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Ravens, Magpies, and Crows: The Smartest Birds

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Birds are some of the most interesting species in the world. Did you know that birds actually evolved from a group of dinosaurs?


Raven Intelligence

This large black bird is one of the smartest birds in the world. A member of the corvid family, ravens have high intelligence and extraordinary problem-solving skills. In fact, the raven is so successful that its home range stretches from the Arctic, North America, Europe, Asia, North Africa, to islands of the Pacific Ocean. This super smart bird has the largest habitat of all the passerines. The raven's intelligence is compared to that of chimpanzees and dolphins. With one of the highest brain-to-body ratio, the raven has problem-solving skills, future-planning skills, and can remember different people. Want to test the raven's ability to solve problems? You will have to use some tasty treats to entice them. Within a short amount of time, the raven gets your treats with its smart brain.

Quoth the Raven: Nevermore!

Not only are ravens super intelligent, they can also talk like parrots. Actually, they talk even better and more clearly than parrots. Many ravens can imitate human voices quite well. Edger Allen Poe is closely associated with the raven because of his dark poems and short stories. It is sad that such an intelligent and talkative bird is villainized by humans. Let's look past its dark plumage and appreciate this magnificent large bird!

Eurasian Magpie

One of the only non-primate species to recognize itself in a mirror test, the Eurasian Magpie is one of the smartest birds in the world. Also a member of the corvid family, this medium-sized bird has black, white, and iridescent blue plumage. The magpie is a very good looking bird. Also, this intelligent bird has a large home range stretching from much of Europe to Asia.


Due to its mostly black plumage and being in the same family as crows and ravens, Europeans view the magpie as evil. However, this bird is very popular in China. People believe that this bird is the omen of good fortune. In fact, its Chinese name translates to "bird of happiness". Chinese people also enjoy hearing this bird calling, which is equivalent to bringing you good luck! The magpie is also associated with love. In famous folklore, the magpie formed a bridge and brought two lovers together.


Talking Magpie

Like its cousin the raven, the magpie is also a very good talker. He can sometimes imitate human voices so accurately that it's eerie. However, magpies mean no harm. They are just mischievous animals that like to have a little fun with other intelligent creatures like ourselves. Let's put aside our prejudice and superstition about this gorgeous bird! Let it thrive in the environment, undisturbed by human interventions.

Crows: A Common Sight

This is another very common bird in the corvid family. This bird looks very similar to the raven and many people have a hard time distinguishing the two.

  • Size: First of all, the raven is a bigger than the crow. The raven is 24 to 27 inches from head to toe, while the crow is only about 17 inches from head to toe. With its larger size, the raven has a bigger wingspan of about one foot wider than the crow.
  • The beak of a raven is very large and slightly curved while the crow has more of a straight beak.
  • The difference between the two is more easily recognized when the birds are in flight. The raven has a wedge shaped tail and the crow's tail is fan shaped. Also, the raven tends to soar. The crow has to use its wings almost constantly in flight.
  • Have you noticed that male ravens have a ruff of feathers near the throat? Crows, on the other hand, have smooth feathers around its neck.

Differences aside, these two birds are not popular with humans due to their solid black plumage. Again, humans associate white with good and black with bad. It's about time we get rid of that misperception!


Crows and Ravens are Not Best Friends!

Despite being very similar, crows and ravens are not good friends and will usually not tolerate each other. Actually, you don't find many ravens in urban settings. They are all crows. In fact, the crows will get together with other crows to make the raven leave their territory. This is for a good reason: the crow is trying to protect their eggs from the raven. Since the two species are very similar to each other, the crow is just trying to protect itself from competition for the same resources. Either way, the crows are the aggressors between the two. Even though crows are in the same family as ravens, they are not as smart as ravens when it comes to problem-solving abilities.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.