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Increasingly seen along the Dorset coast and on the north Dorset downs.

Photograph by: 
Peter Orchard

Raven: on the up

Post date: Wednesday, 24 February, 2016 - 00:00

I have seen many changes in my many years of birding and one of them is undoubtedly the rise in numbers of ravens (Corvus corax) in recent years. It is not that long ago that I had never seen a raven and now when I am out and about on the Dorset coast I usually see them and occasionally they are seen at inland sites, especially on the north Dorset downs.

They can be a bit difficult to distinguish from carrion crows at first but they are significantly bigger and have 'fingered' wing ends. They also have a definite 'croak' call which they are more than happy to use! That call is often the first thing you notice; you hear it, look up and there is the raven overhead.

Like all the crow family (corvids) they are very intelligent birds and this can show itself in a variety ways. There are also lots of superstitions surrounding them too, and they feature in various folk tales and folk songs. 

Whilst rarely seen in great numbers during the day they do congregate in to communal roosts at night and in some areas of the country I know they can be together in huge numbers. Anyone know of a communal roost in Dorset? 


The records for this species have been organised into reports, charts, maps and photos. Click a pic below to see the detail:

Sites List Distribution Map Some Charts Some Photographs Original Tweets Relatives Guidance Notes
Common Name Raven
Scientific Name Corvus corax
Status Local
Interest Level
Species Family Corvids
  • 01 - January
  • 02 - February
  • 03 - March
  • 04 - April
  • 05 - May
  • 06 - June
  • 07 - July
  • 08 - August
  • 09 - September
  • 10 - October
  • 11 - November
  • 12 - December
Preferred Environment
  • Rocky cliffs and shores
  • Downland and scrub
Look for A distinctive 'croak-croak' call from above
Additional Identification Notes
  • Much the largest of the crow family with a large, powerful beak
  • Once scarce in Dorset but now not uncommon along the coastal cliffs and also now further inland
  • Usually seen in flight, rarely on the ground, they are masters of aerobatic displays, especially in spring 
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