Sunday, 10 June 2012

Red-billed Chough (Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax)

Top and Bottom Left: Red-billed Chough (subspecies P. p. erythropthalmusat Monfrague National Park, Spain - April 2016 
Bottom Right: Red-billed Chough (subspecies P. p. pyrrhocoraxat Lizard Point, Cornwall - June 2012

Local Name (Spain): Chova Piquirroja 
OTHER NAMES: Chough 
Featured Subspecies: Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax erythropthalmus and pyrrhocorax
Weight: 280-385g
Length: 39-40cm
Wingspan: 73-90cm
UK AMBER LIST / IUCN Red List: Least Concern

Red-billed Choughs are the rarest member of the crow family in the UK, having much more specialized habitats than any of the others.  Generally just known as chough in the UK for lack of Alpine Choughs in the country.  They require cliffs to next and generally prefer grazed land as their diet consists largely of insects found within the dung. Distinctive amoung British crows for their bright curved red beak, they are only found in Western Scotland, Wales, Ireland and a small, recently reestablished population in South-West Cornwall.  In Spain, they are a bit more common - still mostly found in areas with cliffs, but much more broadly, even to the point of being found on cliffs on the outskirts of Madrid itself.  They are strongly associated with Cornwall though within the UK, despite being absent from the country for nearly 30 years they remained the county bird and can be seen on the county coat of arms.

Related Species:
Order:
Passeriformes
Family: Corvidae
Genus: Pyrrhocorax
Subspecies: P. p. pyrrhocorax, P. p. erythroramphos, P. p. barbarus, P. p. docilis, P. p. centralis, P. p. himalayanus, P. p. brachypus, P. p. baileyi

 - Sighting Locations -
UNITED KINGDOM - Rare and local breeding resident in the North and West (250-350 pairs) plus 120-150 pairs on the Isle of Man.
 - Pair seen at Lizard Point in June 2012.
SPAIN - Widespread though rarely numerous resident in suitable habitats.
 - MADRID 2016 TRIP: Pairs seen at Monfrague National Park and Laguna Campillo

Further Notes: RSPB, Wikipedia, BirdGuides, BirdForum Opus, Arkive, IUCN Red List

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