Belonging to the Corvidae or the Crow family, ravens are one of the sharpest and most intelligent birds of all of the birds in the world.
Not only are they great at learning tricks and following them to the, but they have also been observed engaging in problem-solving and critical thinking skills all by themselves, without any form of humanitarian aid or prodding.
Though they might not seem the playful, fun-loving types at first glance, ravens, especially young ones, love to soar through the sky and display various acrobatics and games from the sky.
If you have ever heard the vocalization of a raven, you have probably noticed how it is a bit deeper and darker than the birdsongs we are usually used to, which are high and shrill.
When we say “birds that imitate humans”, maybe your mind rushes to the parrot family, but they are not alone in their vocal imitations.
In fact, the deeper-toned voice of ravens has often made it so that their mimicry sounds much more human-like than the playful, higher-toned version of our voices parrots give back to us!
So, maybe you have never wondered about it before, whether they can talk or sing? Well today, we are going to explore those and many other questions about ravens and their vocalizations.
So without further ado, let us get right into it!
Can Ravens Talk?
Yes, and they are great at it as well!
Maybe this would not be as shocking to you if you knew just how intelligent they were.
Scientists speculate that a four-year-old raven has the mental and intellectual capacity equivalent to a full-grown ape!
That is how bright they are!
If you spend even just a few minutes in the folklore of almost any culture, you will be shocked to see just how many of them feature ravens as messengers.
In reality, though, ravens are most probably not going to predict your future, but they can make an uncanny impression of your voice – catching all the right notes, tenures, and enunciations.
Not only do they imitate human speech, but they also emit accurate imitations of basically any and every sound that piques their interest in captivity.
From car alarms to phones ringing to the doorbell, this clever little bird will certainly have you fooled with its impressions.
Ravens are, in fact, capable of over 100 different vocalizations, which is certainly impressive for a bird in their family.
Can Ravens Sing?
Yes again, but maybe the raven song does not fit your typical description of birdsong!
Their most characteristic song is a deep gurgling croak that they emit, seemingly from the back of their throat region.
It slowly rises in pitch, forming a deep yet melodic little rhythm. The other main call is that we are much more familiar with, a simple scratchy, raspy, caw, heard from miles within its range.
It is a distinctive deep prukk-prukk-prukk sound that has a certain musicality to it, that any experienced birdsong will identify in a minute!
It is a call often used as a response to other birds cawing in the distance and situating themselves geographically.
Apart from those two, scientists have identified a plethora of other vocalizations that they have attributed to certain purposes.
This includes alarm calls, chase calls, and fight calls. The chase call is the loudest and most apparent of these – a shrill, repeating call that goes non-stop until they have chased the trespasser or threat away.
Alarm calls could similarly be short shrill bursts, or could have a much deeper cadence, especially when their nest is being targeted.
Can Ravens Talk Like Humans?
Though there are not many ravens in captivity because of certain laws aiming to protect them, those who do spend their time around humans – like in zoos and shelters – have a wonderful human vocabulary tucked under their belt.
They definitely do not know they are doing such a wonderful task – they are simply imitating the sounds they hear around them just as they do with alarms, phones, doorbells, and such.
It is the accuracy in tone and cadence that fascinates us and the world alike. Just ask Mischief, a white-necked raven who could imitate his owner to the point where people did not even understand when the human stopped speaking and the bird started.
Can Ravens Be Trained To Talk?
To a certain degree, yes! Ravens are keen and intelligent creatures, with sharp observant skills.
They have the ability to grasp complex concepts and relations much faster than many other birds in their family and in the bird kingdom alike.
They lack the typical vocal cords that we use to make our sounds and use their syrinx instead to bring the voices from the throat, which they then manipulate using their tongue and beak positions.
They will generally engage in this mimicry without being prompted to do so, but if trained, they will be much more likely to expand their vocabulary and reach their fullest potential.
Can A Raven Talk Like A Parrot?
Yes, and they might even be able to talk better than parrots. Don’t get us wrong, the parrots, the African Gray parrot specifically, still reign supreme with their record of over 1,000 words.
The main difference lies with the availability of birds and who spends more time with humans – that being parrots.
But, if trained with the right amount of enthusiasm, your ravens can grab on to over 100 words with perfect rhythm and cadence and sound it just as you do.
So the next time someone mentions talking birds who can imitate human speech, don’t think of just the colorful parrot family and give these all-black beauties a spot on your list as well!
The world of ravens is an endlessly fascinating world and I hope you enjoyed this voyage into it, and that you learned something new!
Thank you for reading!
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