Chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax   [Linnaeus, 1758]

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Order: Passeriformes Family: Corvidae
BTO Codes: CF, CHOUG EURING No: 15590
Number in Britain: 300 Pairs (Summer)
Conservation Status:
European: 3 Concern, most not in Europe; Declining
Global: (Details)
Status in UK: (A)  Resident Breeder
Subspecies: pyrrhocorax recorded in Britain (of 8 subsp. in the world)
Length: 40 cm Wingspan: 82 cm Weight: M/F: 310 g    
Scientific name from: Gr.: purrhos=flame-coloured + korax=raven
World Distribution: Locally in Eurasia, Ethiopia
Habitat: Open country, often rocky
Diet: Soil-dwelling invertebrates, winter, also grain and berries, on open ground
TitBit: Legend has it that when the Chough returns to breed in Cornwall, King Arthur will rise again. It is said he turned into a chough on his death, and the bird is included in the county arms. The first to breed there recently did so in 2001  
Identification Tips:
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  Videos from IBC
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Crossley ID photos BTO ID Workshop

Population and Distribution

Population Trend: No population trend available
Distribution: No distribution maps available
British Population Size:
    Summer: 300 Pairs in 2002
    First Record: Recorded in Medieval times [Fossil evidence from Ipswichian (last) interglacial, c. 125,000 yr ago]
    Latest Survey: Musgrove, A. et al. (2013) British Birds 106:64-100
    Conservation Status: AMBER because Species of European Concern,
   Previous Assessments: 2002-2007 AMBER     1996-2001 AMBER  
   Races of Concern: pyrrhocorax AMBER (European Concern)
Habitat Occupancy (in the Breeding Season):
    No habitat data from BBS
European Population Size:
    Summer: 28 to 85 thousand pairs   (Trend in Numbers)
Population Assesment from Birds in Europe
Distribution in Europe mapped by the EBCC Atlas
Listed on the Appendices/Schedules of: WCA(I,IV), WBD(I), Bern(III)
Survey Results:

Breeding and Survival

Egg Size: 39 x 28 mm Egg Weight: 15.7 g (of which 6 % is shell)
Number of Nest Records: 28
Clutch Size: 3 - 5 eggs
Incubation: 17- 18 days   by the: Female
Fledging: 41 - 31days as: Altricial, downy
First Clutches Laid: Unavailable
Number of Broods: 1
Number Ringed: Annual Totals
Adult Survival: 0.800 0.011       
Juvenile Survival: 0.430 (in First-Year)  
Age at First Breeding: 3 years Typical Lifespan: 7 years
Maximum Recorded Age: 16 years 8 months 26 days (set in 1981)
Read a summary of Ringing Recoveries


Ring Size: E (pulli E or F)
Wing Length Adult: 283.5 12.0 Range 260 - 303 mm, N =71
Juvenile: Insufficient Data
Male: 292.5 9.4 273 - 305 mm, N =34
Female: 275.9 7.1 260 - 283 mm, N =34
Weight Adult: 327.7 35.72 Range 280.0 - 370.0 g , N =70
Juvenile: Insufficient Data
Male: 352.6 33.90 306.0 - 389.0 g , N =33
Female: 304.5 16.45 280.0 - 334.0 g , N =34
British Trust for Ornithology (2005) Ringing Scheme data

Other Names

Red-billed Chough
Gaelic: Cathag-dhearg-chasach Welsh: Bran Goesgoch
Danish: Alpekrage Dutch: Alpenkraai
Finnish: Alppivaris French: Crave bec rouge
German: Alpenkrhe Hungarian: Havasi varj
Icelandic: Bjargkorpungur Irish: Cg Cosdearg
Italian: Gracchio corallino Norwegian: Alpenkraai
Polish: Wronczyk Portuguese: Gralha-de-bico-vermelho
Spanish: Chova piquiroja Swedish: Alpkrka
Local Names: Fire Raven, Red-legged Crow
Collective Noun:Clattering

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