Only a few more days to enter our 19th Annual Photo Contest. Voting starts this Friday! You can submit your best images HERE

Yellow-beaked ravens?

Saint Maries, ID

In my area of the inland northwest, U.S.A., the Common Raven is prevalent. Nearly all that I've seen have the typical heavy black beaks. Occasionally, both I and my husband have seen what looks like a typical raven in every other feature, except the heavy beak is bright yellow. As far as I know, we have no other corvid species in our area with yellow beaks. Could this be a mutation, or did someone's pet Myna bird escape and become wild? Do Mynas even have yellow beaks?

I'm thinking maybe this is some exotic species that has been imported to this region or has escaped from a cage somewhere. We have rarely seen it, and there may be more than one -- but when we have spied it, that bright yellow beak stands out like a sore thumb.

Has anyone else living in the north Idaho panhandle seen this? I would like to know what it is.

Northumberland, United Kingdom(Zone 9a)

Maybe a mutant juvenile? They don't normally have yellow bills, but do have a bright orange inside to their bills when young.

Yes, some mynas (particularly the Hill Myna) do have yellow bills, but they are a lot smaller - less than a third of the size of a Raven, less than half the size of a Crow, so mistaking them for a Raven is very unlikely.


Saint Maries, ID

Hubby says he has thus far seen five of these yellow-billed ravens at our local dumpster, amid the flocks of typical black-beaked ravens that often assemble there. He didn't say whether or not he saw these birds with their beaks open, and on the ones I've seen flying overhead with bright yellow beaks looked like their bills were closed. It could well be that some juvies may have yellow on the outside of their beaks as well as inside -- but to see five seems unusual. Usually, mutations like that are much rarer.

I'm going to consult the bird library at Cornell University's Lab of Ornithology to see if there's any explanation. If I've seen ravens with prominent yellow beaks, so have others, and there may be records of it.

Crescent City North, CA

Was anyone able to get more information? A friend recently spotted one of these birds here on the northern California coast.

Hi. I was just talking with my girlfriend about Ravens and I mentioned that the ones in the area of my hometown, Libby Mt. have yellow beaks. She said she hadn't ever heard of a yellow beaked Raven so I tried to look them up to show her but have not had any success in finding any information on a yellow beaked Raven. I did find this forum however and I thought I would let you all know that they are also appearing in Mt. very close to the panhandle of Idaho and have been since at least the early 90s.

Richmond, TX

Have these birds been positively identified yet?

San Marcos, TX

My husband and I both saw what can only be described as a yellow-billed raven on May 1, 2017. It flew across the road on Interstate 10 in southwestern New Mexico at Mile 71. We are both fairly experienced birders, and we have seen lots of magpies, common ravens, and yellow-billed choughs. This bird was like a common raven in every respect (heavy head, spade-shaped tail in flight, size, etc., except that it had a bright yellow bill. Has anyone gotten an opinion from Cornell?

Saint Maries, ID

I think someone should report this to Cornell's Lab of Ornithology staff. They may or may not take it seriously, however, unless you can supply a photograph. They're big on insisting there be visual proof of unusual sightings like that.

I'm glad to know that hubby and I aren't the only ones who've seen yellow billed ravens. I think I recall seeing something about them in one of my numerous birding guides, but can't remember which book it was. None of my other bird books make any mention of it.

Saint Maries, ID

I've reported to Cornell's Lab of Ornithology that several people have seen these yellow billed ravens, but the lab hasn't responded. They used to answer my e-mails, but lately have been ignoring them. Such is the case with elitist institutions.

Saint Maries, ID

Have any of you taken pictures of the yellow-billed ravens you've seen? Can you post them here? Some people in the ebird community forum would like to see photos of them. I would like to provide them a link to same if any of you have pics to share here. I'm afraid neither hubby nor I had our cameras with us when we saw them.

San Francisco, CA

I have also seen ravens with clear, all yellow bills in the Pacific Northwest. Sadly, i never had a camera with a long lens when they appeared, and they tend to be shy.
I wonder if anyone has noticed whether they have yellow or black claws?
Here in California we have a variant of magpie with a yellow bill; perhaps this is a simple mutation in corvids...

This message was edited Dec 31, 2017 6:36 PM

Mount Airy, NC

I realize this thread is getting old but these are being seen in the North Carolina piedmont as well. I've searched everywhere trying to identify them and I am also getting nowhere. It's difficult to believe such an obviously widespread bird has yet to be positively identified.

Cape Canaveral, FL

I've never heard of Yellow-beaked ravens.

Draper, UT

I have a camera at my barn in NW Utah and captured this pic of a yellow-beaked red footed raven. Closest species I can find is a yellow-billed Chough found only in Europe. Attached is the image records 4-24-18.

Thumbnail by Matlinutah
Draper, UT

I believe I have ID the Bird from cornell U Bird ID app. A European Starling. But this one is nearly Black.

Thumbnail by Matlinutah Thumbnail by Matlinutah
Northumberland, United Kingdom(Zone 9a)

Yep, a Common Starling. Its closeness to the camera makes it look much larger than it is.


Saint Maries, ID

Starlings are too small to be the yellow-billed birds we saw. What we saw were the size of regular ravens, were ravens in every aspect, except they had yellow bills. They had the wedge-shaped tails of ravens. Unless there is some hybridizing going on between ravens and possibly yellow-billed magpies (California only), and these all black hybrids are spreading and breeding across the nation, I don't know what else they could be. Cornell hasn't answered my message about them. Strange. I've been a paid up Lab member for years!

Turners Falls, MA

I am pretty sure I saw a yellow beaked raven in Southern Vermont three days ago. NOT a starling!
Distinct raven shaped beak and in flight looking like the smaller eastern raven...except for the yellow! Seeking updates, pictures, more stories...

Post a Reply to this Thread

Please or sign up to post.