Raven vs. Eagle: Complete Difference Explained

Raven vs Eagle

Ravens are massive all-black passerine birds that stand at a significant height when compared to their more common cousin, crows. 

Eagles, on the other hand, are large and powerfully built birds of prey, equipped with incredibly increased senses that allow them to continue with their hearty appetite. 

Both huge birds, known for their intelligence and bravery respectively, are fascinating birds to study. 

Occupying the same skies as they do in many parts of the North American continent, it is important we know the differences between the two birds, so that you may have a better idea of who the massive bird in front of you is the next time you are out hiking! 

So today, we have compiled some of the basic differences between the two birds, and also looked at some other curious questions! 

So without further ado, let us get into it!

Ravens vs Eagles: Overview

AppearanceMassive yet slender, with black iridescent plumage and brown irises. Strong clawed feet, thick neck, and hackled throat region.Massive, with strongly built bodies. Wings shaped for better flying, hooked beaks, and sharp talons. Pale brown to golden brown eyes.
JuvenileMore blue-gray colored irises.Short tail feathers, and a pink gape.More messy appearance; mottled and striped with shades of brown, golden, etc.
DietOmnivorous; seeds, grains, fruits, small mammals, small rodents, nesting birds, etc.Mostly carnivorous; small mammals like rabbits and hares, rodents, fishes, carrion, etc.
IntelligenceMore intelligent with commendable problem-solving, and critical thinking skills.Relatively less intelligent but extremely skillful and effective hunters.

Raven vs Eagle: Appearance

The common ravens are one of the largest passerine birds, having a length of about 21 and 26 inches and weighing 1.5 to 4.4 pounds. 

They have thick girthy necks, and they have a shaggy, fluffy bunch of  feathers in the neck region that is referred to as “hackles”. 

They have a primarily black and slightly brown tinted iridescence, and a dark brown iris, that darkens and gets warmer with age, across almost all of the species.

Eagles, on the other hand, have much more variety in their colorings from species to species. 

From the white and brown combination of the bald eagle to the gold, cream, and brown mixture of the golden eagle, their plumage is one of the many reasons they reign supreme over their areas. 

The physical advantages they have for hunting and killing are virtually never-ending!

They have large hooked birds for ripping and tearing into the flesh of their prey, as well as sharp talons to grip onto them when they make their attack. 

Even though their feathers are not the typical aerodynamic mode, they are well-equipped for the fast and direct flight.

Raven vs Eagle: Juvenile Difference

The juvenile stage of birds comes right after the fledgling stage, which is where birds usually take their first flight after the nesting period. 

A juvenile raven is an easy bird to identify, as well as differentiate from their adult forms. 

One of the main things are their shorter tail feathers, as opposed to the adult’s long and slender ones. 

They also have blue-gray eyes instead of the typical dark brown and also sport some pink on their face.

Although the juvenile traits of eagles differ wildly from species to species, Generally though, it can be best understood that they look their best at adults and spend much of their juvenile years looking a little rougher and shabbier before reaching their final forms. 

Before the beautiful warm-toned plumages come in, they have streaks and mottles of different shades, which then all work together to form the final picture. 

In bald eagles, for instance, the birds do not directly have their pale brown heads and actually develop into them from a warm brown color overall.

Raven vs Eagle: Diet Difference

If there is one thing that ravens are famous for, it is their vast and varied appetite.

Scientists presume that this is also the reason behind the success of this species and how widespread ravens have become. 

They are omnivorous creatures and eat basically everything. From seeds, grains, fruits, and berries to small nesting birds, bird eggs, small mammals, and rodents. 

Even though they mostly eat live prey, they do not mind the occasional carrion for lunch or dinner.

Eagles, on the other hand, are mostly carnivorous, feeding on both live prey and carrion alike. 

Their diet mainly consists of small mammals like rodents, chipmunks, lemurs, and so on to small birds like American coots and black ducks. 

They also enjoy fish, especially the bald eagle whose diet consists primarily of them.

Raven vs Eagle: Intelligence Difference

Now, this is where the real head-to-head starts. We know both ravens and eagles are incredibly intelligent creatures, capable of planning our ambushes and hunts, the likes of which even us humans cannot conceive of. 

But there has to be a clear answer to who is smarter, right? And yes, there is!

In all our childhood fairytales, we encountered the ravens as smart, wise, and intelligent creatures while the eagle was more of a courageous and brave bird. 

And this is true in real life as well, to some extent. Of course, eagles are extremely intelligent and are incredibly effective and skillful hunters, but when talking about learning, coordination, and problem-solving, they rank pretty low. 

They are opportunistic hunters with the urge to kill embedded in them, but rarely do they engage in the sort of critical thinking we usually associate with intelligence.

Ravens, on the other hand, is absolutely brilliant! Not only are they also incredible hunters, but they have been observed to engage in extremely high problem-solving processes many times. 

When encountered with a piece of food that is unreachable to them, they fashion a rod-like thing out of what they can and fish it out, which is certainly not something you’d see an eagle do.

Ravens vs. Eagles, Who Would Win In A Fight? Do They Get Along?

The answer to whether they get along is just a simple no. It is not an uncommon sight to see a raven and eagle fighting with one another in the middle of the sky, actually. 

As for in a head-to-head fight, the clear winner is the eagle. All the eagle has to do is grab onto the raven and shred it to pieces using its sharp talons. 

It is with this knowledge that ravens usually attack the backs of eagles, especially when engaging in mobbing behavior. 

They can bombard the eagle with loud squawks, dive bombs, and even defecationn, but in an actual fight, the eagle takes this one.

Are Ravens Afraid Of Eagles?

Ravens do not live in constant fear of eagles but they definitely understand the harm that eagles cause, especially to their breeding colonies. 

Thus, they viciously defend their mates, eggs, and nest when they see even a hint of an eagle passing by. 

They engage in various mobbing tactics like loud squawking, dive bombing, riding and pecking on their backs, and even defecating on the eagle.

Do Ravens Ride On Eagles’ Back?

Yes, but not in the fun sense, we might think of! Ravens are vicious defenders of their territories and will thus often be seen engaged in an altercation with an eagle. 

Knowing the eagle’s capabilities, the ravens often attack riding on the eagle’s back to protect themselves from the sharp talons. 

When this happens, the eagle simply flies upwards to where the oxygen level drops, and the ravens feel that drop. 

This is why many bird watchers think eagles give ravens a fun ride once in a while. In reality, the eagle is attempting to suffocate the raven to death.

In Conclusion

And so we hope that the next you see a smart and sleek, majestic animal whizzing through the sky, you can use our tips and figure out whether it is a raven or an eagle.

They are both parts of vast families, the crow family, and birds of prey, which are both immensely intriguing and endless fun to learn about! 

I hope you enjoyed traveling with us into these wondrous worlds.

Thank you for reading!

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