Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A crowlike Old World bird of the genus Pyrrhocorax, especially P. pyrrhocorax, having black plumage and red legs.
  • noun The white-winged chough (Corcorax melanorhamphos) of Australia, which is similar in appearance to the Old World choughs.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun An oscine passerine bird of the family Corvidæ, the red-legged or Cornish crow, Fregilus or Pyrrhocorax graculus, of a black color, with red feet and beak.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Zoöl.) A bird of the Crow family (Fregilus graculus) of Europe. It is of a black color, with a long, slender, curved bill and red legs; -- also called chauk, chauk-daw, chocard, Cornish chough, red-legged crow. The name is also applied to several allied birds, as the Alpine chough.
  • noun (Her.) a bird represented black, with red feet, and beak; -- called also aylet and sea swallow.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Two species of bird of the genus Pyrrhocorax in the crow family Corvidae that breed mainly in high mountains and on coastal sea cliffs of Eurasia.
  • noun The white-winged chough, of genus Corcorax in the Australian mud-nest builders family, Corcoracidae, that inhabits dry woodlands.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a European corvine bird of small or medium size with red legs and glossy black plumage

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, any of various crowlike birds such as the chough and jackdaw; akin to Dutch kauw, jackdaw, probably ultimately imitative of the birds' calls.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English choȝe, from Old English cēo, from Proto-Germanic *kēwōn (compare Norwegian kaie), from Proto-Indo-European *geh₁(i)- ‘sing’ (compare Lithuanian giedóti, Tocharian A kāk 'he calls upon', Sanskrit गायति (gāyati)).

Examples

  • It is regarded as one of the most environmentally important stretches of countryside in Snowdonia because it is untouched by intensive farming and is home to many wildlife species of international importance such as kingfishers, otters and the chough.

    Llyndy Isaf farm in Wales saved by National Trust after £1m appeal

  • The Lancaster forces were routed and King Henry, the poor wandering lost King Henry who does not know fully where he is, even when he is in his palace at Whitehall, has run away into the moors of Northumberland, a price on his head as if he were an outlaw, without attendants, without friends, without even followers, like a borderer rebel as wild as a chough.

    The White Queen

  • The Lancaster forces were routed and King Henry, the poor wandering lost King Henry who does not know fully where he is, even when he is in his palace at Whitehall, has run away into the moors of Northumberland, a price on his head as if he were an outlaw, without attendants, without friends, without even followers, like a borderer rebel as wild as a chough.

    The White Queen

  • It's amazingly easy even for a risk-averse skier like me to glide into a pristine place of rock towers and finches, Alpine chough and vultures.

    Making Tracks Through Spain's Pyrenees

  • The Lancaster forces were routed and King Henry, the poor wandering lost King Henry who does not know fully where he is, even when he is in his palace at Whitehall, has run away into the moors of Northumberland, a price on his head as if he were an outlaw, without attendants, without friends, without even followers, like a borderer rebel as wild as a chough.

    The White Queen

  • Over 50 resident and 30 migrant species have been recorded and include one pair of breeding chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax and peregrine falcon Falco peregrinus.

    Giant's Causeway and Causeway Coast, United Kingdom

  • Among the 102 species of birds are spotted eagle Aquila clanga (VU), golden eagle Aquila chrysaetos, capercaillie Tetrao urogallus, hazel grouse Bonasa bonasia, eagle owl Bubo bubo, black woodpecker Dryocopus martius, three-toed woodpecker Picoides trydactilus and Alpine chough Pyrrhocorax graculus.

    Pirin National Park, Bulgaria

  • Three Palaearctic species, golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), chough (Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax) and ruddy shelduck (Tadorna ferruginea) breed in the Bale Mountains, their only known breeding sites outside the north temperate zone.

    Ethiopian montane moorlands

  • I have known it somehow happen, that those on whom your Imperial Majesty has lavished the most valuable expressions of your favour one day, were the next day food to fatten the chough and crow.

    Count Robert of Paris

  • Pengwinion, you Cornish chough, has this good wind blown you north? —

    Redgauntlet

Comments

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  • "'You spoke very chough to Mr Davidge, and you murmured. You must beg his pardon.'

    "After some moments of hesitation, with the men looking at one another with doubtful faces, Auden said, 'The rub is he is such a fine gentleman, sir; we are only simple chaps, and should not know what to say.'

    "'You must go up to him,' said Jack, 'and pull off your hats, as is right, and one of you must say, "We ask your pardon, sir, for answering chough, and murmuring."'"

    --Patrick O'Brian, The Letter of Marque, 146

    February 29, 2008

  • "...he contemplated the birds: a few razorbills and guillemots... some rock-doves, and a small band of choughs..."

    --Patrick O'Brian, The Letter of Marque, 161

    February 29, 2008

  • One of my favorite birds!

    February 29, 2008

  • Image can be found here.

    August 26, 2008

  • Overhead go the choughs in black, cacophonous flocks --

    Bits of burnt paper wheeling in a blown sky.

    Theirs is the only voice, protesting, protesting.

    --Sylvia Plath, "Blackberrying"

    December 25, 2012