Choughs are small to medium sized birds that belong to the crow family. They have 8 subspecies and they can be found in Europe, Africa and Asia. Take a look below to find 22 more amazing and weird facts about choughs.
1. Choughs have a black glossy plumage and red bills. The males and females look identical, however, the young choughs have a duller color and a yellow bill.
2. They can reach up to 15 to 16 inches in length and can weigh up to 10.9 ounces.
3. They have long, curved bills, long rectangular wings and long square shaped tails.
4. Choughs are very proficient fliers and they’re able to perform various acrobatics in the air.
5. They’re an omnivore, which means that they eat both plants and meat. Its diet is based mostly on insects, spiders, larvae, barley and corn.
6. They’re known for using their long bills to extract edible items from the soil and feces. They also use it to find prey hidden under plants and stones.
7. They love to eat parasites as well. They often collect ticks from the wool on a sheep’s back.
8. Choughs are a sedentary bird, which means that they don’t migrate.
9. They are prey to peregrine falcons, golden eagles, owls, and common raven, which finds and eats young choughs.
10. They breed by organizing small, loose colonies where they find their mates.
11. They’re known for mating for a lifetime. The males provide food for the female and they preen each other as part of the courtship ritual.
12. Male choughs build nests on the sea cliffs or inside abandoned buildings, caves and mines. The nest is usually made from dry vegetation and lined with wool.
13. Female choughs lay 2 to 6 eggs that hatch 18 days later. The male chough will find and provide food for the female while she incubates the eggs.
14. Both male and female choughs will take part in raising the offspring. However, only the male chough will go out to find and bring food to the nest in the first 10 days after the eggs hatch.
15. After 31 to 41 days, the chicks will leave the nest for the first time. However, during the first 5 weeks, they are very dependant on their parents for food and protection.
16. Choughs are known to survive for 17 years in the wild.
17. The chough is a protected species in the United Kingdom and is regarded as having an “amber” conservation status.
18. The main threat to the chough species is the new farming methods that remove many of the chough’s preferred feeding areas.
19. There are two main species of chough. The first is the red-billed chough, Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax, and the second is the yellow-billed chough, Pyrrhocorax graculus.
20. The white-winged chough of Australia, isn’t an actually chough, despite having the name.
21. The red-billed chough has a coastal population in the far west and has cultural connections with Cornwall, where it appears on the Cornish Coat of Arms.
22. There’s a legend that says that King Arthur didn’t die but was transformed into a red-billed chough and that’s why killing the bird is deemed to be unlucky.