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Chough

Choughs are among the rarest species of bird in the UK with around 400 breeding pairs UK wide, and they are listed on the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) red list. The chough is a striking member of the crow family, with a scarlet bill and legs. It is this that has given them their Latin name, Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax, meaning ‘fire crow’, and also led to their persecution in Cornwall where, in the past, the superstitious belief prevailed that they were responsible for starting fires with their flame-coloured beaks and feet.

Choughs are not only found on the Pembrokeshire islands but can be seen along much of the Pembrokeshire coast, which is a bit of a stronghold for them, providing an ideal habitat where they can easily find the insect larvae on which they feed. They have a very distinctive acrobatic flight, often seen tucking in their wings and plummeting into impossibly narrow fissures in the cliff face where they nest. They also have a distinctive call and can often be heard before they are seen.

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