One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A black Eurasian and North African bird of the crow family, with a down-curved bill and broad rounded wings, typically frequenting mountains and sea cliffs.
Genus Pyrrhocorax, family Corvidae: three species, especially the red-billed chough (P. pyrrhocorax), with a long red bill, and the alpine chough (P. graculus), with a shorter yellow bill
- ‘Now the sheer cliffs are inhabited by choughs, golden eagles, feral goats and basking seals.’
- ‘The Dingle Peninsula has been highlighted as an international stronghold for an endangered Irish bird, the distinctive red-billed chough.’
- ‘The sea stretches out before them and on a clear day, the shores of Ireland can be seen and brimming with wildlife it is not unusual to spot the rare chough, wild mountain goats or a seal in the sea nearby.’
- ‘Along with barnacle geese and choughs, whisky is one of the principal magnets drawing visitors to this hugely rewarding island.’
- ‘Stackpole is also home to the chough, a much rarer bird.’
Middle English (originally denoting the jackdaw): probably imitative.
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