How to Own a Crow or Raven as A Pet | 10 Pros & Cons to Know

I would love to have a crow or raven as a pet! Not only are crows and ravens some of the most intelligent birds in the world, but they are also on a similar intelligence level as monkeys and dolphins.

If you find yourself reading this article because you want to get a pet crow or a pet raven…I have some bad news — but — I also have some good news!

The answer to whether you can have a pet crow or pet raven is “yes” and “no“. Read on and I will discuss it in more detail.

Can You Have a Crow or Raven as a Pet?

American crows and common ravens are illegal as pets in the United States as per the  Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. This act bans the hunting, taking, capturing, killing, selling, or purchasing of any migratory birds that are native to the United States of America.

This Treaty was established because wildlife authorities were afraid that if migratory birds were allowed as pets and no ban was put in place, these birds would be exploited as novelty, exotic pets, and their numbers would start to decrease.

Crow - Raven as a Pet?

However, American crows and common ravens — also known as northern ravens or western ravens — are found throughout the United States.

These birds wouldn’t be considered exotic animals based on any factors other than them being wild animals.

Their population numbers are not in danger of becoming threatened anytime soon, but exotic pet laws and wild animal laws dictate what can and can’t be domestic pets, so there’s nothing we can do about that.

But wait! Don’t go! That was the bad news about owning a crow or raven as a pet.

Let’s get to the good news about owning a pet crow or raven!

Yes, I gave you the bad news first. Sorry about that, but it was important to state that common ravens and crows are illegal and shouldn’t be kept as domestic pets so that you can understand the laws and policies in place.

Can You Have a Pied Crow or a White-Necked Raven as a Pet?

You can still get a crow or raven as a pet, just not the American crow or the common raven. Pied crows and white-necked ravens do not fall under The Migratory Bird Treaty of 1918 because these birds are native to Africa and don’t migrate to the United States.

The Treaty states that you can’t have any birds as a pet if such birds are native to the U.S. or migrate to the U.S. at any point during the year.

But this Treaty is for migratory birds and native birds to the United States. It doesn’t include birds that aren’t native or migrating to the United States.

Birds that are not part of this treaty that are legal as exotic pets in America include the pied crow and the white-necked raven.

Both of these birds are native to Africa and do not migrate to any part of the United States.

So, you can legally own either of these birds, assuming it isn’t illegal at your state or local government level.

However, you can’t just go to Africa and pick one of these birds from the wild.

You still have to go through the proper channels and get one from a dealer that was specifically bred with the purpose of being in a domestic setting.

Now that you know which crows and ravens you can legally and ethically own as a pet, are crows and ravens a good fit for you? Don’t worry, no need to answer yet.

Read more about why crows and ravens would make good pets and why they wouldn’t make good pets below.

Do Crows & Ravens Make Good Pets?

Pet crows and pet ravens are not for every bird handler. As with any wild or exotic bird, they need the proper attention, handling, and care.

Many other factors play a role in how your experience will be with a pet crow or raven.

Since I don’t know many of these factors that you would have to consider before getting a pet bird (living space, family size, budget, etc.), I have decided to include 5 reasons crows and ravens make good pets and 5 reasons crows and ravens do not make good pets!

Read over them carefully to help in your decision about whether a pet crow or pet raven is right for you.

Crow or Raven a Good Pet?

5 Reasons Crows & Ravens Make Good Pets

Below are 5 reasons that crows and ravens would make good pets.

1. Pet Crows: Not Picky Eaters

Ravens aren’t picky eaters and don’t have any special nutritional requirements outside of what you can find at most stores.

This opens up a lot of possibilities as to what you can feed them. You can feed them a variety of foods such as meats, vegetables, fruits, seeds, and more.

2. Pet Ravens: Easy on The Wallet

For some of us old-school people that still carry wallets, having a crow or a raven as a pet will save you tons of money compared to an exotic pet like a parrot.

Since ravens don’t require specific diets and are commonly found in most places of the world, support and supplies for them can be much cheaper compared to other exotic pets.

3. Pet Crows: Smarty Pants

I touched on this briefly, but another reason to have a crow or raven as a pet is that they are highly intelligent animals, ranking right up there with the likes of chimpanzees and dolphins in terms of intelligence level.

4. Pet Ravens: You Won’t Be Lonely

Pet crows and ravens can be great companions and can grow a special bond with their handlers.

They can also mimic sounds and even learn the ability to mimic human voices so much so that it sounds like they are a real human having a real conversation.

