Ravens are highly intelligent, strikingly beautiful birds that captivate many with their playful personalities. If you’re considering getting a raven as a pet in California, you probably have questions about the legalities involved.

The quick answer is yes, it is legal to own a raven in California—but only if you obtain the proper permits. You’ll also need to follow specific regulations for housing, care and training.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about legally owning a pet raven in California, including permit requirements, care standards, ideal housing conditions and more.

Permit Requirements for Owning a Raven in California

If you’ve ever been captivated by the intelligence and charm of ravens, you may have wondered if it’s possible to own one as a pet. In California, owning a raven is subject to certain laws and regulations, and obtaining the necessary permits is a crucial step in ensuring the bird’s welfare and the compliance with the law.

Federal Permit

Before considering owning a raven in California, it’s important to understand that ravens are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). This means that you will need a federal permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to legally possess a raven.

The MBTA was enacted to protect migratory birds and their habitats, and obtaining a federal permit helps ensure that these birds are not taken from the wild or harmed in any way.

To obtain a federal permit, you will need to demonstrate that you have the proper facilities and knowledge to care for a raven. You may also be required to meet specific housing and enrichment requirements to ensure the well-being of the bird.

The USFWS has detailed information and guidelines on their website https://www.fws.gov/birds/management/managed-species/migratory-bird-treaty-act-protected-species.php to help you through the application process and ensure compliance with federal regulations.

State Permit

In addition to a federal permit, California has its own regulations regarding the ownership of ravens. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) oversees the state permit requirements. While the state permit is not required for every raven owner, it is recommended to obtain one to ensure compliance with all applicable laws.

The state permit may have specific requirements regarding the housing, care, and handling of ravens. These requirements are in place to safeguard both the bird and the environment. The CDFW website https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/ provides detailed information on how to obtain a state permit and the specific regulations that need to be followed.

City or County Permit

On top of federal and state permits, some cities or counties in California may have their own permit requirements for owning a raven. It’s essential to check with your local government authorities to determine if any additional permits are needed.

City or county permits may include specific zoning restrictions, noise regulations, or other local ordinances that pertain to owning a raven. Compliance with these regulations helps ensure that the bird’s welfare and the community’s concerns are adequately addressed.

Remember, owning a raven is a responsibility that requires commitment, knowledge, and adherence to the law. Obtaining the necessary permits helps protect the bird and ensures that you are acting within the bounds of the law.

So, if you’re considering owning a raven in California, make sure to familiarize yourself with the permit requirements at the federal, state, and local levels.

Housing and Care Standards for Pet Ravens

When considering owning a pet raven in California, it is important to understand the housing and care standards required to ensure the well-being of these intelligent birds. Ravens are highly social creatures and require adequate space and stimulation to thrive in captivity.

Minimum Cage Size

Ravens are large birds and need a spacious cage to accommodate their size and provide enough room for exercise. The minimum recommended cage size for a single raven is at least 4 feet by 4 feet by 6 feet.

It is important to provide enough vertical space for them to stretch their wings and move around comfortably. Additionally, the cage should be made of sturdy materials, like stainless steel, to prevent any potential escapes or injuries.

Proper Diet

A balanced diet is crucial for the health and well-being of pet ravens. Their diet should consist of a variety of food items, including high-quality commercial raven pellets, fresh fruits and vegetables, and occasional protein sources such as cooked eggs or small amounts of cooked meat.

It is important to consult with a veterinarian or avian specialist to ensure that the diet meets all the necessary nutritional requirements specific to ravens.

Enrichment and Training

Ravens are highly intelligent birds and require mental stimulation and enrichment to prevent boredom and promote their natural behaviors. Providing them with toys, puzzles, and interactive games can help keep their minds active and engaged.

Additionally, ravens can be trained to perform various tricks and behaviors through positive reinforcement techniques. Training not only provides mental stimulation but also helps strengthen the bond between the owner and the bird.

Ongoing Veterinary Care

Regular veterinary check-ups are essential for the health and well-being of pet ravens. It is recommended to find an avian veterinarian who has experience working with birds to ensure proper care and treatment.

Routine examinations can help detect any potential health issues early on and prevent them from developing into more serious conditions. Vaccinations, parasite control, and annual bloodwork may also be necessary to maintain the overall health of the bird.

