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Corvus moriorum

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Title: Corvus moriorum  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Raven
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Corvus moriorum

Chatham Raven
Two skulls, from lateral (top) and ventral (bottom)
Specimen numbers undetermined
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Corvidae
Genus: Corvus
Species: C. moriorum
Binomial name
Corvus moriorum
(Forbes, 1892)

The Chatham Raven was a large songbird native to the Chatham Islands (New Zealand). Another closely related raven occurred on the North Island and South Island of New Zealand, namely the New Zealand Raven, C. antipodum. This was formerly included in C. moriorum, but is considered a distinct species today.

A reconstruction of the species is in the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, specimen MNZ S.036749.[1]

Description and ecology

The Chatham Raven was significantly larger than the New Zealand Raven, and probably the world's fourth- or fifth-largest passerine. They had long, broad bills that were not as arched as those of some of the Hawaiian Crows (C. hawaiiensis). Presumably, they were black all over like all their close relatives. There do not seem to be recorded oral traditions of this species – most of the Moriori people, after whom this species was named, were eventually killed or enslaved by Māori explorers, and little of their natural history knowledge has been preserved. Thus, it cannot be completely ruled out that like some congeners they had partially white or grey plumage (see also Pied Raven).

Remains of Chatham Ravens are most common in coastal sites on the Chatham Islands. On the coast, it may have frequented the seal and penguin colonies or fed in the intertidal zone, as does the Tasmanian Forest Raven (C. tasmanicus). It may also have depended on fruit, like the New Caledonian Crow (C. moneduloides), but it is difficult to understand why a fruit eater would have been most common in coastal forest and shrubland when fruit was distributed throughout the forest.

See also


  • Gill, B. J. 2003. Osteometry and systematics of the extinct New Zealand ravens (Aves: Corvidae: Corvus). Journal of Systematic Palaeontology 1: 43-58.
  • Worthy, T.H., Holdaway R.N., 2002, The lost world of the Moa: Prehistoric Life of New Zealand, Indiana University Press, Bloomington. ISBN 0-253-34034-9.

External links

  • The Extinction Website
  • by Paul Martinson. Artwork produced for the book Extinct Birds of New Zealand, by Alan Tennyson, Te Papa Press, Wellington, 2006
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