Red-billed Chough (Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax)

Red-billed Chough

Red-billed Chough

The Red-billed Chough (Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax) is a medium-sized crow living in the mountains and coastal cliffs of Europe, northern Africa (plus two populations in Ethiopia), and Central Asia (including parts of China and India). While changes in agricultural practices have led to a decline in the species’ abundance in Europe, the birds are still a common sight in most Asian habitats. Individuals pair for life and breed in caves or at cliff faces, predominantly in mountaineous terrain. Occasionally, the birds have been spotted at Mt. Everest in altitudes approaching 8000 m! I have photographed the species on the Tibetan Plateau near the town of Ganzi in western Sichuan Province, China. In this region, the birds also inhabit old monasteries where they find breeding sites on roofs, for example. The Red-billed Chough feeds mostly on invertebrates, including insects (especially ants) and spiders. Thereby it uses its long curved bill to dig up the prey. Seeds, berries, and other vegetables are only a secondary component of its diet. The birds are gregarious and commonly occur in small flocks. Their loud calls were a prominent background sound while travelling through the villages and monasteries of eastern Tibet in August and September 2015.

Red-billed Chough

Red-billed Chough

Red-billed Chough at a monastery

Red-billed Chough at a monastery

Red-billed Chough

Red-billed Chough

8 responses to “Red-billed Chough (Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax)

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