Family Crows and Jays (Corvidae)

Least Concern

Chihuahuan Raven (Corvus cryptoleucus)


French: Corbeau à cou blanc German: Mexikorabe Spanish: Cuervo llanero

Corvus cryptoleucus


, 1854,

Charco Escondido, Tamaulipas, Mexico


Multiple analyses of mtDNA suggest that present species is sister to the “California clade” of C. corax, these taxa differing by only 1.75% (all mtDNA) to 1.8% (cytochrome b only), indicating that they diverged between 1.1 and 0.6 million years ago (well after the two main clades of C. corax diverged); this suggests that ancestor of present species may have been C. corax of “California clade” that became isolated in SW North America c. 1 million years ago. Monotypic.


SW USA in SE Colorado and from SE Arizona, S & E New Mexico and S Kansas S to W Oklahoma and W & S Texas and in N Mexico S to NW & NC Sonora, NE Jalisco, Guanajuato, NW Hidalgo, Nuevo León and C Tamaulipas. Winters throughout breeding range and also in NW & C Mexico (NW coast, and S to Guadalajara and Michoacán).

Descriptive notes

46–53 cm; 380–670 g. A moderately sized raven intermediate in many respects between C. corax and C. brachyrhyn­chos, with long wings,... read more


Not well studied. Primary call a loud, harsh "kr-a-a-a-a", higher-pitched than "... read more


In N of range, found in short-grass prairie where power poles, windmills and buildings provide nest... read more

Food and feeding

Omnivore. Diet consists primarily of large insects, especially grasshoppers (Orthoptera), beetles (Coleoptera), Lepidoptera and bugs (... read more


Nest-building Apr in N of range, earlier in Mexico, laying mid-Apr (typically May) to late Jun. Nests slightly aggregated, often in clumps... read more


Relatively sedentary during breeding season. Dispersal poorly known, but early ringing studies in... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Status little known in Mexico; in USA, fairly common, and populations appear to be stable or slightly declining; exact breeding range imprecisely... read more

Recommended citation

Marzluff, J. (2019). Chihuahuan Raven (Corvus cryptoleucus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 13 December 2019).