Warrior, trickster, messenger, god: the raven is the best of all birds, Van Badham

Shut up and don’t argue; the Australian raven is the best of all birds, and should be bird of the year. Every year.

If you’ve ever seen one, your eyes already know these are magnificent creatures. They’re glossy black – plumage, beak, mouth and tongue – with feathers that shine purple, green or blue. The scientific name appended them by European naturalists, Corvus coronoides, translates, stunningly, to “crow shaped”, noting their resemblance to the carrion crow of Europe and West Asia.

Pah! to these paltry crows. Our raven is much bigger than its namesake – growing up to 53cm in length, its wingspan a metre, it’s almost as large at the northern hemisphere’s common raven. That’s big enough for the omnivorous Australian raven to kill a freakin’ rabbit, even – though less often – a lamb. If you’ve ever despaired at the damage wreaked on Australian wildlife by the pestilent, introduced rabbit, build a shrine in your home and offer tribute to our raven; this local hero’s fighting back.

Read the full paean at The Guardian website.

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