White-necked Raven

Corvus albicollis

Powerfully built with a most intimidating beak and boasting a wingspan of over 80cm and weighing around 800g, the White-necked Raven is the largest member of the crow family occurring in South Africa. They are true omnivores, feeding on carrion, small vertebrates, insects, eggs, fruits and grains, and they will also scavenge human waste (although they’re not as frequently associated with human habitations as others of the family). It has also been observed that they’ll pick up tortoises and drop them from a great height, usually on rocks, to break the shells.

White-necked Ravens are usually encountered in territorial pairs or small family groups, but at times congregate in groups that may number over a hundred at a good food source, especially outside of the breeding season. Their preferred habitat is open hilly and mountainous areas where they nest on cliffs during the spring and early summer. Their large stick nests, lined with fur, wool and grass, are often utilised by other birds once the ravens have deserted it after their own chicks fledged. Clutches contain 2-5 eggs and are incubated by both parents.

White-necked Ravens occur patchily from Uganda and Kenya southwards to South Africa, where they can be found in all our provinces with the exception of Gauteng and the North West. While noting that some populations are declining due to unspecified reasons (though I suspect poisoning is probably a major factor) the IUCN lists the White-necked Raven as being of least concern.

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19 thoughts on “White-necked Raven

  1. petrujviljoen

    Daar is so ‘n paar hier. Mense hier rond dring aan dis ‘n gewone kraai omdat daar blykbaar nie ravens in die suidelike halfrond voorkom nie, maar die Roberts boek dui duidelik aan dis ‘n raven. Ek is nie seker hoe die verskil geklassifiseer word nie – dit was ‘n buurman se boek wat hy my geleen het ‘n ruk terug. Toe ek eers hier ingetrek het, sit ek en die kat buitekant in die tuin en een het laag oor ons kom vlieg – seker die kat uitgekyk maar ‘n volgroeide kat is eintlik bietjie groot vir hulle? Dis wat die Roberts boek gesê het maar sal verdere gerusstelling waardeer! 🙂 Daar was nou die dag ‘n dooie muis in die tuin en die raven het gesien van doer bo af en dit kom kry en weggevlieg daarmee om erens anders te eet. Wanneer hulle in die lug is moet ek altyd twee keer kyk om te sien of dit die langkuifarende is of die rawe. Swart onder is dit ‘n raaf, wit op die punte van die vlerke onder is dit die arende.

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Nee wat, “Raven” en “Crow” is maar sinonieme sover dit my aangaan.
      Ek glo darem ook nie jou kat is in gevaar nie, maar sou hy dalk iets vang sal die kraai dit dalk by hom probeer afvat!
      In vlug maak hul groot vlerkspan en swewery dit maklik om hulle vir arende of aasvoels te misgis!

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      1. petrujviljoen

        Ek’s nou nog verbaas oor hoe groot hulle is! Ons het ‘n witborskraai gehad as troeteldier toe ons kinders was. Dit het uit die nes geval en my pa het dit grootgemaak. Alles en almal nagemaak. My ouma se geroep na ons, die telefoon se lui, die lot. Dink nie ek sal hierdie ravens probeer mak maak nie, maak nie saak hoe klein ek een in die hande kry nie.

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