SIGHTINGS of a rare bird are attracting enthusiasts to the Herefordshire side of the Malvern Hills.

Two young choughs were spotted on the Herefordshire Beacon yesterday (Sunday).

Choughs are among Britain's rarest birds, with little more than 300 pairs in the country.

Worcester-based birdwatcher

Brian Stretch

said yesterday: "There were remarkable scenes on the Malvern Hills late this afternoon, with two juvenile chough frequenting British Camp.

"Largely feeding on the Herefordshire side of the hill, they spent a short while just inside Worcestershire, thereby constituting the first county record since 1826!"

The chough lives on short, grazed grassland and coastal heathland where it probes the ground with its long, red bill for insects, according to the

Wildlife Trusts


Acrobatic in flight, it has a 'chee-ow' call. The chough builds nests in small colonies in crevices and fissures on rock ledges and cliff faces, and sometimes in abandoned buildings.

Looking like a small, glossy black crow, the chough is distinguished from the similar jackdaw by its long, curved, red bill, red legs and entirely black plumage.

The chough is the symbol of Cornwall. It is on the county's coat of arms and, according to legend King Arthur turned into a chough on his death.