Measuring 46–53 cm (18–21 in) in length with a 100 cm (39 in) wingspan and weighing around the 650 g (1.43 lb), the Australian raven is Australia's largest species of corvid.

The adult Australian raven is an all black-bird with a black beak, mouth and tongue and sturdy black or grey-black legs and feet.The tibia is fully feathered and the tasusis long, and the feet large and strong. It has white iries The plumage is glossy with a blue-purple to a blue-green sheen, greenish over the ear coverts, depending on the light. The underparts are not glossy.

The Australian raven has throat feathers (hackles) that are lanceolate with rounded tips, while the other four species of Australian corvids have bifurcate tips, though this can be difficult to see in the field. The hackles are also longer than those of the other four species; when they are raised (such as when the bird is calling), they give the bird an unusual bearded appearance. The upper third of the upper mandible, including the nares and nasal groove, is covered with bristles,  which can be up to 3 cm (1.2 in) long

The heavy-set beak is tipped with a slight hook and is longer than the bird's head. The wings are long and broad, with the longest of its ten primary feathers (usually the seventh but occasionally the eighth) almost reaching the end of the tail when the bird is at rest. The tail is rounded or wedge-shaped.

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