Beasts Of Iceland: The Icelandic Raven - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Beasts Of Iceland: The Icelandic Raven

Beasts Of Iceland: The Icelandic Raven

Published September 21, 2017

Hannah Jane Cohen
Photo by
CanadianWikilover (Wikipedia)

After a trip around the Golden Circle, you—our tourist reader—might be wondering: “How the hell does any animal survive on this godforsaken mid-Atlantic rock?” It’s a fair question. With a lack of vegetation, a merciless climate, and generally inhospitable conditions, Iceland isn’t an easy place for any living creature to survive.

That said, there are a number of cool fauna in the country. So, let’s meet the…

Icelandic Raven

From Edgar Allen Poe to Bran Stark, the hypnotic black eyes of the raven have captivated society for millennia. Iceland is of course no exception. In the Sagas, the birds were considered symbols of wisdom and prophecy. Even Óðinn himself had two raven bros—Huginn and Muninn (“Mind” and “Memory,” in English).

Upon first sight, the Icelandic raven, or corvus corax varius, might resemble your average run-of-the-mill creepy raven, but their feathers are actually noticeably less glossy. This is probably because, like Lancome Juicy Tubes, gloss is tacky. Icelanders are way too classy for that shit.

Beauty fades, though, while dumb is forever. Luckily, ravens are one of the smartest birds out there. Not only can they do somersaults, but they have also been known to follow fishing boats and pull up unsuspecting seaman’s lines for a quick snack—a level of avian MacGyver-ness far beyond losers like Huey, Dewey, or Louie.

Nevermore, bitches

Unfortunately, the population of Icelandic ravens has been steadily decreasing for years—so much so that they are now a vulnerable species on the Icelandic Red List of Birds.

It’s quite a quandary. Ravens don’t taste good, nor do they make tasteful wall ornaments like tigers and lions. Why then are Icelanders so raven-ravenous? The answer, obviously, is that all Icelanders are secretly White Walkers and, like Stalin, want to control the amount of information that’s available about Iceland, globally. Don’t worry though, considering Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen just fucked, things aren’t looking too rosy for our blonde, blue-eyed brethren. Long live the raven!  

Bonus: here is a cute video of a raven flying around a cat.

Check out more beats of Iceland here. 

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