Chough, Red-Billed

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Chough, Red-Billed


(Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), a bird of the family Corvidae, order Passeriformes. Length of males, approximately 45 cm; weight, 270–370 g. The plumage is black with a green hue on the wings and tail; the bill and legs are red.

The red-billed chough is found in Europe, northwest Africa, Ethiopia, and southwest and Central Asia; in the USSR it inhabits the mountains of the Caucasus, Middle Asia, the Altai, the Saians, and the Transbaikal region. Choughs live in flocks, migrating in winter to the piedmont. They nest in mountains at great heights (in the Pamirs, as high as 4,500 m above sea level); in the Transbaikal region and along the Enisei River they live at heights of 300–500 m. They nest in precipices, shore bluffs, and occasionally in man-made structures. The clutch contains four to six spotted eggs; the brood period is 17–18 days.

The red-billed chough feeds on seeds and insects gathered in mountain meadows. It also eats mulberries, which it picks in gardens.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.