Blackbird vs Crow vs Raven: Five Main Differences Explained (2023 Updated)

Blackbirds, ravens, and crows are often confused as different terminology for the same bird. Their physical appearance is also quite similar, which further adds up to the confusion. However, a little knowledge about them can easily help us to differentiate between the three.

While Ravens and Crows fall under the same family, Corvidae, and the same genus, Corvus, they belong to different species. On the other hand, Black Bird belongs to the family Turdidae and the Genus Turdus.

Despite the stark physical similarities, there are a few significant differences as well. In this article, we are going to bring those out with a clear comparison between the three (Blackbird vs Crow vs Raven). So, without much ado, let’s jump on to it.

Comparison: Blackbird vs Crow vs Raven

Black Bird vs Crow vs Raven
Blackbird vs Crow vs Raven
Image Source | eBirds
Crow Raven Blackbird
Size A common crow generally comes in a size range of 38-45 cm. Ravens are much larger birds and come in a size range of 60-70 cm. Common blackbirds are relatively smaller birds in the size range of 28-35 cm.
Appearance Usually black, with certain sub-species having a lighter color in their neck region. These birds are all black, right from their beak to their feet. The common blackbird usually comes in a combination of glossy black, blue and shimmery green.
Habitat Urban, semi-urban areas, and rural areas. Forest and open areas. Usually found in gardens or broad-leaved coniferous forests.
Diet An omnivorous diet that consists of almost anything including smaller birds, insects, dead organisms or grains and fruits. These, too, are omnivorous, with their diet consisting of almost anything like smaller mammals, fledglings, or even from human landfills. Blackbirds, too, are omnivorous, with their diet consisting of smaller animals like lizards, invertebrates like snails, spiders, or sometimes even a plant-based diet.
Group behavior Group called a murder consists of 4 or more members. Ravens are too social birds and may appear in pairs, solitary, or also in small groups. Blackbirds aren’t as social as the rest and are highly territorial. At most, they may appear in pairs.
Lifespan On average, a crow may have a lifespan anywhere between 8 to 12 years. Ravens may have a lifespan between 11 to 15 years. Common Blackbirds generally have a lifespan between 3 to 4 years.

Key difference between Crows, Ravens, and Blackbirds

1) Appearance:

Crows have multiple subspecies that are spread throughout the entire world. The Indian sub-continent is mainly inhabited by the common house crow and the jungle crow.

While the former one is relatively smaller, with a grey-colored neck, the latter is much larger and dark black. The American counterpart is larger with dark black coloration, from the beak to the toe.

Ravens are quite larger. They, too, are pretty dark in color. Also, both crows and ravens exhibit iridescence, i.e., they show a shimmery blue or greenish tint under sunlight.

Their tails also show a difference, with the crow being fan-shaped while that of a raven is wedge-shaped. Also, a crow’s beak is shorter, and straighter, while that of a raven it’s larger, and curved characterized by a tuft of hair at the base.

Blackbirds come in multiple sub-species with quite a different coloration exclusive to that species. However, the talked-about bird here is the Common

Blackbird, which is black, with a yellowish-orange beak, while the females mostly show a brownish coloration. They are also relatively smaller in size than crows or ravens.

2) Habitat and Diet:

Crows inhabit places that are in close association with humans, like urban, semi-urban, or rural areas. Their diet primarily consists of weaker or smaller birds, dead animals, or human discarded edible materials. They can scavenge almost anything, thus earning them the name “sweeper birds.”

Black Birds vs Crows vs Ravens
Blackbirds vs Crows vs Ravens

Ravens are primarily found in forested, open areas or in the countryside, which are less human-intervened areas. They too forage on almost anything, including smaller mammals, birds, dead animals, or a plant-based diet like fruits or grains. They are mostly scavengers and show a less hunting nature.

Common blackbirds are found in gardens or forest floors, hopping around, pecking on insects, lizards, earthworms, or even berries, fruits, or seeds.

3) Group behavior:

Corvidae is a highly social family among the class Aves. The crows and ravens belonging to this family show heightened social behavior. Crows are usually found in groups of three or more.

The places where they roost at night have shown as many as 100000 crows simultaneously. Their social behavior is further highlighted when they are seen flocking around a dead member, cawing as a sign of mourning. They even pass on messages to other flock members concerning certain dangers.

Ravens, on the other hand, are less social than crows. They are found in smaller groups of two to four, or sometimes even solitary. To some extent, they exhibit social behavior, like crows cawing when one of them has been attacked or injured.

Blackbirds are the least social among the three. They show significantly less social interaction, are mostly found solitary and are highly territorial. Their territorial behavior is further highlighted during their breeding period.

4) Size & Life Span:

Let’s begin this section with Black Birds, which have the lowest lifespan and shortest size. On average, they can grow up to only 28-35 cm (total body length), which is comparatively smaller than many other birds. That’s why their lifespan is also between 3 to 4 years only.

Raven vs Crow vs Blackbird
Raven vs Crow vs Blackbird

On the other hand, a common crow can grow up to the size of 38-45 cm, which is slightly greater than the blackbirds but not much to stand above ravens.

Also, they can live between 8 to 12 years, depending on the habitat. In addition, crows and ravens are far more intelligent than Black Birds and can easily be trained.

Now, the only ones left are Ravens. They can grow up to 60-70 cm and live nearly 11 to 15 years longer than crows and blackbirds. In terms of strength, Ravens are also far superior to crows and blackbirds.

5) Call:

Another striking point of difference between the three birds is their calling sounds. The sound that a crow makes is called cawing. Their caw differs in loudness, pitch, frequency, and length, each serving its purpose of alerting each other from predators.

Ravens make a harsh gurgling croaking sound. A study has shown that they can make nearly 33 types of calls, each having its purpose. They are much louder than crows and are audible from a long distance.

Blackbirds produce a sound that is more song-like than a normal call. To put it in words, they create a sound like “chuk.” It’s a shrill, metallic whistle that has been described as quite conversational.

We are now ending our article here. We hope it has cleared all your confusion. So next time you see one among the three, you can easily identify it correctly. We will be bringing such informative articles in the future, so stay tuned for those.

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