For more detailed information on housing and care standards for pet ravens, it is advisable to refer to reputable sources such as the The Spruce Pets or consult with local avian specialists who can provide expert guidance based on the specific requirements in California.

Key Laws and Regulations for Raven Owners

Ravens are fascinating and intelligent birds that have captured the interest of many people. However, if you are considering owning a raven in California, it is important to familiarize yourself with the specific laws and regulations surrounding their ownership.

This article will outline the key laws and regulations that all raven owners should be aware of to ensure they are in compliance with the law.

No Capturing Native Ravens

One important law to note is that it is illegal to capture native ravens in California. Native ravens are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the California Fish and Game Code. These laws are in place to preserve and protect the native raven population and their natural habitats.

Therefore, if you are interested in owning a raven, you must obtain one through legal means, such as purchasing from a licensed breeder or adopting from a reputable bird rescue organization.

Restrictions on Raven Interactions

While owning a raven is legal in California, there are certain restrictions on the interactions you can have with your bird. It is important to provide a safe and suitable environment for your raven, ensuring that their well-being is prioritized.

This includes providing adequate space for them to fly, perch, and exercise. Additionally, it is crucial to handle your raven with care, as rough handling or mistreatment can cause stress and harm to the bird.

Furthermore, it is important to note that ravens are highly social creatures and require regular socialization and mental stimulation. As a responsible raven owner, you should ensure that your bird has opportunities to interact with other ravens or engage in activities that mimic their natural behaviors.

This can include providing toys, puzzles, and opportunities for foraging.

Limitations on Selling or Transferring Ravens

If you decide to sell or transfer ownership of your raven, it is essential to adhere to the regulations set forth by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. You must obtain the necessary permits and documentation to legally transfer ownership of the bird.

This is to prevent the illegal trade of ravens and ensure that they are being transferred to suitable and responsible owners.

It is important to note that these laws and regulations are in place to protect both the raven population and the welfare of individual birds. By understanding and adhering to these laws, you can ensure that you are providing a safe and appropriate environment for your raven while also contributing to the conservation efforts for these magnificent creatures.

Frequently Asked Questions on Raven Ownership

How much does a pet raven cost?

The cost of owning a pet raven can vary depending on a few factors. Generally, purchasing a raven can range from $500 to $2000. However, it’s important to note that the cost doesn’t stop there. Ravens require specialized care, including a spacious aviary, proper diet, and regular veterinary check-ups, which can add to the overall expenses of owning one.

It’s crucial to consider these ongoing costs before deciding to bring a raven into your home.

What do ravens eat?

Ravens are omnivorous birds and have a diverse diet. In the wild, they feed on a wide range of foods, including insects, fruits, grains, small animals, and carrion. As pets, their diet should be carefully managed to ensure they receive a balanced and nutritious meal.

A healthy diet for a pet raven typically consists of a combination of high-quality commercial bird pellets, fresh fruits and vegetables, and occasional treats like nuts or mealworms. It’s essential to consult with a veterinarian or an avian specialist to determine the most suitable diet for your pet raven.

Do ravens make good pets?

Ravens are highly intelligent and social creatures, which can make them fascinating pets for some individuals. However, it’s important to note that owning a raven is not for everyone. Ravens require a significant amount of time, effort, and resources to ensure their well-being.

They need a large and secure enclosure, mental stimulation, and regular social interaction. Additionally, ravens are wild animals by nature, and their behavior can be unpredictable at times. It’s crucial to have prior experience with bird ownership and a deep understanding of their specific needs before considering a raven as a pet.

If you’re interested in learning more about raven ownership, it’s recommended to consult with local authorities and wildlife organizations in your area. They can provide you with up-to-date information on the laws and regulations surrounding owning a raven in California.

For more information, you can visit the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website at www.wildlife.ca.gov.


Owning a raven in California can be an incredibly rewarding experience when done legally and with proper care. While the permit process may seem daunting, it helps ensure these remarkable birds remain healthy.

If you have the passion, resources and dedication to provide a good home, a pet raven can be a lifelong companion. Do ample research, secure the required permits, and get ready for a wonderful adventure with your brilliant black bird!

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