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Cornish Choughs Towan Headland

“Cornish Choughs are a bird in the crow family, one of only two species in the genus Pyrrhocorax. Its eight subspecies breed on mountains and coastal cliffs from the western coasts of Ireland and Britain east through southern Europe and North Africa to Central Asia, India and China.

This bird has glossy black plumage, a long curved red bill, red legs, and a loud, ringing call. It has a buoyant acrobatic flight with widely spread primaries. The red-billed chough pairs for life and displays fidelity to its breeding site, which is usually a cave or crevice in a cliff face. It builds a wool-lined stick nest and lays three eggs. It feeds, often in flocks, on short grazed grassland, taking mainly invertebrate prey.

Although it is subject to predation and parasitism, the main threat to this species is changes in agricultural practices, which have led to population decline, some local extirpation, and range fragmentation in Europe; however, it is not threatened globally. The red-billed chough, which derived its common name from the jackdaw, was formerly associated with fire-raising, and has links with Saint Thomas Becket and Cornwall. ”  – Wikipedia

Cornish Choughs

Courtesy of Mike Prince www.flickr.com

Choughs have been recorded as part of Cornish history since at least the 13th century. Their old Cornish name is Palores, meaning ‘digger’ and that’s just what they do to find their invertebrate food.

The Cornish choughs in Cornwall are totally wild, they have not been introduced.

Early in the spring of 2001, there was a small influx of wild choughs along the south coast of England, from Portland in Dorset to the Isles of Scilly. A group of three subsequently took up residence on the Lizard. The origin of these wild birds was the subject of much debate at the time, but we now know from DNA work that the birds almost certainly came from Ireland.

To read more about the Cornish Choughs and the work that goes on by volunteers , the RSPB and other organisations visit.

http://www.cornishchoughs.org/the-return/

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