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Ravens and crows have the unfortunate reputation of being carrion feeders, killers of young animals and destroyers of crops. People have hunted them since a very long time, trying to drive them back- unjust. Ravens and crows are easily the most intelligent birds besides parrots and are very interesting animals in general.

Description
For simplicity's sake, I'm just going to talk about the Corvus branch of the Corvidae family in this journal. Corvus includes all ravens, crows and jackdaws, but not jays or magpies (it would be too much to include all of them, especially since they're not uniform in appearance). Size-wise they range from larger than a blackbird to nearly hawk-sized. They're usually black, though various species might have white or gray patterns (other non-Corvus members of the raven family range from colorful (Bluejays!) to tit-like). Their nostrils are usually covered with feathers (rooks being among the few exceptions). The eye color is mostly dark brown, but might be blue too (jackdaws). They have strong legs and are good walkers, as well as skilled fliers.
They're part of the songbird family, but despite being talented voice imitators, their usual vocal range includes the typical hoarse cawing, hisses and screeches.

Diet
In short? Everything. Crows and ravens will eat anything they can get- insects, seeds, fruit, smaller vertebrate animals, other bird's eggs, carrion and human food. They're smart about it too, generally going for easy-to-reach meals instead of seeking for other. This is why they're known as gallows birds- eating carcasses is part of their diet, and that includes human carcasses as well, especially when they're easy to reach like hanging from gallows during medieval times. Feeding mainly on meat, during the year they can completely live off plants too with no ill effect.

Social Behavior
All members of the Corvidae family are highly social, and that is no exception for the Corvus branch either. Ravens and crows mate for life, and it is not unusual to find already adult offspring being around the nest and helping with the youngest siblings. During autumn and winter, the territories they established during the breeding season fall apart and the birds gather in larger flocks to travel into regions where food can be easier found. In spring, they return to their old territories and split off from each other, living just with their partner and possibly their latest offspring.
However, whether they live with just their partner or not, crows and ravens are capable of teamwork. Communicating with others through caws, they can effectively organize distractions to steal larger predator's food or lure larger predators to unearth carcasses they can't reach themselves. It's common for these birds to follow wolves and bears during the winter, showing them where to find carcasses only they can open up and share the food.

