The raven is sometimes known as "the wolf-bird." Ravens, like many other animals, scavenge at wolf kills, but there's more to it than that.

 Both wolves and ravens have the ability to form social attachments and they seem to have evolved over many years to form these attachments with each other, to both species' benefit.

There are a couple of theories as to why wolves and ravens end up at the same carcasses. One is that because ravens can fly, they are better at finding carcasses than wolves are. But they can't get to the food once they get there, because they can't open up the carcass. So they'll make a lot of noise, and then wolves will come and use their sharp teeth and strong jaws to make the food accessible not just to themselves, but also to the ravens.

Ravens have also been observed circling a sick elk or moose and calling out, possibly alerting wolves to an easy kill. The other theory is that ravens respond to the howls of wolves preparing to hunt (and, for that matter, to human hunters shooting guns). They find out where the wolves are going and following. Both theories may be correct.

Wolves and ravens also play. A raven will sneak up behind a wolf and yank its tail and the wolf will play back. Ravens sometimes respond to wolf howls with calls of their own, resulting in a concert of howls and calls.

Sources: Mind of the Raven, Bernd Heinrich, The American Crow and the Common Raven, Lawrence Kilham

Photo: Bob Whitney

Wolves and Ravens – Rainforest wolves can successfully catch over 200 salmon in a single evening of fishing. (Photo: Wolves and Ravens © Ian McAllister)
VIDEO Raven: "The Wolf-Bird"

Responses to "Wolves and Ravens: A Curious Relationship (Video)"

  1. Unknown says:

    Wonderful and magical.... 2 of my favorite beings...

  2. Anonymous says:


  3. Anonymous says:

    Yet mankind calls the wolf a monster - we could learn much from the wolf

  4. Anonymous says:

    I love wolves. Such beautiful creatures. And very loyal.

  5. Tamsin says:

    I Love the first picture above whith the wolf just waiting to challenge the raven with a playful pounce.

  6. jo Parker says:

    I am very connected to the raven so thank you for this piece of they're connection to the wolf..

  7. KIm says:

    Ravens & Crows are highly social, so I guess I'm not surprised they might form some sort of relationship with wolves, that benefit them both! All three are amazing creatures as are all the creatures of out Mother Earth.

  8. sueathome says:

    Thank you for giving us a glimmer into the secret lives of animals. Always said that animals were smarter than humans.

  9. The wonderous benefits of a co-operative spirit.

  10. Cj says:

    Such playful photos - docile and wise!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Well this is good to know since I love both these spirits...and now to know they walk together is loving knowledge. Thank you..

  12. Wolf and Raven medicine is strong and beautiful. The relationship between the two is something rare in the animal kingdom. The four-legged and flying creatures can work together, wish we saw more of that in the human community. I love these photos and your article. Thank you!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for these beautiful pictures and the informative text. These are my two favourite beings and it seems only natural that they help each other, very intelligent animals who have a lot to teach us humans.Physically as well as spiritually. This really made me happy.

    Love, Altea

  14. Anonymous says:

    The sick Elk tells the alert Raven it's time has come, so the Raven tells the Wolve to end it's suffering. And they all benefit!! Crazy shit that humans often choose the otherway to benefit for just their own....

  15. Anonymous says:

    Anii Iam from the Raven Clan and the wolve is my helper/guide and my spirit is the eagel!!!! one of my children is wolve/wolve which is so true. These two beautiful cretures are so wonderful to watch and learn from. Migwetch really enjoyed all the info :=)

  16. Wow! This is quite interesting!

  17. This is beautiful. I am a Raven...I not only love wolves, I love all animals.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Have always loved the the animal kingdom, *Blessed* are they all, Love the photos of Wolf & Raven ~ Strong kinship ~ Strong totems <3 Thank you White Wolf, With much Respect, CH

  19. Anonymous says:

    I have had the great privlege of watching this interaction. The ravens actually played with my wolf by teasing him and getting him to run in a giant circle of the drive way several times. It is a game they repeat several times a week. And there is no question their connection goes back many many generations

  20. Both are very intelligent creatures and deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. I can't understand the attitude this country shows towards wolves. I find it very disturbing!

  21. Morgana says:

    Adorable, again.

  22. Anonymous says:

    As for many, as indicatd above, ravens and wolves are two of my favoritte animals as well. Mutual assistance between species is a lesson for humans. Could we be as wise.

  23. Anonymous says:

    The wolf smells human, which it rightfully fears, due to human ignorance and intolerance, crows have less to fear of man, that is all this video shows....

    Unfortunate that the time has come that wolf has been so disrespected by human.

    We as 'modern human' know nothing of what surrounds us, what we have come to call, nature.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Before wolves came home to Yellowstone, we got to watch a raven herd a coyote over to a young dead buffalo. The raven swooped and flapped and harassed the coyote to go towards the carcass. Ravens don't usually need help opening up a dead animal, but this one was floating in a hot pool and too unstable for perching. The coyote must have been able to reach and drag the buffalo to the bank because by the next day it was well eaten.
    I think we modern humans crave contact with wild animals which can be a doorway into awareness of the interrelationships of life. When dogs and cats make friends it's cute, but when wild animals cooperate, we can see and understand that the relationship of all creatures (and plants and microbes) is complex and interdependent. Often we just see what we know to look for, but the tooth and claw competition our society wants to assign to wild animals is overwhelmed by interrelated dependence among living beings, including the mutual killing and eating essential to life as an animal like us.

  25. Kim says:

    Mine too...

  26. In Northern Lore, wolves and ravens are Odin's creatures.

  27. Anonymous says:

    gods blessed creatures

  28. Anonymous says:

    both are co-creators in Coastal and Interior Salish lore

  29. Anonymous says:

    What are the creatures in the background?

  30. Gaby says:

    I love both...ravens and wolves...and natural all the other animals

  31. Anonymous says:

    Mine, three.

  32. I like the painting!

  33. Unknown says:

    Two of my favourite creatures. Thank you

  34. RavenWolf says:

    Great info and great art/photos. Neither creature is a monster. The lore is fascinating. All my life, since I was about 4, wolves and ravens have found me- meaning they have approached and come up to me in forests and elsewhere. Neither were threatening and the times I was on horseback, the horse didnt feel threatened either. I was told these animals are my spirit guides and being spiritual as I am, that sits fine with me. To this day both wolves and ravens continue to find me and when they do, sure, I try to figure out what I am to learn of their presence but mostly it just makes me smile and feel good. I will always champion both species, especially the wolf since they are under human attack more than ravens. And yes, in some circles my name is known as Autumn RavenWolf. Both- fantastic animals.

  35. Unknown says:

    Tahnk for this article,I just love this relationship between them!I just adore all of them! It

  36. Anonymous says:

    I'm thinking the wolves all have tried to eat ravens early their life and for some reason find them very untasty.

  37. Unknown says:

    Noble Wolf

  38. wonderful synergy between two social animals, thank you for sharing...

  39. I guess it makes sense as when the wolves have made a kill, the ravens can scavenge on the left overs. ;)

  40. Unknown says:

    Wolves can't fly because their carrion luggage is deemed unhygienic.

  41. Is there prints available ?

  42. Unknown says:

    This is interesting, because my Border Collie had a very unusual relationship with a crow that used to frequent our backyard. Not sure I would call it a friendship, but sort of a companionship and "live and let live," attitude.

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