The Raven is one of several larger-bodied members of the genus Corvus—but in Europe and North America the Common Raven is normally implied. They have black plumage and large beaks.
There are many references to ravens in legends and literature. Most of these refer to the widespread common raven. Because of its black plumage, croaking call, and diet of carrion, the raven has long been considered a bird of ill omen and of interest to creators of myths and legends.
It is the official bird of the Yukon and of the city of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories.
French anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss proposed a structuralist theory that suggests the raven (like the coyote) obtained mythic status because it was a mediator animal between life and death. As a carrion bird, ravens became associated with the dead and with lost souls. In Sweden they are known as the ghosts of murdered persons.
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