Baby ravens – despite our best hopes, not actually very cute at all…

Part 5 of the Spooky black birds of SoHo series, for my #AnimalMOOC Field Notes.

Today, a friend of mine sent me a link to a picture of a baby “raven”.  Although adorable, a raven it is not.

Adorable, but not a raven baby.

Adorable, but not a raven baby.

I knew this only because I’d seen this picture before, on this great corvid blog, which showed a couple of pictures of juvenile birds that are commonly mis-ID’d as baby ravens or crows.

From this blog, I learnt a key difference between baby corvids, and babies of the cute, fluffy variety for which they’d been mistaken.  The latter, cute fluffies are precocial baby birds – that is, they are born with feathers, able to walk about with their eyes open almost immediately, and able to find their own food – baby chickens and ducks fall into this category.

Baby ravens, on the other hand, are altricial, and are charmingly described by the Corvid Blog as “naked little jelly-bean monsters”.  They are born with their eyes closed, rely on their parents to feed them for up to a year, and when they finally leave  the nest, are as big or sometimes larger than the parents that reared them.  And they’re really not that traditionally aesthetically pleasing.

So the next time you see a cute little fluffy black bird all perky, bright-eyed and alert, know that while adorable it may be, a corvid it is not.

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