Facts and figures

Has that natural recolonisation been successful?  These figures show the slow but steady increase in the number of breeding pairs and youngsters fledged from Cornish nests.  Not all young will survive to adulthood, these are long-lived birds with a high mortality rate, especially in their first year, but the survival rates of Cornish birds are very good compared to other UK chough populations.

Year   Pairs   Young fledged
2002   1           3
2003   1           3
2004   1           4
2005   1           5
2006   2           8
2007   2           9
2008   2           6
2009   5           8     Two pairs successful, two young pairs try, one male pair
2010    6           9     Three pairs successful, two attempt, one male pair
2011     6           15    Four pairs, one pair's eggs predated, one male pair
2012    7           18    Five pairs, plus one young pair try and one male pair
2013    9           16    Five pairs productive, three young pairs try, one male pair
2014    7           17    Six pairs try, five produce young & one male pair - first year                                            for a non breeding flock in any number
2015   9           16    Nine pairs monitored, six produce young

2016   10        23   Ten pairs monitored, eight are successful

2017   12         14   Twelve potential pairs monitored, six are successful

Key dates in history
1800s A marked decline in numbers of choughs in Cornwall due to persecution and habitat decline

1930s Probably only half a dozen breeding pairs remain in Cornwall

1947 Last successful breeding recorded in Cornwall

1967 One of the last pair found dead

1973 Last chough in Cornwall seen in February 1973

1973-2000 A handful of records of choughs passing through, two birds arrived at Rame Head in 1996 and stayed for 6 months

Recent History

2001: Choughs return naturally to Cornwall – a small influx of birds recorded and three birds settle at the tip of the Lizard peninsula.

2002: Choughs successfully breed in Cornwall again

2006: Two pairs of choughs raise young in Cornwall. Also first documented record of colour ringed Welsh choughs in England (seen in Somerset and north Devon)

2007: Another ‘first’, a colour ringed Welsh bird seen in Lancashire

2008: First chough chicks born in West Penwith, Cornwall, for 150 years

2013 the original pioneering Lizard pair are no more, male killed by a rival and female disappears (the incoming new male takes on the pair's chicks and raises them successfully)

2014 Breton bird (colour ringed) seen on north Devon coast, at Godrevy and on St Agnes.

2014 New pair take up residence at Southerly Point

2016 The first choughs to breed on The Roseland for decades (a century even!).  One year old female fledges three chicks here - a very rare event.

2018 More chough sites on the North coast of  Cornwall as their range expands