Chough Bird is a rather elegant corvid, with a uniform glossy black plumage. Chough Bird has a fairly long, slender and gently decurved red bill, and longish red legs. In flight it reveals broad wings with blunt wingtips, the primary feathers showing as clearly defined deep 'fingers', and is highly acrobatic and very much at home in the air, soaring on flat wings, tumbling around on the updraughts or making steep dives on folded wings. The wings cover the tail at rest. Juveniles are identifiable by their dull yellow bill.
Chough Bird is a bird with a wide distribution across the Palaearctic, often breeding in high mountainous areas but also occurring along the Atlantic coasts of Scotland, Wales, Ireland and Brittany, and at lower elevations generally in Spain and other parts of the Mediterranean. In recent years, Chough Bird has recolonized Cornwall after an absence of 50 years, thanks to careful habitat management. Its favoured habitat is rocky coasts and sea cliffs, with sea caves and deep clefts required for nesting, and it will also use quarries. For feeding it needs a short sward, which can be provided by grazing animals keeping cliff-top vegetation to a minimum and thereby allowing Choughs access to invertebrate prey in the soil. Birds will also forage more widely, in stubble and ploughed fields.
The familiar call is a bright, downward-inflected and rather explosive "chiaow" or "piao", also given as a more subdued "chiaah" or "kyaah" and often accompanied by simultaneous wing- and tail-flicking when calling from the ground. The call of Chough Bird is frequently given in flight, when it may serve as an advertising call. Other variants are given, and there is also a rarely heard and subdued twittering song, in the manner of several other corvid species. The author speculates that if the name of this species is meant to be onomatopoeic, as claimed, then it should be pronounced 'Chow' as opposed to 'Chuff'!