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Updates from our Cuckoos

Read the latest updates from our Cuckoos on their epic migration between the UK and tropical Africa, or track their movements in real-time on our Cuckoo migration map.

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Livingstone moved to inactive

26 Jun 2015

We haven't received signals from Livingstones's tag since March and do not know whether he failed to return to the UK this year or whether his tag has stopped working. Everything was well according to the last signal received but it is unlikely that we will receive any further information about his journey now so he is being moved to inactive. 

Livingstone journeys on

20 Mar 2015

We suspected Livingstone might rest up near Lake Volta to recover from his  journey but instead he continued 790km (490 miles) west fairly quickly to make it to Ivory Coast by 17 March.  Since the 12 March he has flown over 2500km (1,600 miles) over 8 days.  He is now the second most westerly Cuckoo, taking into account Hennah who is not shown on the map. 

Livingstone makes mammoth flight

16 Mar 2015

At 00.27am on 15 March, Livingstone's tag transmitted from Cameroon. Over the next 18 hours he went on to fly over Nigeria, Benin and Togo to reach Ghana by 18.00pm on the same day. This mammoth trip is roughly 1450km (915 miles) long which means he was probably travelling at an average speed of just under 50mph!

He probably started off from his previous position in Central African Republic earlier that night, several hours before the first location in Cameroon, which makes the total flight about 1750km in about 22 hours. The last bit (from western Nigeria onwards) was done in the daytime, which is very unusual when Cuckoos aren't crossing the desert.

He is now north of Lake Volta, where he will likely spend some time feeding up and recovering from this incredible journey. 

Chris and Livingstone on northern edge of forest

27 Feb 2015

In the last few days Chris has moved to the northern edge of the rainforest, having left his location in Congo and travelled 630km (390 miles). He has flown across the entire breadth of the forest spanning Congo and Central African Republic, at which point it is slightly narrower than to either the east and west. 

He is now in Central African Republic where Emsworthy, Livingstone and David are currently. Livingstone has also only moved to this area recently, travelling 590km (370 miles) north-east from Gabon. We now have five Cuckoos on the edge of the forest getting ready for the next stage of their migration to West Africa, where two of our Cuckoos already are. 

Poor quality signals from Livingstone

02 Feb 2015

Livingstone has disappeared off the map but we received low quality signals from his tag on 31 January just a few days ago. Hopefully further signals soon will confirm whether he remains in the area or has been feeding up in preparation for a bigger movement. 

Livingstone moves to Gabon

08 Jan 2015

Livingstone had been in Congo but by 1 January 2015 he had made the journey to Gabon, travelling over 400km (275 miles), moving from the southern edge of the rainforest to the north.    

Livingstone on southern edge of rainforest

19 Dec 2014

Since arriving in the rainforest Livingstone has moved south and is now on the southern edge of the rainforest. He is now amongst the most southerly of all our tagged Cuckoos.

Livingstone heads south

25 Sep 2014

Signals received on 22 September show that Livingstone was moving south and was in Central African Republic. He continued moving throughout the night and into the 23 September to reach the southern most tip of Cameroon where the Northwest Congolian Lowland Forest meets areas of the Congolian Swamp Forest, 820km (510 miles) from his previous location in Chad. By the 25 September he had covered a further 475km (290 miles) and was in central Congo.

Early arrival of Cuckoos in the rainforest

30 Sep 2014

Six of the tracked cuckoos (Peter, Dudley, Emsworthy, David, Livingstone and Stanley) are already within the Congo rainforest block. The first of these to arrive was Stanley on 16 September, the earliest of the tracked cuckoos ever to arrive there by 12 days! He was followed by Emsworthy on 19 and Livingstone and Dudley on 23. Previous to this year, the earliest Cuckoo had been Chris, who arrived there on 25 September in 2012.

Since then, David arrived on 24 and Peter on 28 September 2014. David was five and four days earlier than in 2012 and 2013 respectively whilst Livingstone was 13 days earlier than last year. It is very interesting to note that all four of the cuckoos who beat the previous earliest arrival date came from northern Cameroon and the adjacent part of Chad, a region that has received over 50mm less rainfall than usual over the past month and more than 100mm less over the past three months.

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.


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