A picture of a raven staring out of its cage.
A picture of a raven staring out of its cage.

Common Raven

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The Common Raven (Corvus corax) like all corvids is a highly intelligent bird.

Some even claim that, unlike carrier pigeons, a raven could be trained to carry letters both ways. That is why the postal services in Hungary used to have a raven in their logo.

The picture of a raven staring at food on the ground.

Raven (Corvus corax).

Ravens will eat almost any creature that they manage to catch, they will also eat carrion. Ravens will often follow predators and try to steal pieces of their prey. Because of their tendency to eat anything dead, and probably because of their black plumage, ravens were associated with death.

During war time, or when executions were common, ravens would happily feast on dead humans, like all scavengers starting with the softer parts. The old Hungarian curse “May the raven gouge your eyes out.” gives a hint what parts they ate first. In some cases when a victim was executed by exposure it could take place before death — as it is so vividly depicted in he movie The Passion of the Christ.
Ravens pecking at eyes were depicted even in medieval art.

This sort of behavior can apparently be observed even these days if not against humans at least when ravens attack livestock.

While this kind of savagery might be appalling to some, and can cause damage to livestock, the ravens are just trying to feed themselves.

A far more interesting fact is that ravens are highly intelligent creatures, capable of communicating with each other, solving practical problems with some sort of logic, and inventing all sorts of clever ways to steal food.

Ravens really are among the smartest animals.

Further Reading:

Just How Smart Are Ravens?

Ravens and Intelligence

Last updated: June 5, 2015

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