One is the most fearsome predator in the animal kingdom, the other is one of the world’s most intelligent birds.
One is nicknamed the “king of all birds” and sits at the very top of the food chain; the other is known to trap and kill prey twice its size.
If you placed your bets on the larger and more powerful creature with razor-sharp talons, you might be mistaken, as it is said that the tiny raven is the only bird that dares to peck an eagle.
So in an epic eagle vs raven duel, which bird has better odds of winning?
To determine the outcome of this fight, we will use the available information and analyze what would happen if a full-grown and healthy eagle was to clash with a full-grown healthy raven.
Since there are more than 60 eagle species in the world, we will be comparing USA’s most iconic bird, the bald eagle.
Before we start, who do you see winning this duel?
Comparing Eagles And Ravens
|Size||– Length: 28-40 in|
– Weight: 6.6-13.9 lb
– Wingspan: 90.5 in
|– Length: 21-26 in|
– Weight: 1.5-4.4 lb
– Wingspan: 45–51 in
|Speed And Movement||– 35-40 mph when flying|
– 75–99 mph when diving
|– 25-40 mph when flying|
|Grip Force||– 400 PSI||– n/a|
|Senses||– Excellent eyesight (5x better than humans)|
– Human-like hearing
|– Strong sense of sight|
– Acute hearing
– Decent sense of smell
|Defensive Powers||– Flying to escape|
– Great eyesight to spot danger from afar
|– Flying to escape|
– Excellent eyesight to spot danger from afar
– Group protection
|Offensive Powers||– Excellent diving speed (surprise attacks)|
– Large sharp beak
– Sharp claws (talons)
|– Flying at the enemy|
– Pecking (strong beaks)
|Aggression Levels||– Moderate||– Low to Moderate|
The 6 Key Factors In A Fight Between An Eagle And A Raven
Eagle Vs Raven – Size
American bald eagles are one of nature’s largest raptors. They can grow up to 3.3 ft in length and have a wingspan up to 7.5 ft.
One of the heaviest ever recorded bald eagles was from New York which weighed 18 pounds when caught.
Common ravens are one of the largest raven species and one of the heaviest of all passerines (perching birds). Adult ravens measure from 21 to 26 inches in length, have a wingspan of 4.25 ft, and weigh from 1.5 to 4.4 pounds.
When comparing sizes, the eagle has a huge advantage over a raven, as it is a lot bigger and heavier bird.
Eagle Vs Raven – Speed, Movement, And Agility
With their huge wings and powerful wing beats, eagles can reach speeds of 35-43 mph with sudden bursts of up to 75 mph. They are excellent fliers and have top diving speeds between 75–99 mph. Bald eagles can even swim.
Ravens have long pointed wings to fly fast and maneuver rapidly while in the air; similar to eagles that can also soar (use thermals to cross big distances without spending too much energy). Although fast fliers, the ravens aren’t really the champions.
According to a 2016 study tracking ravens in the Eastern Alps, the fastest recorded raven speed was 25 mph. With human training, ravens can fly faster and reach top speeds of 48 mph.
Due to its smaller size, a raven might be more maneuverable in flight, which can be helpful. Still, when it comes to sheer top speed, an eagle has an advantage over a raven.
Eagle Vs Raven – Senses
Bald eagles’ strongest sense is their eyesight. These birds have about 5 times better eyesight than humans which allows them to spot carrion and prey from miles away. They also have human-like hearing and a poor sense of smell.
Ravens have an acute sense of sight and hearing. Some studies have shown that ravens also have a decent sense of smell, but their main is definitely the eyesight.
It is hard to compare the two birds because there is not enough scientific research available on all raven senses – we would argue that eagles have a slight advantage in this regard.
Eagle Vs Raven – Bite and Grip Force
Eagles have long, curved, and heavy beaks they use to tear flesh and inflict wounds. They also have 4 two-inch-long talons on each leg to grab and kill their prey – those talons can grow more prominent than a human’s hand.
The bald eagle’s grip strength is around 400 PSI (pounds per square inch) which is 10 times stronger than the average gripping strength of a human hand. The power of an eagle’s grip comes from its strong leg muscles, tendons, and bones.
Ravens have big and curved beaks that measure from 2.2 to 3.3 inches long – those are one of the largest bills among passerines. There isn’t any available information on their grip strength, but it’s safe to assume that their tiny feet can’t produce nearly as much force as those of eagles can.
An eagle has an advantage over a raven when it comes to strength.
Eagle Vs Raven – Defensive Powers
Thanks to their well-developed eyesight, bald eagles can spot danger from miles away. Since they are excellent at flying, eagles can also evade danger. They will release loud calls to warn others and even use their incredibly strong feet and sharp claws (talons) for defense.
Ravens possess sharp eyesight and hearing which helps them see an incoming enemy and react. To keep predators away from their nests, eggs, and hatchlings, ravens will work together as a group and drive away attackers without sustaining any injuries. They are very intelligent and highly aggressive when defending their young.
They will sit high in the trees, scan the horizon, and keep watch on intruding raptors – ravens can instantly recognize an eagle that is miles away and react accordingly.
As groups of ravens can be very successful at driving away (usually solitary) eagles – it is tied between the two in this category.
Eagle Vs Raven – Combat Skills
Like all raptors, bald eagles kill their prey with their talons. When attacking, bald eagles will swoop down with their feet extended and razor-sharp talons out. Three on the front and one on the back (called the hallux) all face forward.
These birds are considered maneuverable in flight, catching up to and then swooping under other birds in flight, turning over and thrusting their talons into the other bird’s flesh.
Eagles are apex predators, they sit at the top of the food chain, and nothing hunts or eats them – they are the ones that have been hunting and killing for millions of years.
Ravens can be very vigorous when defending their nests from intruders and are very successful at driving off predators. They attack by flying at the enemy and lunging with their large bills. They are a tough nut to crack and that’s why lots of predators tend to avoid them.
Ravens will often come behind eagles and peck them from behind, especially if they see an eagle around a meal.
Check this video of a raven successfully harassing a bald eagle and driving it away before feasting on the meal it left.
Ravens are also scavengers and predators feeding on everything from small mammals to nesting birds and eggs, but an eagle will have a clear advantage when it comes to combat skills.
|Speed and Agility||✔||✘|
Who Would Win In A Fight Between An Eagle And A Raven?
An eagle would beat a raven in a fight. It has an advantage over a raven when it comes to size, speed, strength, and predatory instincts.
An eagle is two times larger and three times heavier than a raven – scientists have also found a few raven records in nests of bald and golden eagles (it was unsure whether they were adult or young birds).
This means that eagles might occasionally hunt and kill ravens.
Eagles also have 2-inches long talons that are significantly longer than those of ravens – it would be like bringing a knife to a swordfight.
On the other hand, ravens can hold their own against eagles, vultures, condors, falcons, and hawks, although more through strength in numbers than through individual ability.
Their only chance against an eagle would be if a group of ravens harassed and wore down a lone predator – this often happens in nature and there have been many recorded instances of groups of ravens dive-bombing and pecking larger predators to drive them away.
If alone, a raven would probably try to outsmart an eagle and if it can’t do that, the bird just calls out for his gang to help.
Still, the eagle’s claws and predatory instinct mean that the bird could and would tear a raven to shreds in seconds.
Ravens are potentially hazardous prey for eagles, so these raptors usually take them by surprise and mostly attack their fledglings.