Cornish Biodiversity Network  -  Supporting Wildlife Recording

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Cornish Red Data (2009)

The descriptive text, below the map, is from the Cornish Red Data Book (2009). The map on this web page depicts the organisms distribution and shows the records made pre-2000 and those made since.

Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax - Cornish Chough

Range & Status

Palearctic. In British Isles restricted to Wales, Isle of Man, Islay and coastal Ireland \endash now increasing (at least 1000 pairs) after a long decline. In S. England in late 18th century present east to Kent, but range contracted westwards culminating in last successful nesting on Lundy in 1890 and in N. Devon in 1910.

Regional Distribution

Cornwall: 12 nests on the north coast in 1905, but declined until final pair near Mawgan Porth in 1967. The last report of a surviving bird was in 1973. In 1986 a pair were located at Treganhawke in SE Cornwall where they remained for several months providing useful information on their needs in Cornwall. Naturally re-colonised on The Lizard in 2002 and there were at least three pairs nesting in The Lizard and Land' s End districts in 2008.

Habitat & Ecology

Coastal cliffs with rocky crags interspersed with closely grazed grassland. Primarily insectivorous, almost entirely so in spring and summer. Pairs in the main have life-long bonds. Nests in caves, also old buildings and mine workings.


Poor or no grazing of cliff tops. Fencing in of coastal stock. Egg collecting.


Continued grazing regime over grassy coastal sward. Implement countryside stewardship grants to encourage rough grazing over other coastal grassland. 24 hour vigil of known nest sites until young have fledged.


I.J. Bennallick, S. Board, C.N. French, P.A. Gainey, C. Neil, R. Parslow, A. Spalding and P.E. Tompsett. eds. 2009. Red Data Book for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. 2nd Edition.Croceago Press.

The Cornish Red Data Book Project was led by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Federation for Biological Recorders (CISFBR). The full text and species accounts (minus the maps) are available on the CISFBR website.