Alpine / Yellow billed chough

The master aerial diver and swooper

Dibyendu Ash

The Alpine or Yellow-billed Chough is a fascinating bird known for its striking appearance and unique adaptations to alpine environments. Sporting an all-glossy black plumage, this bird stands out with its distinctive yellow decurved beak, which adds a splash of color to its otherwise dark appearance. Additionally, its fingered broad wings and red legs further contribute to its distinctiveness, making it a charismatic species in its habitat.

These non-migratory residents are well adapted to life in high mountains, where they can be found inhabiting alpine meadows, scree slopes, and even near ski resorts. Their range extends across the Alps and Southern Europe, including some Mediterranean islands, as well as parts of Central Asia and North Africa. Despite the harsh conditions of their habitat, Alpine Choughs have evolved specialized behaviors and physiological traits to thrive in these environments.

Alpine Choughs are highly social birds that forage in flocks, utilizing their keen intelligence and sharp eyesight to locate prey. Their diet is diverse, consisting of small animals such as insects, eggs, and discarded human food scraps, particularly in areas frequented by tourists. During the winter months, when food sources become scarcer, they switch to consuming seeds, fruits, and berries, demonstrating their adaptability to changing environmental conditions.

One of the most remarkable aspects of Alpine Choughs is their vocalizations. Unlike most crows, their calls are characterized by exclusive high-pitched and sweet notes, which are often heard echoing through the mountainous landscapes they inhabit. These vocalizations serve various functions, including communication within the flock, establishing territories, and coordinating group activities.

However, despite their resilience and adaptability, Alpine Choughs face long-term threats, particularly from climate change and habitat loss. Global warming is causing shifts in their habitat, forcing them to move to even higher and harsher altitudes in search of suitable conditions.

Distribution

Country
Population est.
Status
Year
Comments
Afghanistan
2016
Albania
2016
Breeding
Andorra
2016
Armenia
2016
Breeding
Austria
2016
Azerbaijan
2016
Belgium
2016
Non-Breeding
Bhutan
2016
Bosnia And Herz.
2016
Breeding
Bulgaria
2016
China
2016
Croatia
2016
Cyprus
2016
Non-Breeding
Czechia
2016
Non-Breeding
France
2016
Georgia
2016
Breeding
Germany
2016
Breeding
Gibraltar
2016
Non-Breeding
Greece
2016
Hungary
2016
Non-Breeding
India
2016
Iran
2016
Iraq
2016
Israel
2016
Breeding
Italy
2016
Kazakhstan
2016
Breeding
Kyrgyzstan
2016
Breeding
Lebanon
2016
Liechtenstein
2016
Montenegro
2016
Breeding
Morocco
2016
Nepal
2016
North Macedonia
2016
Pakistan
2016
Poland
2016
Non-Breeding
Portugal
2016
Non-Breeding
Russia
2016
Breeding
Serbia
2016
Breeding
Slovakia
2016
Non-Breeding
Slovenia
2016
Spain
2016
Switzerland
2016
Syria
2016
Non-Breeding
Tajikistan
2016
Breeding
Turkey
2016
Turkmenistan
2016
Breeding
Uzbekistan
2016
Breeding

Did you know?

  • They are fond of sultanas
  • They hide their food and utilize it during tough times.

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd / Flock

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No