They are definitely in that area. Aussies prefer wooded areas, Little prefer
open areas like farmland. Once you get up the hills east of Melbourne you get
--- Original Message ---
From: "Bill Stent" <>
Sent: 17 May 2015 1:57 PM
To: "Kev Lobotomi" <>, "Graeme Chapman"
Subject: Raven calls
Yes, I agree that they couldn't have been Forest Ravens.
I'm thinking they were in fact Aussies. It's just that I'm a little
surprised they occur there.
From: "Kev Lobotomi" <>
Sent: Sunday, May 17, 2015 1:51 PM
To: "Graeme Chapman" <>;
Subject: Raven calls
> Also there is no chance the birds could be forest ravens. This is way out
> of their range and the south gippsland birds do not wander that much. Kev
> --- Original Message ---
> From: "Graeme Chapman" <>
> Sent: 17 May 2015 1:26 PM
> Subject: [Birding-Aus] Raven calls
> Hello Bill,
> In my experience there is little variation in Australian Raven calls from
> place to place all over Australia, except for the SW of W.A. where they
> all sound distinctly different in pitch (Listen on my website under
> Western Raven.) However if you are talking repertoire, Australian Ravens
> have a call for almost every occasion. When they are chasing a raptor
> (such as on call LS100104 on my website) they sound almost hysterical
> whereas at rest (mild advertisement, at rest call) the calls almost
> suggest the mood. When I hear that hysterical call, I always look at the
> sky because I know there'll usually be a Wedgie or a Little Eagle up there
> or sometimes a smaller raptor. The raven-like calls you heard may have
> just been one you are not familiar with - for instance they have a quite
> distinctive travelling call when flying high overhead which may be a
> signal to the resident birds below that they are doing just that,
> travelling, and have no territorial intents.
> Little Ravens are a different story. Like Australian Ravens they do have a
> repertoire, perhaps less distinctive to our ears, but there are other
> variables. Birds from the interior are on average smaller than those from
> alpine areas and to my ear, the bigger alpine birds have deeper sounding
> calls . Little Ravens and Forest Ravens form a superspecies (that is they
> are very closely related) and Forest Ravens, which are even bigger again
> have even deeper calls. I like to think I've had more experience with our
> crows and ravens than most people these days (I studied them with CSIRO
> and Ian Rowley for nearly ten years) but I do admit that occasionally I
> hear a corvid call that makes me think, as you did at Chum Creek. The ones
> I have found most difficult were either from the Coorong/SE South
> Australia or from south Gippsland, where both Little and Forest Ravens
> occur together. Corvids vary a lot in size. Males are mostly bigger than
> females by about 10% but the birds we used to call runts (the youngest of
> a clutch of five that only survive in good seasons - normally they starve
> and fail to fledge) go through life as much smaller birds and probably
> sound like wimps as well!! I did handle a bird once which, on measurement
> was midway between Little Raven and Forest Raven and I wouldn't be
> surprised if one day somebody finds these two species as a mixed pair.
> As somebody has pointed out certainly both Australian and Little Ravens
> can occur at Chum Creek, and even Forest Raven would be a possibility -
> the Prom isn't that far away and corvids do wander.
> So you can see there are lots of variables and without hearing a recording
> of your birds at Chum Creek, we'll never know. One thing I do know is that
> Australian Ravens from Chum Creek will sound like Australian Ravens from
> anywhere else in the eastern states. I am not aware of any local dialects.
> That doesn't mean there aren't any - just that they are hard to discern.
> As with any other passerines, most of their repertoire is learnt and like
> the vowel sounds in humans, they would vary from place to place. If you
> really want to hear regional variation in an Australian bird, go listen to
> the Grey Butcherbirds.
> Graeme Chapman
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