Chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax, Crave à bec rouge.

8 occurrences (2 choughs, 3 chough, 1 choughs', 1 chuff, 1 chewet)

Early written records are confused because the name "chough" is used both for this species and the jackdaw. It seems to have been common within the limits of rocky coast with short turf and mountaining sheepwalk until the end of the eighteenth century.

In King Lear, the scenery in which Shakespeare introduces the chough - Dover cliffs - fits this description very well. All the elements of the landscape are given to assess the scale in comparison with a world in reduction: crows and choughs / beetles; fishermen / mice; bark / buoy.

Come on, sir; here's the place: stand still. How fearful

And dizzy 'tis to cast one's eyes so low!

The crows and choughs that wing the midway air

Show scarce so gross as beetles; half way down

Hangs one that gathers sampire, dreadful trade!

Methinks he seems no bigger than his head.

The fishermen that walk upon the beach

Appear like mice, and yon tall anchoring bark

Diminish'd to her cock, her cock a buoy

Almost too small for sight. The murmuring surge,

That on th'unnumber'd idle pebble chafes,

Cannot be heard so high. I'll look no more,

Lest my brain turn, and the deficient sight

Topple down headlong.

(4 6 11-24)

The chough is another instance of bird that can be taught to talk and Shakespeare relates them to noise, their name is then most suitable because of the maximum sound of the affricate consonant. In The Winter's Tale, he clearly plays on this:

and had not the old man come in with a whoo-bub [hubbub] against his daughter and the King's son, and scared my choughs from the chaff

(4 4 616-9)

(daws are also related to chaff, see DAW).