Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax (Linnaeus, 1758) sec. Corvids of the World

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Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax (Linnaeus, 1758) sec. Corvids of the World

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Editorial Status

Currently not in focus of editorial work, unrevised text, last update: 2016-12-23.

Common Name

English: Red-Billed ChoughA; Estonian: kaljuhakk; German: Alpenkrähe; Polish: Wrończyk


Africa Macaronesia (Canary Is. (Canary Is. nativeB,1)); Northeast Tropical Africa (Ethiopia (Ethiopia nativeB,2)); Northern Africa (Morocco (Morocco nativeB), Western Sahara (Western Sahara nativeB)), Asia-Temperate Caucasus nativeB; China (China North-Central (Gansu nativeB, Hebei nativeB, Shaanxi nativeB, Shandong nativeB, Shanxi nativeB), China South-Central nativeB,3, Inner Mongolia nativeB,4, Manchuria nativeB,5); Middle Asia (Kazakhstan (Kazakhstan nativeB,6), Kirgizistan (Kirgizistan nativeB), Tadzhikistan (Tadzhikistan nativeB), Turkmenistan (Turkmenistan nativeB)); Mongolia (Mongolia (Mongolia nativeB)); Siberia (Altay (Altay nativeB)); Western Asia (Afghanistan (Afghanistan nativeB)), Asia-Tropical Indian Subcontinent (Assam (Assam nativeB, Manipur nativeB, Meghalaya nativeB, Nagaland nativeB), Bangladesh (Bangladesh nativeB,7), East Himalaya nativeB, India (Bihar nativeB, Chandigarh nativeB, Delhi nativeB, Haryana nativeB, Jharkhand nativeB, Punjab nativeB, Uttar Pradesh nativeB, West Bengal nativeB,8), Nepal (Nepal nativeB), Pakistan (Pakistan nativeB,9), West Himalaya nativeA,B (Himachal Pradesh nativeB, Uttaranchal nativeB)), Europe Eastern Europe (Krym (Krym nativeB), Ukraine (Ukraine nativeB)); Northern Europe (Great Britain (Great Britain nativeB,10), Ireland (Ireland native)); Southeastern Europe nativeB; Southwestern Europe (France (France nativeB,11), Portugal (Portugal nativeB), Spain (Spain nativeB))
1. Palma, 2. Highlands of N and C Ethiopia, 3. W China South-Central, 4. N Nei Mongolia and Nigxia, 5. NW Manchuria, 6. W Kazakhstan, 7. N Bangladesh, 8. N West Bengal, 9. W Pakistan, 10. Parts of W Britain, 11. W France to Alps and Italy


Sometimes they associate with Yellow-billed Choughs, Blue Rock-Pigeons and Ravens to feet on ripening grain in the scanty terraced cultivation. They also feed on ripe fruits and berries. On the various favourite camping grounds in Kashmir - e.g. Sonamarg and Thajiwas - the birds may commonly be ween sauntering about the grassy meadows in amongst the grazing sheep and pack animals, diggin up grubs, earthworms and crickets. They are usually present round about the sheep and cattle chapans of the nomadic herdsmen in the mountains.C

Biology And Ecology

The principal breeding months are March, April and May.C


The nest is built of sticks and twigs and lined with wool. It is sometimes placed in the holes and fissures of inaccessible cliffs. Sometimes in holes in walls of disused or inhabited houses in a high mountain village. Several nests may occasionally be found close to one another.C


The eggs, three or four, are white or pale greenish-, nluish-, or pinkish-white blotched with light reddish-brown or umber to dark brown. There are fainter lavender or inky-grey marks scattered thickly over the whole surface.C


It is usually seen in flocks of twenty or thirty, and even up to a hundred birds. Their flight and general behaviour is crow-like, but the birds are characteristically fond of disporting themselves high up in the air, especially during the middle of the day, when a whole flock may be seen floating on motionless wings in graceful circles or vieing with one another in nose-diving, tumbling, turning and twisting, and performing a series of the most spectacular aerobatics.C


Philopterus thryptocephalus (Kellogg & Paine, 1914)D


The birds utter a shrill, rather musical cawing chiaow, chiaow, which, when heard faintly on the distance, has often reminded me curiously of the Pied Crested Cuckoo.C


A. Ali, S. 1949: Indian Hill Birds.: 10 [2945]
B. 2003: The Howard and Moore complete checklist of the birds of the world. 3rd Edition: 504-515
C. Ali, S. 1949: Indian Hill Birds.: 11 [2945]
D. Price & Hellenthal: Taxonomy of Philopterus (Phthiraptera: Philopteridae) from the Corvidae (Passeriformes), with descriptions of nine new species. – Annals of the Entomological Society of America 91 (6): 782-799: 786, 787, 788 [78]