Crows and ravens belong to the bird family known as Corvidae, and all birds in this family are intelligent, sharp, and have excellent memory. The Corvidea family has 42 species which include nine species of raven.
Can Crows and Ravens Mate? Crows and ravens cannot mate, as they are different species and are not genetically compatible. Ravens can attack the crow eggs to get the nutrients. These two bird species do not get along and often attack each other food and nesting places.
People also confuse ravens with crows, as they look the same. However, they are different birds with their own features.
Why crows and ravens cannot mate?
They cannot mate with ravens because of many reasons.
Different species of the same family
They belong to the same bird family Corvidae with different species. They have varying genetics and gene distribution; therefore, they are not compatible for mating.
Two species need to share the same gene pole for mating, but ravens and crows are two different species outside the gene pole.
Biological compatibility is the first thing that matters when two species mate, but in the case of crows and ravens, they are not genetically or biologically compatible.
However, they can mate within the same specie because of the same gene pole and have sexual compatibility with the same specie compared to another species, no matter if they belong to the same family.
Do not have common ancestors
It is necessary for two birds to have common traits before they mate; otherwise, it can be difficult for these birds to mate and produce offspring.
One of the traits is to share a recent common ancestor, such as the crow and raven must have mated a few generations ago, which can create some chances for the two different species to reproduce.
However, they do not have any recent common ancestors, as the common ancestor on the polygenetic tree was 7 million years ago.
This causes almost impossible for these two different species to mate without sharing any common mating connection in the past.
Polygenetic trees of different animals and birds show the tree-like diagram of different species showing their common ancestry and the genetic similarities and differences. The polygenetic tree shows it is difficult for these birds to reproduce.
No other common traits to mate
They do not have any other common trail necessary for two different species to reproduce, such as they show competitive behavior towards each other.
They often consider each other as predators; therefore, they cannot mate unless they fall in love and conquer all the differences from their ancestors.
They show aggressive behavior when they see each other in their territory and do not like to cross paths. It is almost impossible for these two species to behave friendly and think about mating.
Raven can attack the young crows
Ravens are larger than crows and can attack young crows or eggs when they do not find other food sources. The crow eggs are rich in nutrients and protein, which is beneficial for the ravens, and they attack them to get these nutrients.
Therefore, they show aggression towards ravens, especially in the breeding season, when they try to enter the nest and steal the crow eggs to enjoy a high-nutrient meal. It is one of the significant reasons why they do not mate with ravens.
Do crows and ravens get along?
Crows and ravens do not get along, as they can attack each other for food, nest, and other resources. They take each other as predators and show aggressive behavior when ravens enter the crow nest or space.
Since both species belong to the same family, they like to eat the same food because they are omnivores. They can attack the ravens when these birds steal their food and try to run out of the place, but crows are intelligent creatures and fight with them to take their food back.
They cannot live in the same place and can never be friends. Crows are more aggressive than ravens and do not tolerate interruption and interference in food and nesting spots.
People often think these two species can get along well, as they have almost the same size, body color, and structure, but they do not want to meet and cross paths.
Crows attack ravens in small groups and threaten them to back off from their food and nesting spots. The myth of larger birds attacking and threatening the smaller ones is not true in the case of ravens and crows, as crows are the aggressors and try to dominate the ravens.
They can hold long-term grudges and do not forget to take revenge on other specie if they attack them. Therefore, according to studies and research, these two species cannot get along in the wild and urban areas.
Crows and ravens mating
One case of crows and ravens mating was reported in 1990, where these two species build nests and reproduce three babies in Canada.
The crow involved in the breeding was American Crow, and the three offspring with a size larger than crows and much like ravens.
The offspring are similar to ravens, as the beaks were shorter than crows, and the body fur was the same as the ravens, but their heads were like crows.
This was the rarest case of these two species mating and producing babies because no recent cases have been reported about their mating.
Do crows and ravens mate for life?
Both of these birds mate for life, as they do not mate with other females until the female specie die or cannot produce offspring.
Crows prefer to have only one mate at a time and share strong and long-term bonds with the mating partner. There are various benefits to having only one mate for a lifetime, such as different genetic benefits and raising the babies together.
The long-term mating partner is genetically more compatible with healthy babies. They can conveniently pass their genes to the next generation if they mate for life.
They share the responsibilities to build a nest, raise young babies, and provide the necessary food to the babies, which increases the survival chances of babies because both parents are involved in the upbringing.
However, it is not compulsory to mate for life because some crow species mate with other female crows to increase their genetic diversity, or if they live in areas with more predators, they mate and move from this place to save their life.
Ravens also mate for life because they are monogamous and share a strong bond with the mating fellow. They maintain a bond that lasts for life because it provides them with emotional support and protection.
What is the difference between crows and ravens?
They look the same, but there are many differences between these two species, such as the size difference. Crows are smaller in size, and ravens have shrug-like thicker feathers.
Crows have smaller and straight bills, while ravens have curved ad larger bills with some hair on the bill top. Ravens can have a size of approximately 25-27 inches, while crows can have a maximum size of 17-20 inches.
Ravens have a longer lifespan and can survive up to 25-30 years, but crows cannot live longer and survive only 7-8 years. However, the crows in captivity and suitable environment can last up to 15-20 years.
Moreover, both birds differ in their behavior, such as ravens are not very social and prefer to live in the wild, while crows are social birds and like to be around humans.