©Margaret Holland


Scientific name: Corvus corax
The raven is famous for being the imposing, all-black bird that guards the Tower of London. Wild birds live in forests, and upland and coastal areas in the north and west of the UK.

Species information


Length: 64cm
Wingspan: 1.3m
Weight: 1.1-1.3kg
Average lifespan: 10-15 years

Conservation status

Classified in the UK as Green under the Birds of Conservation Concern 5: the Red List for Birds (2021).

When to see

January to December


The raven is a massive crow, even bigger than a buzzard, which can be found on mountains and in forests where it feeds on carrion. The raven has been expanding its range in recent years, although it is still only found in rural areas. Ravens nest on cliffs around the coast, on mountains, in quarries and in large trees in parkland. Ravens pair for life; males perform breeding displays of posturing, preening and bill caressing from February onwards, and females lay four to six blue-green eggs in a nest of twigs and moss.

How to identify

Much larger than the other crows, the raven is all-black, with a strong, heavy bill and a long, wedge-shaped tail.


Found in northern and western UK, but it is expanding its range and moving south-east.

Did you know?

Steeped in myth and legend, tame ravens famously guard the Tower of London. It is believed that if the ravens leave, the City of London will fall.