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The common raven (Corvus corax) is a magnificent bird; bigger than a buzzard, it is the largest passerine (perching) bird in Europe, and is deeply embedded in mythology. The glossy plumage is entirely black with greenish and lilac sheens. The large bill is very thick and heavy looking, the wings are narrow, and the tail is wedge-shaped. The sexes are similar in appearance, but females are somewhat smaller than males. Juveniles are duller than adults, and have a variable amount of brown in the plumage. A variety of vocalisations are produced, including a 'korrp' call and a 'krack-krack-krack' of alarm. In spring and during courtship, a range of unusual sounds can be heard such as clucks, a 'klong' and pops. Male and female common ravens pair for life and lay up to six blue-green eggs per clutch. In England, ravens are kept at Tower of London. Legend has it that if the ravens leave, both the tower and the monarchy will fall. Although carrion forms a large part of their diet, ravens are also proficient hunters.



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