Crows and ravens are large black birds found throughout North America, and they can be hard to tell apart. The best clue for identification is usually the voice, but the species differ in some other subtle ways, too.
Ravens are one of the most distinctive birds in North America. In general, they are very large and entirely black just like crows. They can be found across the Northern Hemisphere with common ravens living in areas such as California, Alaska, Canada, Mexico and Scotland.
Examples of black birds with long beaks include the toco toucan, African openbill, black eagle, black stork, rhinoceros hornbill, great cormorant, American crow, and many others.
Ravens differ from crows in appearance by their larger bill, tail shape, flight pattern and by their large size. Ravens are as big as Red-tailed Hawks, and crows are about the size of pigeons. The raven is all black, has a 3.5-4 ft wingspan and is around 24-27 inches from head to tail.
Crows have a rounded or squared-off tail; ravens have a wedge-shaped tail which is more obvious during flight. Crows are smaller than ravens and have a smaller bill. Both ravens and crows are entirely black, including their feet and beaks.
Common Grackles are larger than Brewer’s Blackbirds with a longer tail and a heavier bill. Male Common Grackles have a bluish sheen on the head, whereas Brewer’s have a purplish sheen.
“To many, ravens symbolize death or bad fortune to come, but to others they symbolize rebirth and starting anew, serving as a positive sign,” says Dr. Kim. In Norse, Celtic, and Druid mythology, crows and ravens are widely viewed as beacons of intelligence.
Ravens have long, pointed wings in flight and a wedge-shaped tail. They make croaking or scratchy vocalizations, unlike the distinctive high-pitched “caw” of a crow. Grackles have slender bodies and longer tails. Their calls sound like a rusty gate.
Common Grackles are blackbirds that look like they’ve been slightly stretched. They’re taller and longer tailed than a typical blackbird, with a longer, more tapered bill and glossy-iridescent bodies. Grackles walk around lawns and fields on their long legs or gather in noisy groups high in trees, typically evergreens.
This Amazon avian’s famously colorful bill also happens to be the largest in the bird class—a whopping 7.5 inches long. Toucans use these enormous beaks to do many things- from reaching fruit on branches too small for them to perch on to engaging in a fruit toss as part of a mating ritual!
Nonbreeding male Rusty Blackbirds are mottled brown and black unlike the intricate iridescent pattern of European Starlings. They also have a yellow eye whereas starlings have a dark eye.
The European Starling is a medium-sized, black songbird with short, triangular wings, spotted plumage, and a short tail. The adult in breeding plumage has a distinctive thin, pointed, yellow bill and black, speckled plumage with purple-green iridescence. The non-breeding adult has a black beak and light spots.
The main difference is that the Starling has a short tail and yellow bill, while the Grackle has a black bill and a long ‘keel-shaped’ tail.
Starlings are symbolic of communication, of your relationship with your fellow members, and your standing in society. They also symbolize unity; often seen flocking together, these birds have learned that we are always stronger together than alone. Have you been dreaming of starlings frequently these days?
Ravens are quite vigorous at defending their young and are usually successful at driving off perceived threats. They attack potential predators by flying at them and lunging with their large bills. Humans are occasionally attacked if they get close to a raven nest, though serious injuries are unlikely.
They both are black in color with their legs and beaks. There is a slight hint of grey and brown when you see a raven in direct sunlight. Their legs also seem a bit slightly off-color but still in the tone of black. Crows are entirely black, including their legs and beaks.
The jackdaw call is a simple ‘jack-jack’. Carrion crows, on the other hand, are significantly bigger, black all over, and have brown irises. Crows are also often found alone or in pairs, whereas jackdaws are more gregarious and they usually live and move around in groups.
Measurements. Males are glossy black all over with a staring yellow eye and a blue sheen on the head grading to greenish iridescence on the body. Females are plainer brown, darkest on the wings and tail, with a dark eye. Immature birds look like washed out, lighter-brown versions of the females.
Crows are also generally larger and heavier than grackles and have different colored eyes. In terms of sexual dimorphism, the grackles surpass the crows. They display significant dimorphism in both size and plumage, while both sexes of crows are similar in plumage, with only the males being slightly larger.
Brown-headed Cowbirds are smallish blackbirds, with a shorter tail and thicker head than most other blackbirds. The bill has a distinctive shape: it’s much shorter and thicker-based than other blackbirds’, almost finch-like at first glance. In flight, look for the shorter tail.
In some parts of the world, the raven is a sign of death or misfortune; to others its presence indicates good fortune.
This spirit animal comes to you when you need guidance or reassurance on your path in life. People often associate ravens with bad omens or darker energy, but they also symbolize other, more positive things as well. Seeing ravens often signifies that you have a strong, mysterious energy force in your life.
You probably know that ravens are larger, the size of a Red-tailed Hawk. Ravens often travel in pairs, while crows are seen in larger groups. Also, watch the bird’s tail as it flies overhead. The crow’s tail feathers are basically the same length, so when the bird spreads its tail, it opens like a fan.
Grackle teaches you how to communicate with clarity and confidence, all while showing you how to elevate your awareness for a clearer perspective! Delve deeply in Grackle symbolism and meaning to find out how this Animal Spirit Guide can illuminate, inspire, and guide you!