5. Pet Crows: Fearless Birds

Not only can these birds be great companions, but they also tend to be fearless. This can help your pet crow be more social and less timid around humans.

5 Reasons Crows & Ravens DO NOT Make Good Pets

Below are 5 reasons that crows and ravens DO NOT make good pets.

1. Pet Ravens: The Obvious

Not to state the obvious or anything, but crows and ravens are birds with wings and can fly away.

Without proper training, you could lose your bird when going outside. However, this is a posed threat to any bird that isn’t trained to return.

2. Pet Crows: Curious Birds

Crows and ravens can be rather nosy and curious birds. Since they are highly intelligent and curious birds, they can get into different types of mischief, including the trash. Clean up on aisle one!

3. Pet Ravens: No Social Distancing

Since these birds are social animals, getting one as a pet is a bad idea. If you are going to get one, then you need to get two or more.

While you can provide some social stimulation to your pet bird, another bird will be a much better solution. If you aren’t planning to have at least two birds, I’d skip a crow or raven as a pet.

4. Pet Crows: Just a Nibble

Crows and ravens can have a problem with biting. Their beaks are built for pecking and pulling apart meat and flesh. While they aren’t usually aggressive, they can be when provoked.

This can cause them to peck or clamp down on a part of your body and not let go. They can do enough damage for you to need stitches or a splint for your finger or other body parts.

If your pet raven or pet crow has a nest, it will be much more aggressive.

Regardless, you should wear some type of protective handling gear (handling gloves) if your raven is new to you and hasn’t bonded well with you just yet.

5. Pet Ravens: I Need My Space

Ravens require a lot of living space to be comfortable. Since they are larger birds, they need enough flying space and overhead to fly around to get exercise.

Smaller spaces with low overhead are not ideal situations for pet crows and ravens.

Trying to keep a pet raven in a small space can cause health and psychological issues for your bird.

Pet Crow - Raven Cost

How Much Do Pied Crows & White-necked Ravens Cost?

As with any animal that is considered an exotic pet, the cost to purchase one can be a wide range depending on where you purchase the exotic animal from and which one you get.

I’ve contacted several exotic pet dealers and come up with average prices for a pet pied crow and a pet white-necked raven, as noted in the table below.

Bird Average Cost

Pied Crow – Pet Crow Cost

$1,500 to $5,000

White-necked Raven – Pet Raven Cost

$1,800 to $6,000

The cost of pet ravens and crows is high because the ones you can purchase as a pet are not natively found in America.

If you live in the states, it may be hard to find one of these birds in your area and you may end up having to get your pet raven shipped to you.

The cost of the birds I listed doesn’t include costs associated with factors like shipping, registration, permits, or licenses that you may need for the exotic pet laws in your area or state.

Where Can I Buy Pet Crows and Ravens?

As with any animal that is considered exotic and not native to the United States, it may be difficult to find many pet crows that are for sale.

Below are a few sites I found that have pied crows and white-necked ravens for sale.

You can check these sites out to get a better idea of what pet birds are available and how much they will cost you.

Are Ravens and Crows the Same Species of Bird?

Ravens and crows are not the same bird. However, they are closely related, being from the same family of birds known as Corvidae.

Corvidae is a group of oscine passerine birds containing over 130 different types of birds.

This bird family also includes magpies, jackdaws, rooks, treepies, and other birds.

Although ravens and crows are under the same group, which is commonly referred to as crows, ravens can be distinguished from crows if you know what to look for.

Ravens are different from crows in many different ways, including the following:

  • Ravens have larger, thicker beaks than crows
  • Ravens have a different tail shape than crows
  • Ravens have different flight patterns than crows
  • Ravens are bigger and thicker than crows
  • Ravens have a feather base color that is grey, while crows have a base color of white
  • Ravens have different calls than crows


Now you know that you can have a crow or raven as a pet, just not the American Crow or the Common Raven since they are migratory birds native to the United States.

In this article, I provided you with alternatives for pet crows and pet ravens by informing you of several birds that aren’t native to the U.S. or that migrate here, including the pied crow and the white-necked raven.

I provided those alternatives and the costs associated with buying them and keeping them as legal exotic pets in the United States.

Wild animal laws and exotic pet laws change and can be different depending on where you are.

Even if your state allows exotic animals as pets, that doesn’t mean local officials don’t have bans in place.

Always check and double-check to ensure you are getting the right information to save you some headaches along the way.

That’s all I have for this one. I am creating lots of exotic pet articles right now. If you like this one, head on over to the Exotic Pets section to read more.

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