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Red-billed chough

Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax
(Photo from Wikipedia)

Common name:
red-billed chough (en); gralha-de-bico-vermelho (pt); crave à bec rouge (fr); chova piquirroja (es); Alpenkrähe (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Corvidae

This species is found in the British Isles, in southern Europe from Portugal to Turkey, in Morocco and Algeria, and into the middle latitudes of Asia as far east as eastern China and Mongolia.

These birds are 37-41 cm long and have a wingspan of 68-90 cm. They weigh 270-310 g.

The red-billed chough is found in rocky areas, both on the coast, in river valleys and mountains, in pastures, grasslands, scrublands and low-intensity agricultural areas. They are found from sea level up to an altitude of 7.900 m, in the Himalayas.

They mostly collect invertebrates from the ground, namely beetles, fly larvae, spiders and ants. They also eat the parasites of domestic mammals, grain and berries.

Red-billed choughs tend to breed in small, loose colonies, but will sometimes breed singly. The bulky nest is made of roots and stems, and lined with wool or hair. It is placed in a cave or similar fissure in a crag or cliff face. There the female lays 3-5 creamy eggs with brown spots, which she incubates alone for 17-18 days while receiving food from the male. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 31-41 days after hatching. Each pair raises a single brood per year.

IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range and the global population is estimated at 300.000-1.500.000 individuals. The population is estimated to be in decline following noted decreases in the European population, but this represents just 25-50% of the global population and not all countries show the same trend, so the overall trend is uncertain.

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