One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Either of two choughs, the red-billed chough (Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax) and the alpine chough (P. graculus). Now only (in form "Pyrrhocorax") as the genus name.
Early 17th century; earliest use found in Philemon Holland (1552–1637), translator. From classical Latin pyrrhocorax a red-beaked crow, probably the alpine chough (Pliny) from ancient Greek πυρρο-, combining form (in e.g. πυρρόθριξ red-haired) of πυρρός reddish + κόραξ crow.
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