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British Chough for Joey

British Chough for Joey
Photo Information
Copyright: James Parker (Jamesp) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2007-07-07
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon EOS 1Ds MkII, Canon EF 300mm f2.8 USM IS
Exposure: f/5.0, 1/400 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): For Joey, TN Favourites [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2007-09-01 8:09
Viewed: 4423
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 18
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
When I posted the shot of the Alpine Chough a couple of days ago, Joe (Joey) commented he had tried to photograph one. I took this one on Ramsey Island - one of the very few places they are easy to see - it was the first time I had seen one. Even so this is heavily cropped and the light was far from ideal.

The Red-billed Chough, or just Chough (pronounced [tʃʌf] (like chuff)), Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax is a member of the crow family, Corvidae. Together with the Alpine Chough, Pyrrhocorax graculus, they are the only true choughs; the White-winged Chough, Corcorax melanorhamphos, of the family Corcoracidae is entirely unrelated and merely has similar shape and habits.

It breeds in Great Britain, the Isle of Man, Ireland, southern Europe and the Mediterranean basin, the Alps, and in mountainous country across central Asia, India and China. There is an isolated population in the Ethiopian Highlands. It breeds mainly in high mountains and on coastal sea cliffs, but sometimes in inland quarries, for example in Spain. It is resident throughout its range. It is found in the upper reaches of the Himalayas where it comes down to altitudes of 2000 m in winter. A prehistoric subspecies that lived in Europe during the last ice age was described as Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax primigenius.

In Great Britain, it is represented by the endemic subspecies pyrrhocorax, which is restricted to the far west of Wales and Scotland, although it has recently recolonised Cornwall (where it was called the Cornish Chough and appears on the Cornish Coat of Arms) after an absence of many years. It was formerly more widespread but has suffered from the loss of its specialist "machair" habitat and competition with the jackdaw, Corvus monedula.

The Red-billed Chough is 37-41 cm in length and has a 68-80 cm wingspan. Its glossy black plumage, long curved red bill and red legs distinguish it from all other birds. It is often quite tame.

The Chough has a buoyant and easy flight. It soars above the cliffs with wide-spread primaries; the tips of these bend upwards as it curves and turns, sweeping round gracefully. With wings almost closed it shoots towards the surf at the foot of the crags, then checking itself, sweeps into its breeding cave.

Its movement on the ground has been described as "a short and very quick run," but it will walk as sedately as a rook. Its loud, ringing call chee-ow is clearer and louder than that of the Jackdaw and always very different from its yellow-billed congener (Laiolo et al. 2004). It has no call resembling Chuff (as described in some references), and its name probably comes from the old Cornish pronunciation of chough - "chow" as in bough.

Its food consists of insects, terrestrial molluscs and other invertebrates.

A crack or fissure in the roof or sides of a tidal cave is a site for the Chough's nest, and hollows in steep crag and cliff faces are also utilised. The nest is, as a rule, bulky, and composed of roots and stems of heather, furze or other plants, and is lined with wool or hair.

The eggs are three to six in number and laid in April or May. They are spotted, not always densely, with various shades of brown and grey on a creamy or slightly tinted ground.

The plumage of both sexes is glossy blue-black, with a green sheen on the wings; the bill and legs are coral red. In the young orange takes the place of red until the first autumn.

nglen, joey, kuhufu, Finland_in_Eton, gracious, gannu has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2007-09-01 9:18]

Hi James,
I am soooooooo happy!!
Thankyou very, very, very, very much. :D
What a shot of this rare and secretive bird.
Well done and thankyou,

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2007-09-01 9:57]

Hi james . A rare find. have never seen on in the wild . so thanks for posting. good detail and colour. but as you say heavily cropped so a bit of noise. your capture still shows the bird of well. TFs.
useful notes about the bird thanks.

Hello James,
This is very sharp,m precise photo with wonderfull note.

  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2007-09-01 14:06]

Hello James

A very good shot nonetheless.The details are good with very good colours.Nicely composed and well focused despite the crop.The dark plumage is difficult to capture under certain conditions but it shows quite well here.TFS


Lovely to see this rarity. Good color and detail despite the heavy crop, nice composition as well.

Would love to see one... will just have to keep my eyes peeled and camera ready next time I am near the coast ;-]

TFS, Mish

Hello James,
there is no such thing as bad picture
when it comes to nature, you did a great
job, congratulations! Great POV, they look
very annoying birds like the grackles we have


Hello James,
Good clarity with natural colour and details
of the bird!
Thank you for sharing and the useful notes

Hi James,
Another beautiful capture of this chough. Nice details with a very fine composition and colors. Thanks a lot for sharing.

  • Great 
  • gannu Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 988 W: 4 N: 3277] (14761)
  • [2007-09-02 3:06]

James very nice shot and very nice focus. You have done very well with the dark color of the bird and focussed it very well. Ganesh

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