Intelligence
Ravens and crows are the most intelligent birds besides parrots, and despite claims going other ways, there's no difference between ravens and crows themselves. Mentally, it appears that their cognitive abilities and problem-solving easily beats primates and even humans.
Teamwork: Even untrained and wild birds can work together with no further instructions- in fact, during the filming of Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds, only a few crows had been trained to react to certain orders. Every other bird was wild and just followed along, because they were given food at the end of the day. Within a flock, each bird has its own role to play and they act on it without needing prompts from the others.
Trust: Ravens and crows rely on each other for protection and finding food. One common way to get food is to steal food from other animals. One bird distracts the animal, either by pulling the tail or throwing dirt, while the other seizes the chance and quickly snatches whatever they wanted to steal out of its range. After that, they share the prize- and they share it fairly. If any bird realizes that the other cheated them out of their work by taking more than their share, they will immediately lose trust and never work with that bird again.
Crow Scene Investigation: If crows and ravens find one dead bird, they will immediately try to find out what happened to it to prevent it from happening again. If they find half-eaten food nearby, chances are that the dead one had been poisoned, and the birds around will avoid this kind of food completely. They will also avoid areas where one of them had been shot- which means trying to exterminate crows is incredibly hard.
Teaching: Crows and ravens are excellent teachers. They not only teach their own offspring, but they also learn from each other. Through watching they can figure out puzzles they had been given, and parents teach their children what to do and what not. In fact, an experiment in 2006 at the University of Washington aimed at this particular ability: Volunteers around Doctor Heather Cornell used masks to scare and attack crows (non-lethally), while not treating them any different without mask. Within two weeks, sixty percent of all crows around identified the mask as a sign for attack and avoided them. More even, the next generation of crows reacted with similar care around the masks, even though they never had been attacked by mask-wearing humans themselves.
While doing this, it was also discovered that these birds were fully capable of understanding traffic rules: One bird figured out the length of a red light, and used this period of time to place nuts in front of the standing cars, waiting as long the traffic went on until the next red phase stopped them. Then it casually picked up the bits of nut opened this way. Within weeks, crows within a two-mile radius already displayed similar tactics.
Self-awareness: The mirror test had often been regarded as the evidence of self-awareness and self-recognition. The test itself is easy- a colorful patch is placed on an animal's body where it can't see it. Then it is presented a mirror- if the animal tries to remove the patch from its own body, it has clearly recognized itself. So far, only chimpanzees, orang-utans and the gorilla Koko have recognized themselves after some time, which was the proof for their higher intellect. Surprising it was, however, that elephants and crows did so too, and a lot faster than our own relatives. Unlike apes, they saw the mirror, immediately realized that these were themselves, and tried to remove the patch. This shows that ravens and crows have an higher level of intelligence and self-awareness not even humans have until the age of three or four.
Though, admittedly, the test itself might not be as strong in its statement as it seems- even sting rays behaved differently when being shown a mirror than they would usually behave.
Besides recognizing themselves, crows are able to put themselves in someone else's position- something not even chimpanzees can do. If they know they are being watched, they can immediately figure out what the other knows. For example- if they hide food, but are being watched, they know that the other knows the hiding place. So they wait nearby until the other is gone, then grab their hidden food and hide it somewhere else, tricking the other that way.
Hidden causes: Crows are able to figure out that something has a hidden cause. For example, New Caledonian crows realized that there was a connection between a moving stick and a human appearing from the brushes nearby. They realized that the human had moved the stick- without even seeing the human themselves.
Tools: The usage of tools is known in the animal kingdom. Monkeys use sticks to fish for ants, otters use stones to crack open urchins and clams. Crows use sticks and leaves to get food. And they use it far more skilled than even apes can do.
And more even, crows are known to build their own tools: In some cases, they tried to fish for insect larva hidden in trees. A long narrow stick would break too quickly, so these crafty birds made their own tools: using strips of leaves that was brought in a tapered shape. These leaves were stable enough so the bird could use it without breaking it, while also having a narrow end to get to the bug.
Example 1: A crow was presented a narrow glass tube with a bit of food at its end. Too narrow for it to get the food, and the stick it had was too short to reach. But the stick wasn't too short to reach a slightly longer stick- which was long enough to fish the food. This displays an unusal level of planning, and monkeys all failed this test.
Example 2: Another narrow tube, with water and the food floating on it. The bird couldn't reach, but it had been given stones. After a short moment, it figured out that the more stones it dropped into the water, the higher the water level rose, and with it the food. Interestingly, the bird picked the largest rocks with the highest water displacement to reduce work and get the treat fastest.
Payment: Something interesting that had been discovered in rural England: A young girl took to feeding the birds in the backyard, amongst them crows. In itself, this wasn't anything unusual- but it was unusual that the birds brought back small things as payment: colorful stones, snail shells, coins and earrings, even a key the girl lost.
Which meant that these birds were aware that they should be thankful to the human, and tried to repay her with whatever means necessary.
Playing: A lot of animals are said to 'play', but in most cases what seems like fun to us is training or low-key battles for superiority. Most young animals train their reflexes, and adults 'play' with each other to figure out their ranking. Only few animals seem to have no other purpose to playing than simply having fun: apes, dolphins, parrots and crows. There are reports of crows that took a piece of ice on a snowed-in roof and just sledded down. What for? Because it was fun.


Think about this the next time you see a bunch of crows. They're highly sociable and intelligent animals.

  • Listening to: Game OSTs
  • Reading: One Piece, various Webcomics, Agatha Christie
  • Watching: Cutscenes from Games, Cartoons
  • Playing: Skyrim, Sacred, Fallout NV, Prototype, Pharao
  • Eating: Anything that's on the table
  • Drinking: Peppermint Tea

deviantID

DragonlordRynn
Rynn
Germany
Current Residence: Home. Mostly in my sister's room at the large desk we share.
Favourite genre of music: Anything I like
Favourite style of art: Pencil+Paper, Corel Photopaint 12. Drawing People as Animals or Monsters mostly
Side Accounts: Fanfiction.net and Archieve of our own, both with the same name: DragonlordRynn
Interests

Activity


Eastern Dragon
I thought I'd try to design a Chinese Dragon a little bit more...unique to what we usually see around here. You see, a lot of legends are about these dragons growing from carps and living in the water. Doesn't sound like lizard material to me. 
So here you go! An Eel/Pike/Catfish/Leafy Sea Dragon Hybrid with carp scales!

