EAZA Ex situ programme (EEP)

Red-billed chough

(Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax)

 David Woolcock
Institution:  Paradise Park

EAZA Member Area


Paradize Park logo

IUCN Red List status


IUCN Red List LC


Programme roles

Direct Conservation icon  Insurance
The wild population is declining and there is an increasing demand to potentially use ex situ population for restoring wild populations in former ranges across the UK. There is already a ex situ population in the UK that is potentially genetically more diverse than some of the wild populations. 

 Conservation Education
Choughs are native European species that live in rare maritime grasslands. They also play an integral part in cultural heritage (Shakespeare’s King Lear has many choughs in it for example) which can be used for public awareness raising. 

Jersey Zoo is heavily involved in the Birds on the Edge: Jersey Chough restoration project in which choughs are fitted with GPS trackers and are training in recalling methods. This is to better understand the dispersal of birds and movement between populations. 

 Research (husbandry)
More research into the breeding ecology and biology of choughs will help to better breed them. 

 Research (Taxonomic) 
Research into the taxonomy is needed before moving choughs between different populations. 

 Research (Veterinary)
Research in treatment techniques and post release survival can help inform reintroduction projects and make them more successful. Choughs can suffer from Internal Parasite Burdens but this is usually a secondary issue that is associated with stress. 
Indirect Conservation icon  Fundraising
Fundraising is needed to support public engagement activities and facilitate academic research that links to chough habitat restoration.

 Conservation Education
The loss of habitat for choughs is linked to intensification of agricultural practices . There it is important to highlight the importance of conservation of coastal habitats and wildlife friendly farming practices.
Non Conservation icon  Exhibit
Chough make excellent exhibit animals. They are intelligent and charismatic and can be mixed with other species. Choughs are agile fliers and benefit from high and large enclosures. 

Programme numbers

In September 2021, the Red-billed chough EEP had 140 animals in 21 institutions.

Programme highlights


LIFE logo with white paddingThis work is supported by the European Union LIFE NGO funding programme. The European Union is not responsible for the views displayed in publications and/or in conjunction with the activities for which the grant is used.