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Chihuahuan Raven - BirdForum Opus

Alternative names: White-necked Raven; American White-necked Raven

Note long nasal bristles
Photo by Poppy4/3
south-east Arizona, USA, November 2014
Corvus cryptoleucus


Length: 48-53cm (19-21"), Wingspan: 112cm (44"), Weight: 530 g (1.2 lb).

  • Black plumage with purple blue gloss
  • Long rictal bristles
  • White-based neck feathers
  • Dark brown iris
  • Stout black bill, black legs and feet

Sexes similar, juveniles duller than adults.

Similar species

Smaller than Common Raven which has grey-based neck feathers and a more wedge-shaped tail. The bristles on the upper mandible covers at least 60% of that mandible on Chihuahuan Raven while they cover at most 50% of the mandible on Common Raven. But see the Essay in the references.


Group of 3 Chihuahuan Ravens
Photo: Lisa W
Hereford, Arizona, USA; 19 April 2008

Southwest states of the USA to central Mexico; in USA in southern Arizona, southern and eastern New Mexico, western Texas, westernmost Oklahoma, southeastern Colorado and southwestern Kansas. Fairly common in dry habitats.


This is a monotypic species[1].
DNA analyses have shown that this species is closely related to the Californian clade of Common Raven and has been isolated from them ca. 1 million years ago.


Arid grasslands, plains, and desert grassland.
Found from sea-level up to 2400m.



The diet includes grains, insects, invertebrates, small reptiles, carrion, cactus fruits, eggs and nestlings. Often forages in flocks of up to 200 birds.


Breeding season April to June. Their nest is built from twigs, placed either in trees or large shrubs; 5-7 eggs are laid. Movements poorly known but mainly sedentary.


Call: a loud, harsh quark, quark.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2014. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: Version 6.9., with updates to August 2014. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Del Hoyo, J, A Elliott, and D Christie, eds. 2009. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 14: Bush-shrikes to Old World Sparrows. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8496553507
  3. Essay by Tony Leukering describing identification challenges with this species relative to the Common Raven

Recommended Citation

External Links