Two species of chough ( "") constitute the genusPyrrhocorax of the Corvidae (crow) family of birds. These are the red-billed chough (Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), and the Alpine or yellow-billed chough (P. graculus). The white-winged chough of Australia, despite its name, is a member of the family Corcoracidae and only distantly related.
The choughs have black plumage and brightly coloured legs, feet, and bills, and are resident in the mountains of southern Eurasia and North Africa. They have long broad wings and perform spectacular aerobatics. Both species pair for life and display fidelity to their breeding sites, which are usually caves or crevices in a cliff face. They build a lined stick nest and lay three to five eggs. They feed, usually in flocks, on short grazed grassland, taking mainly invertebrate prey, supplemented by vegetable material or food from human habitation, especially in winter.
Changes in agricultural practices, which have led to local population declines and range fragmentation, are the main threats to this genus, although neither species is threatened globally.
The Collaborative International Dictionary
Chough \Chough\, n. [OE. choughe, kowe (and cf. OE. ca), fr. AS. ce['o]; cf. also D. kauw, OHG. ch[=a]ha; perh. akin to E. caw. [root]22. Cf. Caddow.] (Zo["o]l.) A bird of the Crow family ( Fregilus graculus) of Europe. It is of a black color, with a long, slender, curved bill and red legs; -- also called chauk, chauk-daw, chocard, Cornish chough, red-legged crow. The name is also applied to several allied birds, as the Alpine chough.
n. 1 Two species of bird of the genus ''Pyrrhocorax'' in the crow family Corvidae that breed mainly in high mountains and on coastal sea cliffs of Eurasia. 2 The (vern white-winged chough pedia=1), of genus ''Corcorax'' in the Australian mud-nest builders family, Corcoracidae, that inhabits dry woodlands.
n. a European corvine bird of small or medium size with red legs and glossy black plumage
Usage examples of "chough".
My College fellows were hawkers, tinkers, tramps and ploughmen, choughs and crows.
Poplars and alders ever quivering played, And nodding cypress formed a fragrant shade, On whose high branches, waving with the storm, The birds of broadest wing their mansions form The chough, the sea-mew, the loquacious crow And scream aloft and skim the deeps below.
Augurs and understood relations have By maggot-pies and choughs and rooks brought forth The secret'st man of blood.
Over by the Berghaus, the Schneefinken, and Schneevogel, the snow-finches and Alpine choughs, that lived on the crumbs and left-overs of the picnickers, were fluttering and swooping close round the building - a sure storm-warning.
She found it easier this time, and there was the chough, with her in her own world, perching on a branch that hung low over the pavement.
For some time he contemplated the birds: a few razorbills and guillemots as well as the puffins - remarkably few gulls of any kind - the oyster-catchers' parents (he was confident of the chicks' well-being, having seen the neat shells from which they had hatched) - some rock-doves, and a small band of choughs.
When they opened their wingcases and became airborne, the choughs swooped to snatch them instead.