The Aims of Operation Chough

The long standing aim of Operation Chough remains to see the Red-billed Chough re-established in Cornwall and able to maintain a healthy population. This aim has now been expanded to include chough populations, and re-establishments, elsewhere in the UK.

A "Chatter" of choughs (R Hales)
A “Chatter” of choughs (R Hales)

Currently, there is a growing population of closely related choughs living around Cornwall’s coast. These are descendants of three (or possibly five) wild birds, known from genetic tests to be originally from Ireland. These birds, with a few other choughs from outside the county, now represent the chough gene pool in Cornwall.

We recognise the high importance of this pioneer population and are maintaining a watching brief with regard to them, while being concerned at the small genetic diversity of the founders and the long intervals between incoming birds.

Aims & Objectives of Operation Chough

  • Increase the captive population by extending our partnerships with bird collections, and establish captive breeding groups in several locations.
  • Investigate previous historic sites outside of Cornwall to identify where chough could be re-established.
  • Make birds available for release in Cornwall to secure the future of the current population, if necessary for demographic or genetic reasons.
  • Make birds available for release elsewhere where this will support further colonisation.
  • Promote work on chough genetics.