Chris is the only tagged Cuckoo that has provided data for three consecutive years. Chris has given pioneering insight into Cuckoo wintering grounds, migration routes and speed of travel. Find out more about why we're celebrating Chris

Chris's journey from 01 May 2014 to 16 December 2014

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Chris heads south to Angola once again! - 12 Dec 2014

Having previously wintered in the swamp forests in Congo during the first two years of the project (2011/12 and 2012/13), Chris surprised us last year with his movement to Angola. We were intrigued to see whether he would stay in the swamp forests again this year or head further south to where he spent the later part of last winter. Now we have our answer! Signals received yesterdy afternoon revealed that he was once again in Angola, having travelled 685km (425 miles). Both he and Skinner are currently a bit further north-east of the locations they chose last year. 

Chris in Congo - 21 Oct 2014

Chris is once again in Congo in the swamp forests in which he has spent previous winters. He made the journey over the 15 and 16 October to reach the Central African Republic, continuing on to Congo and reaching his current location, close to the Site Lac Tele- Likouala Aux Herbes, on 18 October.  Last year, he left the area at the beginning of December, having only spent one month there, and travelled even further south to reach Angola, where Skinner also spent the winter. Skinner has recently returned to Angola this year and we will have to wait and see whether Chris stays in the swamp forests or once again moves further south to join him. 

A period of recovery - 12 Sep 2014

With most cuckoos now in the Sahel region, we're entering a fairly quiet period in the annual cycle of the tagged cuckoos with less movement than during the migration season.

Birds who completed their desert crossing will spend time in the Sahel recovering their body condition, and some may stay quite a long time. In previous years, cuckoos have stayed in this area for as much as several months, while others spend a shorter amount of time before moving south into the humid zone forests.

The eastern Sahel in Chad and south Sudan has received plenty of rain recently, and thus conditions are likely good for cuckoos. Northern Cameroon was slightly drier than average in August, and so cuckoos such as Derek, Dudley, Stanley, and Emsworthy may be moving on if foraging conditions aren't suitable.

Chris returns to Lake Chad - 9 Sep 2014
Chris has finally crossed the Sahara and is now in the Lake Chad area. By the early morning of 4 September he was heading south over the Sahara in central Libya, suggesting he had left Sicily on the evening of 2 September. By late morning on the 6, he had completed his desert crossing and was at  his current location at the northern end of Lake Chad. From his northern Italy stopover to Lake Chad, Chris moved over 3,500 km over 5 days in his fourth successful autumn migration.
 
His current position in the Sahel is about 350 km further west than he was in 2011 and 2013 following his desert crossing, but is quite similar to his location following his 2012 crossing. These differences might potentially be attributed to wind drift. It remains to be seen whether Chris rejoins his previous routes south upon leaving Lake Chad, as he did in 2012. Chris will likely stay at his current position to recover condition following his migratory journey. In 2012, he was in the Lake Chad area for about a month before moving further south and east in Chad.
 
Chris alive and on the move - 3 Sep 2014
Chris has finally moved south from the lower Po valley! A series of signals received on 1 September show that he left soon after dark and that he was approaching the west end of Sicily around first light yesterday morning. We expect he will have remained on Sicily before leaving for his desert crossing yesterday evening or tonight. 
 
Chris is currently on a schedule about 6 weeks later than in previous years. We aren't sure why this is but one possible explanation is that he could have been struggling to accumulate the necessary fat deposits due to high parasite loads or some other reduction in body condition. Having been born in 2010, Chris is now quite old for a cuckoo - age-related declines in migratory performance have been noted in other migratory birds, such as Barn Swallows.