clough defined in 1930 yearclough - Clough;
clough - Black with purple and green reflections; beak and feet coral- red. Length, sixteen inches.
It is melancholy to think that this interesting and extremely handsome bird has been diminishing in numbers for a long period, and is now become so rare that, unless strong measures to secure its protection be at once taken, its eventual extinction in this country must be regarded as merely a question of time. Formerly it bred in many inland localities in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland; but from all its ancient nesting-cliffs in the interior of these countries it has long vanished, and, like the raven, which has also fallen on evil days, is now only found in a few spots on the rock-bound coasts where high, precipitous cliffs afford it some chance of hatching its eggs and continuing the species for a few years longer.
A few pairs are still found breeding each year on the coast of Cornwall, where it was formerly abundant, and on this account was called the Cornish chough. It also breeds in limited numbers in a few other situations: - at Lundy Island, the rocks of the Calf of Man, on the coast of Wales, and at Islay and a few other situations on the coast of Scotland.
In size, flight, language, habits, and general appearance, the chough comes nearest to the jackdaw, but is a much handsomer bird, its uniform intense black plumage and long, curved, coral bill, and red legs and feet, giving it a distinguished and somewhat singular appearance. Its cry, uttered both when perched and on the wing, differs only from that of the daw in its more ringing and melodious sound. The flight is easy and buoyant, and the birds are fond of aerial pastimes, similar to those of the jackdaw, during which the members of the company pursue one another in play, and frequently tumble down from a great height through the air as if disabled They feed inland, often going long distances from the cliffs they inhabit to seek their food, like rooks, in the meadows and pasture-lands. They also follow the plough to pick up the worms and grubs, like the rook and black-headed gull, and are said to eat carrion, berries, and grain. On the sands and rocks they feed on the animal refuse left by the tides.
The chough, like the daw, lives always in communities; the two species may often be found breeding near each other and associating in flocks. The nest is placed in a hole or crevice in the rocks in the least accessible part of the cliff. It is built of sticks and twigs, and lined with grass, fur, wool, and other soft substances. Four to six eggs are laid, in ground-colour white, faintly tinged with blue or yellowish, and spotted and blotched with various shades of grey and pale brown.
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