The Raven: A Natural History in Britain and Ireland

The Raven: A Natural History in Britain and Ireland

by Derek Ratcliffe

Hardcover

$69.00

Overview

Well-known throughout the Northern Hemisphere, the Raven has a prominent place in myth, legend, and history. This book presents a thorough summary of the current state of knowledge regarding the Raven's natural history, describing its present distribution, habitat requirements, calls, feeding habits, social behavior, and population centers. The text focuses on the Raven's ecology in the United Kingdom, but is of interest worldwide to both amateurs and professionals. It contains useful comparisons of the Northern Hemisphere species. Brought to life through beautiful detailed illustrations, maps, and tables, this is a valuable study on one of the most spectacular and romantic of British birds.


Key Features:

  • Provides a rare glimpse into Raven ecology/biology in the U.K.
  • Features beautiful illustrations, along with useful maps and tables
  • Emphasizes the long association of the bird with humans
  • Contains current information on feeding habits, breeding, territorialism, intelligence, and distribution

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780856610905
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 05/20/1997
Series: Poyser Birds Series
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 6.41(w) x 9.53(h) x 0.85(d)

Table of Contents

Preface xv

Acknowledgements xix

Introduction: The Raven: spirit of the wilds 1

1. THE RAVEN IN HUMAN HISTORY 7

Prehistory 8

The Raven in myth and legend 9

From scavenger friend to predator-foe 16

2. THE RAVEN'S COUNTRY 27

Cliff coasts of the agricultural districts 30

Lowland farmland in the west 32

Foothills and marginal land 33

Sheepwalks of the higher hills 34

Grouse-moors of the eastern uplands 35

Deer forests of western and northern Scotland 36

Cliff coasts of the northern and western moorlands 37

3. DISTRIBUTION AND NUMBERS IN BRITAIN AND IRELAND 4O

South-east England 40

The Channel Isles 42

South-west England 42

East Anglia 46

Wales 47

Midlands 53

Northern England 55

Southern Scotland 60

Scottish Highlands 64

Scottish Islands 68

Ireland 71

Grand totals 74

4. FOOD AND FEEDING HABITS 75

Studies of food 78

The Raven as a predator 82

Other foods 89

Feeding habits 91

5. SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR 97

Territorialism 97

Flocking and communal roosts 101

Social behaviour in display 107

6. RAVEN MOVEMENTS 118

General movements 118

Daily movements 125

7. ASSOCIATIONS WITH OTHER ANIMALS 127

Birds 127

Mammals 138

8. BREEDING: NEST AND NEST SITE 139

Nest construction 140

Nest sites 144

9. BREEDING: THE EGG STAGE 16O

Prelaying behaviour 160

The egg 161

Clutch size 165

Laying 168

Incubation 171

1O. BREEDING: THE YOUNG 174

Nestling growth 175

Brood size 182

Breeding performance 188

Causes of complete breeding failure 189

Egg-collecting and its effects on breeding performance 189

Regional variations in productivity 191

11. TERRITORIAILISM AND POPULATION REGULATION 196

Surplus non-breeding populations 199

Rapid remating 200

The ceiling on numbers 202

Territorialism and variations in breeding density 204

Mechanism of territorial spacing 208

Limitations of unsuitable nesting habitat 210

Mortality, population turnover and capacity for spread 211

12. RAVENS IN THE MODERN SCENE 217

Gamekeepering 218

Afforestation 225

Changes in farming practice 232

Disturbance 236

Pesticides 238

Conclusions 240

13. RAVENS ELSEWHERE IN THE WORL~D 241

Subspecies of Corr~us corax 243

Other species of Raven 245

14. INTELLIGENCE IN RAVENS 249

Appendices

1. Distribution of Raven flocks and roosts in Britain and Ireland 256

2. Calls of the Raven 265

3. Appearance of the Raven 268

4. Scientific names of animal and plant species in the text 271

5. Names of the Raven 274

Bibliography 275 l40

Tables 1-27 284

Index 317 60

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