Apparent display behaviour of Australian Ravens

To: 'COG List' <>
Subject: Apparent display behaviour of Australian Ravens
From: Philip Veerman <>
Date: Mon, 14 Aug 2017 05:08:59 +0000

The description sounds a lot like what is done by many bird species (I suspect mostly passerines) as a copulation invitation. But some birds also do it as a feeding invitation. It could be a bit of both. I recall Zimmerman’s book on Aust finches making the point that Aust finches are unusual in that they rapidly quiver their tail vertically. Just maybe HANZAB doesn’t mention everything for every species.


From: Martin Butterfield [
Sent: Monday, 14 August, 2017 6:20 AM
To: Dr David Rosalky
Cc: COG List
Subject: Re: [canberrabirds] Apparent display behaviour of Australian Ravens


I have seen Pied Currawongs doing the quivery wing behaviour but it hasn't always been followed by copulation.  At times it has occurred while there were still chicks in a nearby nest (but no second brood resulted).


I've never seen Ravens behaving like this.  However the HANZAB  account for Little Raven includes reference to wing quivering prior to copulation.  That also mentions providing sticks as a nuptial gift rather than food.  So possibly Australian Ravens have the same behaviour or you had a less common visitor!






On 13 August 2017 at 22:09, Dr David Rosalky <> wrote:

I observed a pair of A. Ravens performing what looked to me like a mating display but I can find no such reference in the ample notes contained in HANZAB.


Both birds had white eyes, so I believe that they were both mature birds.  The birds were both on the ground (in fact in the middle of the road).  One bird fed the other placing food in the other’s bill.  The recipient of the food lowered its body and quivered outstretched wings.  Neither bird made any calls or other sounds that I could discern.  This went on for about 30 seconds after which the birds separated and carried on with foraging along the edge of the road.


I can’t think what other behaviour this might have indicated.  I once saw P. Currawongs doing something similar, in that the female bird lowered its body and quivered its wings.  But this led immediately to the male joining the female and copulation ensued.


Any ideas what the behaviour might have been?


David Rosalky


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