Family Crows and Jays (Corvidae)

Least Concern

Yellow-billed Chough (Pyrrhocorax graculus)


French: Chocard à bec jaune German: Alpendohle Spanish: Chova piquigualda
Other common names: Alpine Chough

Corvus Graculus


, 1766,

Swiss Alps, Switzerland


Hybrids with P. pyrrhocorax very rarely reported. Geographical variation slight; forsythi may be better included in digitatus. Three subspecies tentatively recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. g. graculus (Linnaeus, 1766) – Morocco (Rif and Atlas Ranges), Spain (Cantabrian Mts and Pyrenees), Corsica, throughout Alps, NC Italy (Apennines), and E through Dinaric Mts, Albania, Greece (including Crete), W Bulgaria and N Turkey to Caucasus region and N Iran.
  • P. g. digitatus Ehrenberg, 1833 – #RS & SE Turkey, S to Lebanon and Mt Hermon, E across N Iraq to SW Iran (Zagros Mts).
  • P. g. forsythi Stoliczka, 1874 – C Asia from C & N Afghanistan NE through Pamirs and patchily on through Tien Shan and Altai to Sayan Mts and, in S, from WC & N Pakistan (including isolated population in N Baluchistan) E in Himalayas to Nepal, Bhutan and extreme W Arunachal Pradesh, and C & SW China.
  • Descriptive notes

    34–38 cm; male 194–277 g, female 160–254 g. Medium-sized, relatively small-headed corvid with fairly long tail, short bill slightly decurved; in flight,... read more


    Typical call distinctive and unlike that of other corvids, including P. pyrrhocorax (... read more


    High-altitude mountain pastures with rocky crags above tree-line, descending into upper valleys in... read more

    Food and feeding

    Primarily invertebrates in spring and summer, with more varied diet in autumn and winter. In summer grasshoppers (Orthoptera), beetles (... read more


    Laying mainly early May to mid-Jun in Europe and Morocco, Jun and Jul in Lebanon and Kyrgyzstan, and breeds Apr–Jun in N Indian... read more


    Basically sedentary; performs daily altitudinal movements from hill ridges to feeding areas lower... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Locally common throughout much of wide range; this most noticeable through observations of flocks of non-breeders, generally of 30–200... read more

    Recommended citation

    Madge, S. (2020). Yellow-billed Chough (Pyrrhocorax graculus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 27 January 2020).