Raven calls

To: Graeme Chapman <>
Subject: Raven calls
From: Kev Lobotomi <>
Date: Sun, 17 May 2015 16:43:38 +1000
Hi Graeme
The habitat preference statement wasn't directed at you, it was a general 
statement for those following this thread. In Victoria Forest Ravens occur in 
isolated populations. They are rarely seen away from those populations (except 
perhaps in the west, but we're not talking about a bird from this area). It is 
known that there is a population in the lakes Entrance area. They are not known 
to be anywhere near Chum Creek, so any record there should be highly 
scrutinised and would be a significant record, as they are not known anywhere 
near Melbourne or Healesville.

--- Original Message ---

From: "Graeme Chapman" <>
Sent: 17 May 2015 2:20 PM
To: "Kev Lobotomi" <>
Subject: Raven calls

Hello Kev,

Clearly you haven't got much of an ear for calls. It has been said that SW Aust 
ravens quack like ducks by some people although I find that a bit extreme. It 
is well-known fact that they sound different.

As for Forest Ravens not occurring near Chum Creek, I did say that was only a 
possibility and it is. Young corvids of all descriptions wander widely. I have 
just photographed one at Lakes Entrance which is further as the crow flies from 
the Prom than Chum Creek.

Graeme Chapman

On 17/05/2015, at 1:49 PM, Kev Lobotomi wrote:

> Hi Graeme
> I had a good listen to sw WA Aussie Ravens and they sound exactly the same as 
> eastern birds to me. Kev
> --- Original Message ---
> From: "Graeme Chapman" <>
> Sent: 17 May 2015 1:26 PM
> To: 
> Cc: 
> 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.
> Regards
> Graeme Chapman
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