U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version



Vol. 51 No. 4/Vol. 52 No. I


Fall/Winter 2018


Common Ravens (Corvus corax) are among the most intelligent of birds with extraordinary problem-solving capabilities (Heinrich 1995, Heinrich and Bugnyar 2005). Their intelligence, behavioral flexibility, and omnivorous diet allow ravens to adapt to many conditions and innovatively learn foraging behaviors, especially in context with human landscape changes and food sources (e.g., Ficken 1977, Andersson 1989, Heinrich 1995, Lefebvre et al. 1997). Ravens can also identify interconnections between stimuli and potential unseen food resources. For example, a controlled experiment in Wyoming found that Common Ravens learned to fly toward gunshots, but only in forested areas where the auditory stimuli would be most beneficial for locating carcasses or gut piles; they did not respond to other loud sounds like airhorns or slamming car doors (White 2005). In another study, ravens learned to follow researchers who were setting up artificial nests so they could immediately raid them (Vander Haegen et al. 2002).

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