The Chough population in Wales has been gaining strength in recent years and now represents about 75% of the total number in the UK. Their main stronghold is along the coast of Pembrokeshire but they have been steadily spreading, returning to the Gower Peninsula in 1990 for the first time in over a century. Over the last few weeks I have been fortunate to encounter this rarest species of the Crow family on an almost weekly basis, but have held back the photographs as I am concious that we are well into the breeding season and I don’t want to give away too many details concerning their locations.

24082 - Chough
24083 - Chough

The above photos were taken along the Ceredigion coastal path where I was amazed to see a flock of ten Chough, several of which were collecting discarded sheep’s wool. So intent were they to carry as much as possible that they not only stuffed their beaks to overflowing but also grabbed great clumps with each foot. By the end of it I was beginning to wonder if they would actually be able to take off and if they did whether or not they would even be able to see where they were going. They seemed to manage in the end though.

24152 - Chough, Gower
24151 - Chough, Gower

The pair above were much closer to home on Gower. They were incredibly tame and carried on feeding even when a local dog walker passed right by them. Much like Red Kites the Chough is a great example of how some excellent conservation work can have a massive impact on the success of our wildlife. Long may they continue to flourish as our countryside is better for their presence.


TexWisGirl · April 22, 2011 at 3:16 am

Hi Adam. Thanks for finding my blog today and following. These are amazing pictures! That's a lot of wool! What beautiful crows!

Amila Kanchana · April 23, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Hello Adam,What made these birds that rare? Great images! Happy to hear their population would sustain.

theconstantwalker · April 23, 2011 at 7:29 pm

Lovely images a brilliant bird to see.
I am so jealous.
To see Choughs I have to drive to Anglesey but they are well worth the effort.

J · April 24, 2011 at 12:42 am

Lovely Chough shots. Someone told me they'd seen 23 Choughs together inland on Gower a while back. Think the most I've seen together is 13!

Adam Tilt · April 26, 2011 at 11:55 am

texwisgirl – No problem and thanks.

Amila – I believe it was mostly due to a lack of habitat and persecution. They have very specific requirements when it comes to feeding and areas of cliff often have to be carefully managed to ensure that they can survive.

Andrew – Thanks and they really are cracking birds. I feel privileged every time I see them.

Jeremy – Thanks. 23 Choughs is a massive number. That must have been most if not all of the birds on the peninsula!

grahambbb · September 30, 2019 at 9:36 pm

My wife and I have been observing them occasionally on the Glamorgan Heritage Coast for 10 or 15 years, along with the ravens and peregrines.
Aren't we lucky?

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