Returning the red-billed chough to Jersey

Choughs are believed to have become extinct in Jersey over a century ago due to the loss of clifftop farmland, which led to the increase of bracken-covered clifftops instead of hedge-lined grassy fields.

The bracken grows quickly and makes it nearly impossible for coastal birds and other species to feed. As part of the Birds On The Edge project, we have been working to reintroduce the red-billed chough to Jersey since 2010. The island's wild population now stands at just over 40 birds.

Chough in flight
Animal facts

Key facts about the red-billed chough

Card Icon

I'm found in Europe, Asia and North Africa

There are also chough populations in the Canary Islands, India, China and Ethiopia.

Card Icon

I'm also known as the 'sea crow'

Choughs get their alternative name as they like to live near coastal cliffs.

 

Card Icon

I was extinct in Jersey for 100 years

Choughs disappeared from the island around 1900 and were reintroduced in 2013.

2013

first choughs released

2015

first wild-hatched chough

40

wild choughs in Jersey

Durrell has returned red-billed choughs to Jersey after over 100 years of extinction

Our conservation work

What we're doing to help protect red-billed choughs

Location

Bringing back the chough

Change of landscape and human lifestyle led to the disappearance of the red-billed chough from Jersey over 100 years ago. We knew the birds belonged on the island, but would they thrive in the changed environment?
What we're doing to help
Reintroducing choughs to Jersey has been a long-term project that involves land management, captive breeding and intensive monitoring to ensure choughs can flourish on the island.
Food

Restoring native pastures

Bracken, a rapidly growing fern, previously dominated the clifftops and covered the choughs’ feeding sites.
What we're doing to help
Land management programmes control the growth of bracken and remove it from the landscape through monitored grazing using Manx loaghtan sheep, allowing feeding sites to flourish.
Rainforest

Adapting to life in the wild

Captive-bred choughs that are released into the wild are used to living in aviaries, with regular feeding times and constant protection from other wildlife and the weather.
What we're doing to help
Choughs are released at an age when they are most able to adapt to life in the wild. The released birds are given supplemental feeds in a protected aviary that they are free to visit when they are unable to source food elsewhere.
Choughs At Sorel 2021 09

Birds On The Edge

Along with our partners, the National Trust for Jersey and the States of Jersey Department of Environment, the Birds On The Edge project works to restore and manage areas of coastal habitat across the island, breed and then release red-billed choughs, and closely monitor the reintroduced birds.

Choughs are the flagship bird of the project, and we hope that with long-term continuous management of the island, we will see more than just choughs returning to Jersey. 

Find out more about the reintroduction of the red-billed chough on the Birds On The Edge website.

Choughs At Sorel 2021 16

Meet our charismatic red-billed choughs with their striking red beaks and feet!

At Jersey Zoo, you can find the choughs in their aviary on the bank of the stream leading to the flamingo valley. You will often hear their loud ‘chee-ow’ calls before you see them! During breeding season you may see them collecting twigs to create their nests. Some of the wild choughs in Jersey have been seen collecting sheep’s wool from farms to line their nests. Be sure to look out for the flock on Jersey's northern coasts!

Support our work