Alpine Chough (Pyrrhocorax graculus) - wiki
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[Photo] English: Alpine Chough at the Warscheneck, Upper Ausria. Deutsch: Alpendohle am Warscheneck, Totes Gebirge, ??ber??sterreich. Date 17.07.2007. Author Peter Krimbacher
The Alpine Chough (Pyrrhocorax graculus), also called Yellow-billed Chough (pronounced t????f) is a Eurasian member of the crow family, Corvidae.
It breeds locally in the highest mountains of southern Europe, the Alps, across central Asia and India. It is resident throughout its range. A prehistoric subspecies that lived in Europe during the last ice age was described as Pyrrhocorax graculus vetus.
Though by no means rare, it has disappeared in recent centuries from some areas at the periphery of its range, for example the Polish Tatra Mountains (Tomek & Boche??ski 2005). Given that it readily coexists with humans and utilizes modified habitat such as areas around ski resorts, local declines might be better explained by habitat loss due to global warming which would cause the preferred Alpine climate zone to shift or, dependent on the locality, disappear entirely, than by direct destruction of habitat.
It is closely related to the Red-billed Chough (Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax) and shares its glossy black plumage and red legs. However, the Alpine Chough's long curved bill is yellow rather than red.
It is slightly smaller at 36-39 cm length and a 65-74 cm wingspan, but has a relatively longer tail and shorter wings. It has a similar buoyant and easy flight.
This bird is often gregarious and fearless. Its loud "zrrrrr" call is quite different from that of the Red-billed Chough (Laiolo et al. 2004).
Its food consists of insects in summer and berries or food scraps, especially around ski resorts, in winter. A cavity or cliff ledge is a site for the bird's nest.
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