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Cornish Choughs - RSPB


During the 17th century, choughs were quite common in Wales and Scotland. However, over the years, their numbers declined because of trophy hunters, and the degradation of the chough's preferred habitat - grazed cliffs and heathlands. The removal of stock to inland pastures meant the cliff slopes scrubbed over and choufs found it increasingly difficult to find suitable feeding areas. The last Cornish chough died in 1973. For the next 28 years, choughs remained absent from Cornwell. Fortunately,  the natural return of the choughs in 2001 changed that.

Now work is continuing to encourage farmers to manage suitable habitat around the coast for choughs. Grazing is essential to maintain the short open grass in which choughs probe to find their invertebrate food. Grazing also enables a host of small flowering plants to thrive, keeps scrub from invading the open coastal grassland and heathland areas and is good for many other species too.

More information: www.rspb.gov.uk