The Chough Breeding Season gets off to a Flying Start in Kent as the First Eggs of the Year are Revealed

 Part of the groundbreaking conservation project to return the iconic species to the Kent skyline

A leading British wildlife conservation charity has given an exciting glimpse of its first clutch of red-billed chough eggs from this year’s breeding season.

The exclusive video, captured on a nest cam at Wildwood Trust, just outside Canterbury, shows five eggs in a nest, under the watchful eye of parents Cordelia and Clive.

The breeding pair are part of a ground-breaking project between award-winning conservation collaborators Wildwood Trust, Kent Wildlife Trust and Paradise Park, which aims to return the red-billed chough to Kent after a 200-year absence.

The latest clutch of eggs follows the successful breeding and release of chough in the county last year. The eight birds currently flying free over Dover are the first in a series of annual releases to establish a breeding population of chough in Kent.

Laura Gardner, Wildwood’s Director of Conservation, hopes they’ll be able to replicate the success of the first release when the new chicks are ready to spread their wings this Summer:

“This is another hugely important milestone for the project. We’re expecting the eggs to hatch in the coming weeks and then the hard work really begins.

From the first eggs being laid, to the hatching, rearing and fledging it’s going to be a very busy and exciting few months for the birds and the dedicated teams at Wildwood.

The eight birds from last year’s successful release are flying free and thriving and our hope is to see these fantastic birds nest-building and breeding successfully next year.”

The chough pairs at Wildwood, began nest-building in March this year. Nest building typically involves using large twigs and gradually working in smaller ones, then heather and moss and a lining of horse hair and sheep wool to complete the work.


Once the eggs are hatched the Kent chicks will eventually be joined by chicks from Paradise Park in Cornwall, which has coordinated the captive breeding programme for the species for over 30 years.

The project plan is to release between 30 and 50 chough over five years to help towards the widespread recovery of the birds and their habitat in England.

This reintroduction is only made possible through the dedicated work of conservation organisations over the past four decades. Kent Wildlife Trust has worked alongside the likes of the National Trust and White Cliffs Countryside Partnership, to restore chalk grassland habitat and reintroduce conservation grazing management across East Kent.

Paul Hadaway, Director of Conservation for Kent Wildlife Trust said:

“The chough reintroduction has been made possible through decades of chalk grassland restoration by Kent Wildlife Trust, the National Trust and the White Cliffs Countryside Partnership and supported by Kent Downs AONB with our Dover Downlands Project. With their combined efforts, and the expertise of Wildwood Trust, the release of the first cohort of birds has been a success.

“We now turn our attention to building on these efforts and the first clutch of eggs is a key moment for the project team and our supporters. The continued efforts of the conservation charities involved in the reintroduction will hopefully result in this flagship species becoming a common sight in Kent once more.”

Nationally this Kent population will be the first in a series of planned chough reintroductions along the south coast of England acting as stepping stones to join up remaining isolated and fragmented populations.

These reintroductions will increase the numbers of chough in the British Isles as well as establishing new populations that will facilitate the movement of birds between colonies, making them more sustainable and resilient.

For more on the chough reintroduction project, visit Wildwood Trust’s website