The Chough is a spectacle for the eye in its iridescent black dress with green and purple reflections, the long scimiter-like coral bill and bright legs to match, flashing about the sombre basalt headlands of Cornwall, striding like a Rook among the surf-fretted rocks or darting along a stretch of level sand almost as quickly as a Sandpiper.
The movements are decidedly Daw-like, but the flight is more buoyant and effortless and the volatile nature of the bird sends it careering down the precipices with half closed wings into the maw of the fanged rocks below to sweep with a lightening turn into some cave or hollow at the foot of those black towers of Plutonic stone.
Like the rest of the Corvine race, the Chough is temperamentally sportive and enjoys idling about in the air, sailing briskly half-way up the giddy heights with up-curled tips of the primaries and in a Lapwing delirium of joy twisting and curving in a series of fantastic diagrams and then tumbling downwards like a raven.
The rock-face with a pair of Choughs disporting in its shadows relaxes its grimness.
This description is by H.J. Massingham in his book ‘Birds of the Seashore’ . Read more here.