How to tell Ravens from Crows

by Chris Anderson on October 03, 2020
These two species, Common Ravens and American Crows, overlap widely throughout North America, and they look quite similar. But with a bit of practice, you can tell them apart.
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. Ravens, however, have longer middle feathers in their tails, so their tail appears wedge-shaped when open.
Is that a raven or crow?
Don't get confused next time you're in the field. Listen closely to the birds’ calls.
Crows give a cawing sound.
Ravens produce a lower croaking sound.
Listen here: