CROWS vs. RAVENS (and the Corvid family tree)
Crows and ravens belong to the family Corvidae, which also includes jays, magpies, rooks, jackdaws, treepies, choughs and nutcrackers; all collectively known as corvids. They are considered the most intelligent of birds, and among the most intelligent of all animals because of their self-awareness and ability to make tools.
Crows, ravens and jackdaws all belong to one genus, Corvus. There are actually quite a few species of ravens and crows around the world, but in the United States, most people use the terms “crow” and “raven” to refer to the American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) and the Common Raven (Corvus corax). Both species are black in color and have very similar bodies, so how do you tell them apart?
The easiest difference to spot is size. Ravens are significantly larger than crows; if you’ve ever got up close to one, you’ve probably been amazed at how big they seem! Ravens also have shaggy neck feathers, while crows’ lie smooth.
Crows are more likely to be found in noisy, populated areas, but ravens tend to prefer more secluded habitats. Crows’ loud, repetitive caws are also very different from the croak of a raven. Ravens also have a much longer lifespan than crows; the American Crow averages 8 years while the Common Raven can live to 30.(x)(x)