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Red-billed Chough

The Red-billed Chough (Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), or just Chough (pronounced chuff), is a member of the crow family Corvidae. It breeds in Great Britain, the Isle of Man, Ireland, southern Europe and the Mediterranean basin, the Alps, and in mountainous country across central Asia, India and China. There is an isolated population in the Ethiopian Highlands. It breeds mainly in high mountains and on coastal sea cliffs, but sometimes in inland quarries, for example in Spain. It is resident throughout its range.

The Red-billed Chough is 14.5-16.10 inches in length and has a 26.75-31.5 inch wingspan. Its glossy black plumage, long curved red bill and red legs distinguish it from all other birds. It is often quite tame.
The Chough has a buoyant and easy flight. It soars above the cliffs with wide-spread primaries; the tips of these bend upwards as it curves and turns, sweeping round gracefully. With wings almost closed it shoots towards the surf at the foot of the crags, then checking itself, sweeps into its breeding cave.

A crack or fissure in the roof or sides of a tidal cave is a site for the Chough’s nest, and hollows in steep crag and cliff faces are also utilized. The nest is, as a rule, bulky, and composed of roots and stems of heather, furze or other plants, and is lined with wool or hair. The eggs are three to six in number and laid in April or May. They are spotted, not always densely, with various shades of brown and grey on a creamy or slightly tinted ground. Its food consists of insects, terrestrial mollusks and other invertebrates.

Red-billed Chough


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