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PJ is named in memory of Pamela Joy Miller who passed on her passion for birds to her nephews and nieces and their children - now all her family can follow PJ's journey and think of Pam

Cuckoo 161318 portrait
Tuesday, June 7, 2016 - 06:00
Tagging Location:
King's Forest, Suffolk, England
Age when found:
Satellite Tag No.:
Wing Length (mm):

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PJ's journey from 01 May 2020 to 12 April 2021

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PJ's movements

19 Mar 2021 - PJ still in Ivory Coast

PJ, who is on his fifth tracked annual migration to the UK from Africa, has spent the last couple of weeks in Ivory Coast. The rains are well established in the area that he's stopped off in - in fact, there's been a bit more than expected over the past month (up to 75mm). This should mean there's plenty of food for him. We don't know exactly what he'll be feeding on but expect that this will include some adult insects that have been aestivating over the dry season and have emerged in response to the start of the rains.

The area PJ is in was originally deciduous forest that has been transformed into secondary growth - this transformation might originally have been beneficial for Cuckoos, but depending on the extent of tree loss, it could reduce habitat quality for them. As it's now a few weeks since the rains commenced, it's likely that in addition to emergent insects, there could also be plenty of caterpillars (Cuckoos preferred prey on the breeding grounds) for him to eat by now. He's likely to use this fuel to put on fat amounting to at least 50% of his lean body mass, as well as enlarging his flight muscles, before migrating over the Sahara. He usually spends most of March in Ivory Coast before heading north across the Sahara.

01 Mar 2021 - PJ arrives in Ivory Coast

PJ is sticking to his usual flight plan so far this year and after a brief stop in Ghana has flown a further 507 km (315 miles) west to Ivory Coast. He is now close to the river Nzi, approximately 100 km north east of the capital Yamoussoukro. He knows Ivory Coast well having stopped here in every year we have tracked him. In some years he has spent time in the far west of the country, close to the border with Liberia. We expect him to spend a few weeks here, during which time he will be feeding up in preparation for his Sahara crossing. 

27 Feb 2021 - PJ visits Togo and Ghana

Our longest-surviving tagged Cuckoo PJ is leading the pack back to the UK this year. Over the last few days he has covered 1,392 km (865 miles), flying west from Cameroon into west Africa. By 17:21 on Wednesday evening he had arrived in Togo, but he didn't stay long and by 22:17 that night he had continued over the border into Ghana. He is currently in eastern Ghana but based on his behaviour in previous years, we don't expect him to stay here for long. His destination is likely to be Ivory Coast, which is another 725 km (450 miles) further west and he usually arrives there by early March. He usually spends most of March in Ivory Coast before heading north across the Sahara.

15 Feb 2021 - PJ in Cameroon

Since our last update PJ has flown a further 890 km (552 Miles) north from his last location in Gabon to his current location in Cameroon. He is now in an area of Guinean Savanna, near the Meng river in the south of the Adamawa region of Cameroon. He was in this same area between 3rd and 25th February 2020. In 2020 his next movement took him to Togo on his way to Ivory Coast. Over the next couple of weeks we expect PJ to cover the 2,000km (1,240 miles) journey west to Ivory Coast where he usually stops off to build up his fat reserves ready for crossing the Sahara.

04 Feb 2021 - PJ starts to move north

Over the last few weeks PJ has flown 640 km (398 miles) north from north-western Angola, first to the Teke Plateau in Congo and, soon after, over the border into eastern Gabon. In previous years PJ has remained in Angola until late January before beginning his northward migration so he is right on track. He has usually reached Ivory Coast in west Africa by early March so we expect him to keep moving north and then west over the next 2-3 weeks. He will then stop over for a few weeks before tackling the Sahara.

Past updates from PJ

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