The Chough is a red-legged bird of the crow family, regarded as the national bird of Cornwall. In the Cornish language it is called
According to a folktale, choughs were once black all over. The wizard Merlin had a pet chough which could understand human speech. One night a schemer named Murdoch sought to murder Arthur's queen. The chough attacked and killed him. When Arthur arrived on the scene, the bird's beak and legs were red with the malefactor's blood. The loyal fowl was knighted at once by Arthur. Since then, all choughs' legs have been red.
After Arthur's death, it was believed he turned into a chough. A variant of the legend has it that he turned into a raven. One source asserts he turned into a puffin.