Encyclopedia Article


The common raven is a large, heavy-billed black bird. Ravens are larger than crows and have more rugged plumage. Ravens are also the largest perching bird, and can have a wingspan of more than 4 feet. Ravens are very intelligent birds and are known to collect shiny objects. Ravens are scavengers, unlike crows, and are drawn to carrion. As a result, various cultures have associated them with death. Ravens are found in deserts, forests and mountainous areas around the world.

In Navajo teaching, a "two-faced" creature was responsible for both the creation of the world and for bringing death into that same world. Along with coyote, rattlesnake, and spider, raven is considered a "two-faced" creature.

Photo Credit: 

"Grand Canyon raven at Hopi Point, December 6, 2010" by Michael Quinn is licensed under CC BY.