Both the common Raven (Corvus corax) and the white-necked or Chihuahuan Raven (Corvus cryptoleucus) can be found in the canyons and shrublands of southeast Arizona.

Raven, USFWS photo by Gary M. Stolz

Common Raven: US Fish and Wildlife Service photo, Gary M. Stolz

Though the White-necked Raven is slightly smaller (18"-22") than the common raven, it is not easy to tell the two apart since the white on the neck feathers is at the base and does not normally show.

ravenBoth of these ravens are different from the crows which are so widespread in Kansas and other midwestern agricultural areas. Whereas crows usually congregate in large flocks, adult ravens in Southeastern Arizona are generally only seen singly or in pairs. Ravens are larger and lankier than crows with heavier bills and deeper voices. Experts can also differentiate between their calls, with the raven's being described as a croak, while the crow's is a distinct caw. Ravens consume a large number of grasshoppers, beetles, moths, scorpions and caterpillars in addition to carrion and some plant matter such as melon, corn and pricklypear. Ravens are long-lived and extremely intelligent birds as described in the books listed below.

Recommended reading:

Heinrich, Bernd. The Mind of the Raven: investigations and adventures with wolf birds. New York: Cliff Street Books, 1999.

Savage, Candace. Bird Brains: The Intelligence of Crows, Ravens, Magpies, and Jays. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1995.