Pyrrhocorax graculus (Linn.), Syst. Nat. i. p. 158 (1766) ; (Naum.) ii. p. 114, Taf. 57, fig. 2 ; (Hewitson), i. p. 218, pl. lvi ; (Gould), B. of E. iii. pl. 219 ; id. B. of Gt. Brit. iii. pl. 62 ; Newton, ii. p. 252 ; Dresser, iv. p. 437, pl. 251, fig. 1 ; (Sharpe), Cat. B. Br. Mus. iii. p. 146 ; (Tacz.), F. O. Sib. O. p. 538 ; Saunders, p. 231 ; Lilford, ii. p. 56, pl. 24 ; P. eremita (Linn.), Syst. Nat. i. p. 159 (1766) ; (Oates), F. Brit. Ind. Birds, i. p. 43.
Crave, French ; Grajo, Jucala, Span. ; Steinkrahe, German ; Kluschitza, Bortevschik, Russ.
Male ad. (England). Jet black, the upper parts glossed with steel-blue and steel-violet ; beak and legs vermilion-red ; claws black ; iris brown. Culmen 2.1, wing 10.9, tail 5.8, tarsus 2.1 inch. Sexes alike. The young are duller in colour and have the beak and legs brownish orange.
Hab. The Chough inhabits Great Britain, but neither Scandinavia nor northern Europe, though found in southern France, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Italy, Sicily, Greece, and the Urals ; the Canaries, North Africa, as far south as Abyssinia, Asia Minor and Asia as far east as China, north to south-east Siberia and south to the Himalayas.
Throughout its range it is resident, inhabiting higher altitudes during the summer, descending lower for the winter. Its flight is erratic and resembles that of the Jackdaw, and its note is not unlike that of that species but is clearer and shriller. It feeds on insects of various kinds, and to some extent OK grain. Its nest is placed in a fissure in the rocks, is tolerably large and is constructed of sticks, and well lined with roots, wool, and hair, and the eggs, 4 to 5 in number, which are usually de¬posited in April or May, are whit e or creamy white, sometimes with a greenish tinge, with faint purplish underlying shell-markings and have brown surface-spots and blotches, and in size average about 1.58 by 1.10.
Birds from the Himalayas are as a rule somewhat larger than those from Europe, and Gould separated them, calling the Himalayan bird Fregilus himalayanus but no one now reckons them as separable. In the British Islands the haunts of the Chough are confined to certain parts of the sea-coast and, except as a straggler, it is never seen inland.
576. Pyrrhocorax graculus