Chough

Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax

About

Chough live on short, grazed grassland and coastal heathland where they probe the ground with their long, red bill for insects such as leatherjackets and beetle larvae. Acrobatic in flight, Chough have a 'chee-ow' call which is similar to, but louder than, the Jackdaw's. Chough build nests in small colonies in crevices and fissures, on rock ledges and cliff faces, and even in abandoned buildings. They use roots, stems and heather, and line the nest with wool or hair. The female lays three to five eggs and both parents help to raise the chicks.

How to identify

A small, glossy black crow, the Chough is easily distinguished from the similar Jackdaw by its long, curved, red bill, red legs and entirely black plumage.

Where to find it

A rare bird of sea cliffs around south-west Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man. A tiny population has returned to the far west of Cornwall.

Habitats

When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

How can people help

The small populations of Chough in the UK are declining due to habitat loss, changing land management practices and disturbance at the nest. To help Chough and other rare wildlife, The Wildlife Trusts are working closely with farmers, landowners and developers to promote wildlife-friendly practices. We are working towards a 'Living Landscape': a network of habitats and wildlife corridors across town and country, which are good for both wildlife and people. You can support this greener vision for the future by joining your local Wildlife Trust.

Species information

Common name
Chough
Latin name
Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax
Category
Birds
Crows and shrikes
Statistics
Length: 38-40cm Wingspan: 82cm Weight: 310g Average Lifespan: 7 years
Conservation status
Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981. Classified in the UK as an Amber List species under the Birds of Conservation Concern review.