Are Ravens Birds Of Prey? Explained In Detail

Are Ravens Birds Of Prey

Highly intelligent and fascinating to learn about, ravens are large all-black birds with a world of fun facts hidden underneath their black and brown iridescent wings. 

They are pretty widespread and can get pretty shy as birds, thus they tend to stay away from urbanized areas usually. 

A reason these birds are as widespread as they are is attributed to their vast and varied diet, which is highly opportunistic and flexible. From seeds, grains, fruits, and berries to rodents, small mammals, and even carrion.

There is a common misconception though that the raven is a bird of prey – owing to their massive structures, highly skillful hunting methods, and so on. But it is not so. 

So today we are going to look at what a raven actually is, what a bird of prey is, and some other fun facts about these curious birds! 

So without further ado, let us get into it.

Are Ravens Birds Of Prey?

The term birds of prey is a loose term with no specific attachments in the birds learning world, as all birds prey on something or the other anyways. 

What they actually mean to say when they say birds of prey are raptor birds, who are primarily carnivorous and are famed for their incredible hunting skills. 

Raptor birds usually have long sharp talons and curved hooked beaks to capture, tear, and rip into their prey.

Ravens, on the other hand, does not depend entirely upon meat as their primary food source. 

They are opportunistic hunters who will eat mostly whatever is available at the moment. They also do not have the characteristic physical qualities that raptors do. 

Instead of the sharp piercing talons, ravens have feet designed better for grabbing and perching. 

But birds of prey like falcons, hawks, eagles, and even vultures, use their strong build and stronger feet to capture and kill the prey, before eating it.

So What Order Are the Ravens From?

Just as “birds of prey” are actually raptors, scavengers are only the denotation of their hunting and feeding habits and not the bird group they belong to. 

The order that they belong to is called Passeriformes, and all birds in this group are called passerines. 

More than half of all bird species belong to this order, and they can be distinguished by the arrangement of their toes, which are specifically designed for perching.

The order is further divided into three subtypes, of which the ravens are part of the Oscines group.

What Are Some Other Passerine Birds?

Just to give you an idea of this family of birds, let us take a brief look at some of the more common passerine birds and see if you can recognize the key identifying factors with them!


Belonging to a separate subgroup from ravens, finches are small to medium-sized passerine birds that are truly adorable. 

With wonderful combinations of colored plumage and conical bills adapted for seed-eating, finches look like they flew straight out of a child’s imagination.

One of the biggest identifiers of this group is also that they all show some form of vocal range, that need not necessarily be musical, but is impressive nonetheless.

House Sparrow

house sparrow

One of the most commonly found birds all over the world is these tiny little brown and gray birds, who are also passerine birds. 

They are found so often in urbanized habitats but also prefer woodlands, grasslands, and areas with foliage for them to perch upon. 

They feed primarily on grains, seeds, and weeds, but they are opportunistic hunters and will eat insects and other random things if the situation calls for it.

Blue Jay 

blue jay

Last but not least, belonging to the same Corvidae family as the star of the show, ravens, is the blue jay! 

Found mostly in deciduous and coniferous forests of the United States, they are primarily blue with white underparts, and a distinctive black collar in their neck region.

They feed mainly on seeds, nuts, acorns, arthropods, and the occasional small vertebra.

Why Do People Think Ravens Are Birds Of Prey?

The massive size and highly effective hunting methods employed by Ravens are the main reason they expect these passerine birds to be a part of birds of prey. 

In reality though, because there are some ecological and habitual similarities between the two, many scientists consider the raven an “honorary raptor”. 

Technically though, raptors are birds that use their sharp feet to kill and then consume birds, while ravens are more opportunistic and do not subsist on a purely carnivorous diet.

Some Other Fun Facts About Ravens

Ravens are endlessly fascinating creatures and to only talk about their diet, their hunting, and their feeding behaviors would certainly be a crime!

High Critical Problem-Solving Skills

When it comes to birds who are the best problem-solvers, ravens certainly take the cake! 

Unlike other intelligent birds like the parrot family, they do not need to be shown a solution and can reach the answers by themselves, in sometimes terrifyingly smart ways. 

When encountered with a food item that is out of reach inside a burrowed hole, a raven can be seen fashioning a rod-like structure out of the branches and hay which it then uses to prod the food outside the hole and eat it.

Talking Through Gestures

Though for us pointing a finger or waving hi is as natural as ever, it is rarely found in the animal kingdom, and mostly unheard of in the bird kingdom. 

But scientists have found that ravens use their beaks to indicate a general direction to fellow birds just as we point our fingers! 

Ravens are the only creatures to exhibit these types of gestures outside primates in the animal kingdom, which is certainly something to boast about.

Remembering Faces

Another incredible yet unsettling fun fact about ravens is that they have what is called “episodic memory”, much like humans and primates. 

This means that they remember faces, but not just faces they remember them with the emotions associated with that encounter! 

So think twice before you decide to test a raven, they can remember unpleasant encounters for up to a month, and will probably not maintain acquaintance with you if wronged once.


So that is a common misconception about these birds busted, and some more fun facts for you. The fascinating things about these birds do not end here though – they could virtually go on forever, that is how amazing ravens are! I hope you enjoyed this tiny venture into their world, and that you learned something new!

Thank you for reading!

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