Battle of the birds (Graphic: Ryan F. Mandelbaum; Raven: Wikimedia user CanadianWikilover; Crow: Wikimedia user Mdf; Sky: Wikimedia user Mohammed Tawsif Salam, Screenshot via Nintendo, Wikimedia Commons)
Crows and ravens are hard to tell apart, but basically, the common raven is bigger than the American and Northwestern crow.
So you might think that ravens would win in a fight. But that doesn’t seem to be the case.
One thing you might not know about bird nerds is that many of us are citizen scientists, logging all of the birds we see, along with our observations, into an online database called eBird.
It’s a worthwhile endeavour that can lead to new scientific insights about birds.
A pair of scientists analysed 2000 eBird logs and learned about this strange corvid behaviour.
“Both crows and ravens are insanely smart species, but our cities and agricultural areas are hugely dominated by crows, while ravens live in more wild areas,” study author Benjamin Freeman, postdoctoral researcher at the University of British Columbia, told Gizmodo.
“Crows’ social behaviour helps them keep their domination in cities and agricultural areas.”Basically, the raven, being a big cousin of the crow, would probably win in a one-on-one fight, but such events rarely happen in the wild, said Freeman.
Instead, crows band into small groups to chase and attack ravens — 97 per cent of the time, the crows are the aggressors, according to the paper published in The Auk Ornithological Advances.
These attacks occur more frequently during crow’s nesting season or during winter, implying that the crows could be preemptively fending off larger potential predators or fighting for resources like food.