Satellite-tagged Cuckoo returns to Scotland for third summer

01 May 2014 | No. 2014-29

BB the Cuckoo is doing Scotland proud. He is back on the shores of the Loch Katrine, Stirlingshire, for his third summer. Scientists from the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) first tagged BB in the spring of 2012 to help understand why Scottish Cuckoos are doing so much better than their relatives down in England.

BB, named by the journal British Birds, arrived safely back at Loch Katrine on May 2nd. He spent the winter months in the mighty Congo Rainforest, travelling around 8,000km (5,000 miles) via West Africa, Spain and France to get back to the loch. Since his tag was first fitted he has travelled a whopping 30,000km (18,000 miles) on his migrations, and identified a route that took him across the North Sea to the Netherlands and onto Africa via Germany, Austria and Italy, making landfall in Africa, in eastern Libya. It was thought that Cuckoos avoided long flights over the sea, however BB’s North Sea crossing saw him making a 500km (300 miles) flight coast to coast.

BB isn’t the only Scottish satellite-tagged Cuckoo. Two others, Waller and Livingstone, are also back at the sites that they were first tagged in spring 2013; in the Kinloch Hills, Isle of Skye and Loch Lain Oiag, Balnacara, Highland respectively.

Ben Darvill, BTO Scotland, commented, “We’re proud of our Scottish Cuckoos. While it’s sad to know that English Cuckoos are not doing so well, hopefully our Scottish Cuckoos can help us to understand why. To be able to follow these birds once they leave Scotland is nothing short of remarkable. Their satellite signals continue to give us new information; BB and Waller both take a very similar route to the Congo but Livingstone leaves the UK via the south coast, close to the Isle of Wight and the narrowest crossing of the Channel only to spend the winter months close to the other two.”

He added: “What is even more remarkable is that anyone can follow these birds as they make these incredible journeys, just by visiting the BTO website.”

To see where these Cuckoos are right now, please visit

Notes for Editors

  1. The Scottish Cuckoos are part of a wider project in the UK to help determine what might be driving the declines of this iconic bird. The BTO are currently following nine satellite tagged Cuckoos, three are in Scotland, three are in East Anglia, one is in Wales, one is on Dartmoor and one is in Spain. All of the birds can be followed at
  2. The BTO is the UK's leading bird research charity. A growing membership and up to 60,000 volunteer birdwatchers contribute to the BTO's surveys, collecting information that underpins conservation action in the UK. The BTO maintains a staff of 100 at its offices in Thetford, Stirling, Bangor (Wales) and Bangor (Northern Ireland), who analyse and publicise the results of surveys and projects. The BTO's work is funded by BTO supporters, government, trusts, industry and conservation organisations.

Contact Details

Dr Ben Darvill
(BTO Scotland Development Coordinator)

Office: 01786 466560
(9am to 5.30pm)
Email: ben.darvill [at]

Paul Stancliffe
(BTO Media Manager)

Office: 01842 750050
(9am to 5.30pm)
Mobile: 07585 440910 (anytime)
Email: press [at]

Images are available for use alongside this News Release.
Please contact images [at] quoting reference 2014-29

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