Apart from their greater size, Ravens differ from their cousins the crows by having larger and heavier beaks, and with a deeper and more varied caw. Other field points are the thick throat and wedge-shaped tail.
Ravens can thrive in varied climates. They range from the Arctic to the deserts of North Africa, and to islands in the Pacific Ocean. Most ravens prefer wooded areas near coasts and in mountains for their nesting sites.
Mated ravens tend to nest together for life. The pair will build a nest on cliff ledges or in trees. The nest is made of whatever materials may have caught the builders' eyes. Ravens are known for their love of shiny objects. The female will lay from three to seven pale bluish-green, brown-blotched eggs. Both parents keep the eggs warm, and take turns feeding the chicks.
Ravens have a varied diet. They will eat anything edible, including insects, berries, fruit, other birds' eggs, carrion, and the garbage from human homes. They also kill small birds and mammals, including young rabbits and rats.
Experiments have shown that ravens are able of using tools; an experiment, where some desirable item lay on the bottom of a bottle, showed that some ravens were able to form a hook to reach the item.
Like other crows (corvids), ravens can copy sounds from their environment, including human speech.
The raven has long been of interest to creators of myths and legends. The raven was used as a symbol of rampage by the Vikings, who loved to paint them on their sails. In Norse mythology, the ravens Hugin and Munin sat on the god Odin's shoulders, and told him the news of the world. The Old English word for a raven was hraefn; in Old Norse it was hrafn; the word was frequently used in combinations as a kenning for bloodshed and battle.
Natives of north-western North America consider Raven the Creator of the World.
There is a legend that England will not fall to a foreign invader as long as there are ravens at the Tower of London; the government now maintains several birds on the grounds of the tower, either for insurance or to please tourists (or both).
Other raven species include: