Red-billed Chough - Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax
October 13, 2009
While in Germany I did not see one of these, but had a conversation about them. Another artist at the poster show event I attended in Hamburg, Nick Rhodes (you can view Nick's work HERE), turned out to have some affection for my favorite family of birds, corvids. Nick is from Great Britain, and we began talking about corvid species native to the UK. We went over rooks, and ravens, and then he described a species that is not common, but can be found around high sea cliffs near Wales. His description matched the Red-billed Chough specimen I had been admiring at the Field Museum some time ago.
The two species of choughs, Alpine and Red-billed, are closely related to crows and jackdaws. The Red-billed can be found in coastal cliffs of Great Britain, Ireland, and Brittany, as well and parts of southern Europe and Central Asia. There have been recent population declines in Red-billed due to habitat fragmentation and degradation. I loved the image I got when we talked about them: elegant, glossy black birds living on high cliffs, being tossed about by the wind over the sea.