27 April 2019


White-winged Choughs are mud nest builders; they are also maniac birds. Mainly black with white under-wings and wing tips, they have a mean curved beak as well. They hang out in family groups of a couple of dozen birds, and the top dog is pushy. Very.

I saw one head Chough pick up a stainless steel screw and bash it against our window once. Must have thought its reflection was a rival. It had pebbles at its feet to fight the guy it thought it saw there. Birds using tools are freaky. But, if ever there was a bird with malicious intent it’s White-winged Choughs. They give me the same tingle in my spine I had when I first saw the Alfred Hitchcock movie The Birds. 
These black birds are big, with ruby red eyes and a stride like a mad muscle bound bouncer who is particularly aggressive. 
Just after Easter, a gang of White-winged Choughs harried all the other birds out of the backyard and stole the peacock food I’d left there.
When I shooed them away they only moved around the house. Not to be intimidated, they began playing Follow-the-Leader in single file. Some flew away while the three brave ones that stayed dived into the birdbath.
Only one Chough can fit comfortably. Instead three Choughs shake, prattle and sway so much they use all the water.

After the black bird trio has had a good wetting down, I refill the bath. This gang of birds was drying off in the sun, sorting through garden mulch for insects to gobble. They flew away when I came close, hissing and scratching out some serious abuse.

Choughs aren’t usually my favourite bird, but I wait in hiding for a couple of minutes to see what happens.
The head honcho, top-of-the-tree, alpha-male Chough makes a come back for a shower bath of his own. 

Special privileges aside, watching this guy and the other Choughs washing was a treat.


  1. Brilliant Thérèse! I love the bathing videos.

  2. Ta very much Deep Dene. When the WW Choughs get in they don't hold back on a really good wash. I've seen five in there at once, it ended in a cock fight, or a bird fight at least. WW's love to make a splash.