Family Crows and Jays (Corvidae)

Least Concern

Fan-tailed Raven (Corvus rhipidurus)


French: Corbeau à queue courte German: Borstenrabe Spanish: Cuervo colicorto

Corvus rhipidurus

E. J. O. Hartert

, 1918,

Massaua, Eritrea


Sometimes separated in monospecific Rhinocorax. Certain morphological features, notably nasal bristles and wing and tail shapes, indicate affinity with African ravens rather than N ones. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. r. stanleyi Roselaar, 1993 – E Israel, Palestine, W Jordan, S Sinai, and mountains of W & C Arabia (Hejaz and Asir Mts; Tuwaiq escarpment, Gebel Aja and Babel Sama) E into extreme W Oman.
  • C. r. rhipidurus E. J. O. Hartert, 1918 – E Mali (Adrar des Ipras and Homberi), Niger (Aïr Massif and Zinder), Chad (Tibesti and Kapka Mts and elsewhere), NE Central African Republic E to highlands of Sudan (including Gebel Elba, on Egyptian border), most of Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti and W & N Somalia, and S to E Uganda and N & W Kenya.
  • Descriptive notes

    46–47 cm; 512–734 g. An unmistakable crow-sized raven, wings projecting well beyond remarkably short tail (rounded at tip) when perched or on ground, relatively... read more


    Typical call a far-carrying, rather high-pitched "craa-craa" or a downslurred "krroo... read more


    Barren desert cliffs, gorges and canyons, from well below sea-level (Dead Sea) to 2400 m, rarely to... read more

    Food and feeding

    Omnivorous. Eats grain, berries, dates, insects and other invertebrates; occasionally robs nests of other birds, taking both eggs and... read more


    Most data from Middle East, especially Israel. Eggs reported early Mar to late Apr in Israel, Dec–Jun (most mid-Feb to May) in Saudi... read more


    Mainly sedentary. In winter at N limit of range in Israel and Jordan, dispersal S down Arava Valley... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Locally common, even locally abundant (e.g. in Arabian Peninsula). Population in Israel estimated at 300 pairs, centred on cliffs and wadis flanking... read more

    Recommended citation

    Madge, S. (2019). Fan-tailed Raven (Corvus rhipidurus). 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 16 December 2019).