Chihuahuan Raven (Corvus cryptoleucus)

Chihuahuan Raven

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Corvidae | [latin] Corvus cryptoleucus | [UK] Chihuahuan Raven | [FR] Corbeau a cou blanc | [DE] Weisshals-Rabe | [ES] Cuervo Llanero | [NL] Woestijnraaf


Monotypic species

Physical charateristics

Near the size of the American Crow; a small raven of the arid plains. Flies with the typical flat-winged glide of a raven; has a somewhat wedge-shaped tail. White feather bases on the neck and breast sometimes show when the feathers are ruffled by the win
d, hence the former name “White-necked Raven.”

Listen to the sound of Chihuahuan Raven

[audio: Raven.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 108 cm wingspan max.: 116 cm
size min.: 44 cm size max.: 51 cm
incubation min.: 18 days incubation max.: 21 days
fledging min.: 28 days fledging max.: 31 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 5  
      eggs max.: 7  


North America, Middle America : Southwest USA to North Mexico. Winters in western and central Mexico; year round in northeast Mexico. In United States, resident in southeastern Arizona, southern New Mexico, and western Texas. Summers north to southwestern Kansas and southeastern Colorado. Some individuals stay in northern part of range. Winters locally in east-central New Mexico.


Arid and semi-arid grassland, scrub, yucca flats. Mostly a bird of dry grasslands. Generally avoids both wooded areas and t
rue deserts, but occurs in brushy country in the lowlands. In the Southwest, Common Raven lives in both drier areas (extreme deserts of lowlands) and wetter areas (mountain forests) than the Chihuahuan Raven, but is seldom in the grasslands.


Sometimes nests in loose colonies where good nesting sites are concentrated. In some areas, breeds mostly in summer, perhaps to take advantage of better food supply after summer rains begin.
Nest: Site is in tree, shrub, or large yucca, or on utility pole; sometimes on buildings, towers, other artificial supports. Height varies, 5-
40′ above the ground. Nest (thought to be built by female) is a bulky mass of sticks and thorny twigs, lined with grass, bark fibers, animal hair. Sometimes works in debris such as rags, paper, barbed wire.
Eggs: 5-6, sometimes 3-8. Pale olive to gray-green, blotched with brown and lavender. Incubation is thought to be by both parents, about 18-21 days.
Young: Both parents bring food for nestlings. Young leave nest about a month after hatching.

Feeding habits

Diet is highly varied, but mostly animal matter, including large insects, spiders, earthworms, snails, rodents, lizards, and eggs and young of other birds. Often eats carrion and garbage. Also feeds on grain, seeds, berries, and fruits, inclu
ding cactus fruit.
Behavior: Mostly forages on ground, sometimes above ground in shrubs or cactus. Except during nesting season, usually forages in flocks. Often gathers at garbage dumps, and may patrol along highways looking for road kills.


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Chihuahuan Raven status Least Concern


Southwestern United States to central Mexico.
b Migration: Mostly permanent resident. Some may withdraw in fall from northern part of range, but status in this area is poorly known. Flocks move around in winter, gathering in good feeding areas.

Distribution map

Chihuahuan Raven distribution range map

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