Aristophanes the Raven
UPDATE JANUARY 2023: Aristophanes the Raven, along with Ruby the Turkey Vulture, moved to the Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma Washington on 1/2/23. As we invest in the search and design for our new Wildlife Care Center and rebuild our Ambassador Animal program after the impacts of COVID, we felt it was in the best interests of these complex birds to move to a facility with greater resources and tailor-made enrichment opportunities. Read more about this difficult decision here.
- Hatched: Spring of 2008
- Arrived at Portland Audubon: May 2008
- Sex: Male
Aristophanes was illegally removed from the wild as a chick and was hand raised for three weeks. He was then taken by a relative of the person, and immediately brought to Portland Audubon. We have very limited information on where Aristophanes was originally found or why he was removed from the wild.
Unfortunately, Aristophanes was already completely imprinted onto humans by the time he arrived at Portland Audubon. An effort was made to reintroduce him to the wild by leaving him with adult ravens who had offspring of approximately the same age. The adults were willing to accept Aristophanes, but he kept returning back to the volunteers trying to release him.
About Common Ravens
Scientific name: Corvus corax
Common ravens are known for their intelligence and complex social dynamics. They seem capable of learning innovative solutions to newly encountered problems. Common ravens often forage in larger groups in areas where resources are concentrated, and non-breeding individuals may occupy communal roosts, but most commonly, ravens occur alone or in pairs.
The Common Raven nearly disappeared from the northeastern United States in the early part of the 20th century due to deforestation. Over the last century, populations have increased, albeit slower in the northeastern United States and Canada. Ravens bounced back fastest in in the Western US, where they have taken advantage of human-modified habitats.
- Habitat & Range: Common Ravens are one of the most widespread, naturally occurring birds worldwide. They are found in northern Europe, east through central Asia to the Pacific Ocean; south to the Himalayas in northwestern Africa and the Canary Islands, and in North and Central America. Common ravens prefer open landscapes, such as treeless tundra, seacoasts, open riverbanks, rocky cliffs, mountain forests, plains, deserts, and scrubby woodlands. However, these ravens can be found in most types of habitats except for rainforests.
- Songs & Calls: Ravens are considered among the most intelligent of all birds; like crows, they can learn to imitate a variety of sounds, including the human voice. In nature, their calls include guttural croaks, gurgling noises, and a sharp, metallic “tock.”
- Common ravens generally roost on cliff ledges or in large trees, but they have also established nests on power-lines, in urban areas, and on billboards, to name only a few.
- The raven is the largest of the passerines. It is distinguished from the crow by its harsh cry, size, and robust bill.
- Size & Shape: size 22-27″, wingspan 3.75-4.5′, weight 2.5-3.5 lbs. Large birds with long, broad wings.
- Expected lifespan: 15-20 years in wild; average 20-40 in captivity.
- Color: The raven has long, pointed wings with deep, glossy, black plumage. These feathers have a metallic shine of purple or violet that is noticeable in certain lighting conditions.
- Behavior: Every member of the family Corvidae is noisy and quarrelsome.These birds are extremely devoted to each other and their young. Ravens are usually found in family groups composed of the parents and their offspring. When the young are old enough to leave the nest and fend for themselves, they wander off. Their elders, however, remain together.
- Diet: Ravens are omnivorous, eating a variety of items including meat, fish, vegetation and fruit – and even carrion. They take their food from the ground and will store foods of all kinds, including nuts, bones, eggs and meat. Young ravens begin to experiment with caching edible and non-edible objects soon after leaving the nest.