These guys are usually found in fresh water- either slowly running rivers or, more common, deep lakes- or in saltwater bays near the coast.
They normally come in colors ranging from murky brown (lake-dwelling ones) to slate gray (most seawater specimens), though during mating season every few years their coloration becomes a lot more vibrant and eye-catching. They use their pectoral fins (directly at their heads) for inter-species communication and stabilizing the position in water. Their ventral fins are highly mobile and allows them to crawl over the ground (mostly the young ones which aren't long enough for serpentine motion) or further communication (adult ones). Their anal fin is split into two long stable fins with leafy growths. The dorsal fin is a long band going from their heads to the caudal fin. The older they are, the more tattered their fins look.
While usually found in water, Eastern Dragons can crawl across land for extended periods of time, though avoid sun and heat. They can breathe atmospheric oxygen, though dry out quickly. They are ambush hunters, using their coloration and tattered appearance to hide and wait until prey swims past. They eat anything they can fit in their mouths, and that means nearly anything in case of adult specimens- including members of their own species. As fish, they continue growing their entire lives and they can become very old, so it is not unusual for them to reach sizes larger than saltwater crocodiles.
Every three to seven years they turn extremely colorful and start jumping from the water to attract possible mates, as the bright colors cause biting inhibition (to protect themselves and their mates from being eaten). People who witnessed this believed that the dragons bring rain, since they only mate during rain season, and worshipped them (wearing brightly colored clothes no less).
Females lay only few eggs, which are encased in extremely tough shells (unusual for fish), which are flushed into the sea through the excess of rain water. In the sea, the young hatch and live the first time in the shallow water, until they migrate up the rivers to find an own territory. If they grow too large, they either look for a larger lake to live in, or wander back into the ocean to live there (explaining why fresh-water dragons are smaller than sea dragons).
Intelligence-wise, they are maybe shark level.

More Monsters:
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Ravens and crows have the unfortunate reputation of being carrion feeders, killers of young animals and destroyers of crops. People have hunted them since a very long time, trying to drive them back- unjust. Ravens and crows are easily the most intelligent birds besides parrots and are very interesting animals in general.

Description
For simplicity's sake, I'm just going to talk about the Corvus branch of the Corvidae family in this journal. Corvus includes all ravens, crows and jackdaws, but not jays or magpies (it would be too much to include all of them, especially since they're not uniform in appearance). Size-wise they range from larger than a blackbird to nearly hawk-sized. They're usually black, though various species might have white or gray patterns (other non-Corvus members of the raven family range from colorful (Bluejays!) to tit-like). Their nostrils are usually covered with feathers (rooks being among the few exceptions). The eye color is mostly dark brown, but might be blue too (jackdaws). They have strong legs and are good walkers, as well as skilled fliers.
They're part of the songbird family, but despite being talented voice imitators, their usual vocal range includes the typical hoarse cawing, hisses and screeches.

Diet
In short? Everything. Crows and ravens will eat anything they can get- insects, seeds, fruit, smaller vertebrate animals, other bird's eggs, carrion and human food. They're smart about it too, generally going for easy-to-reach meals instead of seeking for other. This is why they're known as gallows birds- eating carcasses is part of their diet, and that includes human carcasses as well, especially when they're easy to reach like hanging from gallows during medieval times. Feeding mainly on meat, during the year they can completely live off plants too with no ill effect.

Social Behavior
All members of the Corvidae family are highly social, and that is no exception for the Corvus branch either. Ravens and crows mate for life, and it is not unusual to find already adult offspring being around the nest and helping with the youngest siblings. During autumn and winter, the territories they established during the breeding season fall apart and the birds gather in larger flocks to travel into regions where food can be easier found. In spring, they return to their old territories and split off from each other, living just with their partner and possibly their latest offspring.
However, whether they live with just their partner or not, crows and ravens are capable of teamwork. Communicating with others through caws, they can effectively organize distractions to steal larger predator's food or lure larger predators to unearth carcasses they can't reach themselves. It's common for these birds to follow wolves and bears during the winter, showing them where to find carcasses only they can open up and share the food.

