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Dave Lamacraft, RSPB
"The steep, high cliffs provide nest sites for the birds"
 real 56k

Monday, 11 December, 2000, 11:23 GMT
Wales a refuge for rare bird
Choughs on cliff
Wales is home to 180 pairs of rare Choughs
Wales is providing some of the last refuges in the UK for an increasingly rare member of the crow family.

The bird - known in Welsh as Bran Arthur (Arthur's Crow) or in English as the Chough - is so threatened that an application has been made for Objective One funding to help preserve their habitat.

Cliffs on Lleyn peninsula
Choughs like to nest on cliffs
They have been extinct in England since the mid 1970s and there are just 180 pairs left in Wales. That accounts for 73% of the UK total.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds is undertaking new research on the species.

The Lleyn peninsula in north Wales and Pembrokeshire in west Wales are among the last refuges of the Chough.

The birds prefer to nest in the fissures and small caves of steep, high cliffs.

They also like to nest near sheep-grazed pastures, which has grass short enough for the choughs to feed in.

Farmers in both areas still use traditional methods of managing the land, which is why the birds are thriving there.

It is planned to apply for Objective One funding to help maintain these methods and protect the birds' ideal habitat.

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