. Sib. O. pp. 525-529 ; Bidgway, p. 361 ; C. carnivorus, Bartr. Trav. E. Flor. p. 290 (1793) ; Baird, B. N. Am. p. 560, pl. xxi. ; C. leucophoeus Vieill. Nouv. Dict. viii. p. 27 (1817) ; C. tibetanus, Hodgs. Ann. and Mag. Nat. Hist. 2nd ser. iii. p. 263 (1849).
Corbeau, French ; Corvo, Portug. ; Cuervo, Span. ; Corvo imperiale, Ital. ; Kolkrabe, Germ. ; Raaf, Dutch ; Hrafn, Icel. ; Ravn, Dan. and Norweg. ; Korp, Swed. ; Korppi, Finn. ; Voron, Russ. ; Kargh, Candahar ; Domkak, Doda, Hind. ; Watari-garasu, Jap.
Male ad. (Sweden) Deep black, richly glossed, especially on the upper parts with steel-blue and purple ; feathers on the throat lanceolate, elon¬gated, richly glossed with purple ; tail almost wedge-shaped ; bill and legs shining black ; iris brown. Culmen 3.7, height of the bill at base 1.1, wing 16.2, tail 10.1, tarsus 2.65 inch. The female is similar, but usually rather smaller and slightly duller, and the young bird is much duller, and has the throat-feathers loose in texture, and not lanceolate.
Hab. The whole of Europe ; Northern and Central Asia, south to the Punjab, and Tibet ; North America south to Mexico.
As a rule it is extremely wary and cautious, though where it is not molested it is comparatively tame. It affects rocky localities and open country in preference to the woodland. Its flight is bold and strong and in the spring it may be seen performing aerial evolutions. Like its congeners it is omnivorous, but feeds chiefly on carrion, fish thrown up on the shores, small mammals, grubs, worms, and even grain, when more suitable food is absent. Its note is a deep hoarse croak, which in the spring is often modulated into a gulping and more musical sound ; it is also an excellent mimic. It breeds early in the year, placing its nest, which is bulky and constructed of sticks, roots, &c., lined with wool, down, or any soft material, on a tree or rock, and in February or March deposits 4 to 6, sometimes even 8 eggs, which are pale greenish blue or dull olive-greenish marked with faint blackish shell-markings, and blackish or blackish brown surface-blotches, which are generally scattered over the surface of the shell ; in size they average about 1.82 by 1.30, but they vary a good deal both in size and markings. Taczanowski recognises several subspecies of the Raven (F.O.Sib.O. pp. 526-529) ; viz. Corvus corax sibiricus from Eastern Siberia, C. c. ussurianus from Manchuria, C. c. Kamtschaticus from Kamchatka, and C. c. behringianus from the Commander Islands, but I prefer to unite all these with C. corax.
604. Corvus corax