Intelligence
Ravens and crows are the most intelligent birds besides parrots, and despite claims going other ways, there's no difference between ravens and crows themselves. Mentally, it appears that their cognitive abilities and problem-solving easily beats primates and even humans.
Teamwork: Even untrained and wild birds can work together with no further instructions- in fact, during the filming of Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds, only a few crows had been trained to react to certain orders. Every other bird was wild and just followed along, because they were given food at the end of the day. Within a flock, each bird has its own role to play and they act on it without needing prompts from the others.
Trust: Ravens and crows rely on each other for protection and finding food. One common way to get food is to steal food from other animals. One bird distracts the animal, either by pulling the tail or throwing dirt, while the other seizes the chance and quickly snatches whatever they wanted to steal out of its range. After that, they share the prize- and they share it fairly. If any bird realizes that the other cheated them out of their work by taking more than their share, they will immediately lose trust and never work with that bird again.
Crow Scene Investigation: If crows and ravens find one dead bird, they will immediately try to find out what happened to it to prevent it from happening again. If they find half-eaten food nearby, chances are that the dead one had been poisoned, and the birds around will avoid this kind of food completely. They will also avoid areas where one of them had been shot- which means trying to exterminate crows is incredibly hard.
Teaching: Crows and ravens are excellent teachers. They not only teach their own offspring, but they also learn from each other. Through watching they can figure out puzzles they had been given, and parents teach their children what to do and what not. In fact, an experiment in 2006 at the University of Washington aimed at this particular ability: Volunteers around Doctor Heather Cornell used masks to scare and attack crows (non-lethally), while not treating them any different without mask. Within two weeks, sixty percent of all crows around identified the mask as a sign for attack and avoided them. More even, the next generation of crows reacted with similar care around the masks, even though they never had been attacked by mask-wearing humans themselves.
While doing this, it was also discovered that these birds were fully capable of understanding traffic rules: One bird figured out the length of a red light, and used this period of time to place nuts in front of the standing cars, waiting as long the traffic went on until the next red phase stopped them. Then it casually picked up the bits of nut opened this way. Within weeks, crows within a two-mile radius already displayed similar tactics.
Self-awareness: The mirror test had often been regarded as the evidence of self-awareness and self-recognition. The test itself is easy- a colorful patch is placed on an animal's body where it can't see it. Then it is presented a mirror- if the animal tries to remove the patch from its own body, it has clearly recognized itself. So far, only chimpanzees, orang-utans and the gorilla Koko have recognized themselves after some time, which was the proof for their higher intellect. Surprising it was, however, that elephants and crows did so too, and a lot faster than our own relatives. Unlike apes, they saw the mirror, immediately realized that these were themselves, and tried to remove the patch. This shows that ravens and crows have an higher level of intelligence and self-awareness not even humans have until the age of three or four.
Though, admittedly, the test itself might not be as strong in its statement as it seems- even sting rays behaved differently when being shown a mirror than they would usually behave.
Besides recognizing themselves, crows are able to put themselves in someone else's position- something not even chimpanzees can do. If they know they are being watched, they can immediately figure out what the other knows. For example- if they hide food, but are being watched, they know that the other knows the hiding place. So they wait nearby until the other is gone, then grab their hidden food and hide it somewhere else, tricking the other that way.
Hidden causes: Crows are able to figure out that something has a hidden cause. For example, New Caledonian crows realized that there was a connection between a moving stick and a human appearing from the brushes nearby. They realized that the human had moved the stick- without even seeing the human themselves.
Tools: The usage of tools is known in the animal kingdom. Monkeys use sticks to fish for ants, otters use stones to crack open urchins and clams. Crows use sticks and leaves to get food. And they use it far more skilled than even apes can do.
And more even, crows are known to build their own tools: In some cases, they tried to fish for insect larva hidden in trees. A long narrow stick would break too quickly, so these crafty birds made their own tools: using strips of leaves that was brought in a tapered shape. These leaves were stable enough so the bird could use it without breaking it, while also having a narrow end to get to the bug.
Example 1: A crow was presented a narrow glass tube with a bit of food at its end. Too narrow for it to get the food, and the stick it had was too short to reach. But the stick wasn't too short to reach a slightly longer stick- which was long enough to fish the food. This displays an unusal level of planning, and monkeys all failed this test.
Example 2: Another narrow tube, with water and the food floating on it. The bird couldn't reach, but it had been given stones. After a short moment, it figured out that the more stones it dropped into the water, the higher the water level rose, and with it the food. Interestingly, the bird picked the largest rocks with the highest water displacement to reduce work and get the treat fastest.
Payment: Something interesting that had been discovered in rural England: A young girl took to feeding the birds in the backyard, amongst them crows. In itself, this wasn't anything unusual- but it was unusual that the birds brought back small things as payment: colorful stones, snail shells, coins and earrings, even a key the girl lost.
Which meant that these birds were aware that they should be thankful to the human, and tried to repay her with whatever means necessary.
Playing: A lot of animals are said to 'play', but in most cases what seems like fun to us is training or low-key battles for superiority. Most young animals train their reflexes, and adults 'play' with each other to figure out their ranking. Only few animals seem to have no other purpose to playing than simply having fun: apes, dolphins, parrots and crows. There are reports of crows that took a piece of ice on a snowed-in roof and just sledded down. What for? Because it was fun.


