Little Raven

Little Raven
Little Raven
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Corvidae
Genus: Corvus
Species: C. mellori
Binomial name
Corvus mellori
Mathews, 1912
Distribution map

The Little Raven (Corvus mellori) is a species of the crow and raven family Corvidae, that is endemic to Australia. It has all-black plumage, beak and legs with a white iris, as do the other Corvus members in Australia and some species from the islands to the north.



Although the Little Raven was first named by Mathews in 1912, it was only in 1967 that there was consensus to separate it from the Australian Raven (C. coronoides) as a distinct species.


Some of the differences, between the two species, are that the Little raven: on average a little smaller than the Australian Raven (48–50 cm in length), though sizes do overlap between both species; the beak is slightly smaller and more curved, calls are shorter and the throat bulges out less while calling. This bird is a somewhat more sociable species by comparison, often forming large flocks that roam freely over wide areas in search of food. The range of the Little raven does overlap the range of the Australian Raven, but the Australian Raven's range extends further.

A juvenile (right) calls to be fed the grub its mother (left) has just caught.

Distribution and habitat

The Little Raven ranges over southeastern Australia from southern South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales. Also in Kangaroo Island (S.A) and King Island (Bass Strait). Living within scrub, agricultural areas, grazing pasture, woodlands to treeless plains, coasts, and suburbs.

Little Ravens are absent from west Gippsland, where the land is dominated by Forest Ravens



Little Ravens tend to eat rather more vegetable matter than C. coronoides and to feed mainly on the ground, but is probably omnivorous to a similar extent to other Corvus species when opportunity arises.


Little Ravens often nest in a loose colony of up to fifteen pairs, with nests few meters apart. They have often been recorded as having several nests within the nesting territory of a single Australian Raven which, presumably due to different food preferences, does not seem to consider them a threat to its own food resources.

The nest is a thin cup of sticks with a layer of bark, grass and wool to create a thick mat. Nests are commonly low to the ground (under 10 meters), often in a forked branch in the outer canopy of a tree. Juveniles have brown colored eyes until their 3rd year, their eye color changes to white.


Its call is a harsh, guttural "kar-kar-kar-kar" or "ark-ark-ark-ark". They also do a quick upward flick of both wings with each note.

External Image Links


  • BirdLife International (2004). Corvus mellori. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 12 May 2006. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern
  • The Graham Pizzey & Frank Knight, Field Guide to the Birds of Australia