Chough (coracia gracula, Linn.), a bird of the crow family, sometimes called Cornish daw, and red-legged crow. It is a native of Europe, and is most numerous on the bold rocky shores of Cornwall, Devonshire, Wales, and the Hebrides islands; on the continent it prefers the Alpine regions. The plumage of the adult male and female is black, glossed with purplish blue and green; the legs, feet, and bill are red; the claws black, strong, and hooked; the bill is longer than the head, arched and tapering to an acute point; the wings are about the same length as the tail, which is even, with a small tip; on the head and neck the plumage is blended and highly glossy. The length to the end of the tail is 17 in.; extent of wings 34 in.; tail 6 1/2 in.; bill 2 1/4 in.; tarsus 21/6 in.; weight about 14 oz. The female is somewhat less in size, and has a shorter bill. When seen at a distance, the chough resembles the rook, which it excels in elegance of form; near at hand, the red bill and feet readily distinguish it. It is gregarious like the rook and jackdaw, both of which it resembles in its note and mode of flying.

Its food consists of insects, grubs, seeds, and the flesh of dead animals; it is particularly fond of grasshoppers and cockchafers, for which it scratches fields and rocky places, walking like the rook. It is very shy, unless in the breeding season; its flight is high, irregular, and performed by slow motions. It breeds near the sea in rocks, caverns, and ruined towers; the nest is composed of sticks, and lined with wool and hair; the eggs are generally five in number, of a dull white color, with light brown and ash-colored spots, chiefly at the larger end. In confinement the chough becomes very tame and docile; it is very crafty, hiding its food, and frequently articles of value which it has stolen, and as the bird always selects elevated positions, it is often difficult to recover them. It eats little at a time and regurgitates its food like ruminating quadrupeds; even when full fed, it will try to throw up a portion of its meal in order to take a little more. . It is capable of very strong attachments and dislikes.

Chough (Coracia gracula).

Chough (Coracia gracula).