Think about this the next time you see a bunch of crows. They're highly sociable and intelligent animals.

  • Listening to: Game OSTs
  • Reading: One Piece, various Webcomics, Agatha Christie
  • Watching: Cutscenes from Games, Cartoons
  • Playing: Skyrim, Sacred, Fallout NV, Prototype, Pharao
  • Eating: Anything that's on the table
  • Drinking: Peppermint Tea

Comments


Add a Comment:
 
:iconperfectchaos22:
PerfectChaos22 Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2018  Hobbyist Artist
Hey, i wanted to get your opinion on this skull for a fictional species of animal I made

www.deviantart.com/perfectchao…

To give a brief summary, basically its teeth are serrated and like a sawblade and rather than having teeth rooted in its mouth, they're held in place by muscles that expand and contract rapidy that vibrate the teeth rapidly as well as other muscles that move the teeth back and fourth

The idea is that, it evolved that kind of dental work to cut through the skin of animals that developed a thick hide that isn't easy to bite through, but in some cases, i can go right through the bones and hard tendons of prey

Basically it evolved a Turkey Carver in its mouth

You're pretty good with animal anatomy so I figured you might be able to give me advice
Reply
:icondragonlordrynn:
DragonlordRynn Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2018
Mhm. The skull itself says that it already has a very strong bite (short jaws, high forhead for muscles). And it is pretty useless to not have teeth anchored firmly in the skull. I'd think it would be better if the jaw was seperate (like a snake's skull) with all the parts being able to be moved on their own. In that way, it could hold on to its prey, while also cracking the hide by moving the parts in a saw-like motion back and forth.
Which means that its teeth should best be triangular with serrated edges.
Reply
:iconperfectchaos22:
PerfectChaos22 Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2018  Hobbyist Artist
OMG why didn't i think about Snakes

the animal the skull comes from is a descendent of Mustelids like Stoats, weasels like them are like furry little snake cats with legs XD

So, perhaps the bottom jaw would dehinge? and the muscles would pull the jaws back and fourth while the top jaw is going in a downward motion, digging and cutting into the flesh

and perhaps the neck jerks back in preparation to pull the flesh off and it also speeds up the process a bit

With this animal, its prey are basically rhino rabbits that look and act like Ground Sloths

It jumps on their back, cuts off a chunk of them and retreats and repreats the process every few hours til it gets full, so basically it has to be quick to prevent it from being attacked
Reply
:icondragonlordrynn:
DragonlordRynn Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2018
Mhm. For Hit and Run a sawing motion is a dumb choice. It takes too much time. I'd rather think it would be better for the little guy to take down its prey first before starting to eat.
Reply
(1 Reply)
:iconfrozenwhitenorth:
frozenwhitenorth Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2018  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks for the Llama!
Reply
:icondragonlordrynn:
DragonlordRynn Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2018
Give one, get one back :)
Reply
:iconperfectchaos22:
PerfectChaos22 Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2018  Hobbyist Artist
TFW you don't know which scenario is worse


goo.gl/images/YkGbfK
Reply
:iconfrozenwhitenorth:
frozenwhitenorth Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2018  Hobbyist Writer
Second is worse
Reply
:iconperfectchaos22:
PerfectChaos22 Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2018  Hobbyist Artist
Daddy Kratos....think I'm gonna be sick XD
Reply
:icondragonlordrynn:
DragonlordRynn Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2018
Both are equally sick. Kratos is the boy's father. Whether by blood or not is not important.
Reply
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