Yellow-billed Chough

Pyrrhocorax graculus Order: Passeriformes Family: Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
Pyrrhocorax graculus Order: Passeriformes Family: Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)

Also known as the Alpine Chough, this exceptional corvid can be seen in the movie Everest raiding food stores at altitudes where virtually all the people are using supplemental oxygen. I’ve never seen one, though it does hold a place in the Guinness Book of World Records:

Alpine Chough: Highest-living bird. The highest-living bird is the alpine chough (Pyrrhocorax graculus), a species of glossy black, red-legged, yellow-beaked crow (corvid). Native to lofty inland cliffs and mountain pastures in Spain and eastward through southern Europe and northern Africa into central Asia, including Nepal, it habitually lives and breeds at altitudes of up to 6,500 m (21,325 ft) asl (above sea level), but specimens have been recorded by mountaineers scavenging as high as 8,235 m (27,018 ft).

There are only two species of chough, the second species being the more familiar common chough, P. pyrrhocorax, which is instantly distinguished from its alpine relative by virtue of its very eyecatching coral-red beak, hence its alternative English name, the red-billed chough.

There is also a distinctive Australian species of bird known as the white-winged chough, which is superficially similar to the alpine and common choughs, but this is due to convergent (parallel) evolution, because it belongs to an entirely different taxonomic family (Corcoracidae, the Australian mudnesters).

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