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Last updated: 07 February 2011

The common raven is the largest of the corvids or crow family indigenous to the UK, and a species well-known in the more mountainous areas of Wales.

In this clip Iolo Williams visits a raven roost in Newborough Forest on the island of Anglesey in North Wales. Ravens are incredibly intelligent birds and have more than 30 different calls to their repertoire.

Although rocky outcrops in hill country is the more common habitat of the raven, it sometimes makes its home in towns and cities. We even have a resident raven or two at BBC Wales here in Llandaff just outside Cardiff.

Wales also has the unusual but spectacular Newborough Forest site, where it is estimated that up to 2000 individuals once roosted in the early part of this century. The numbers have now fallen to about 800 but it is still the largest in the UK.

Its preferred food is a mixture of carrion, live mammals, birds and eggs but will take whatever it can get it's beak on and it's beak is perfectly adapted for tearing into the flesh of dead animals.

Although larger than crows and rooks and about the size of a buzzard, it is most definitely identified by its call, a deep croak.

Ravens have long had an association with man and the Tower of London is particularly well known for it's ravens. It was Charles II who demanded that the ravens be protected and they've remained there ever since.

Persecuted by farmers and game-keepers for much of the 20th century, raven populations declined steadily but are now increasing in Wales and much of the UK apart from Scotland.

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