BTO Satellite tag shows Chris the Cuckoo has travelled 60,000 miles in four years

Chris the cuckoo

Chris the cuckoo - Credit: Archant

An intrepid cuckoo tagged by bird experts four years ago has exceeded all expectations by travelling more than 60,000 miles - the equivalent of twice around the world.

Chris the cuckoo has taken in 22 different countries since he was tagged by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) in 2011 as part of a project to track bird migratory habits.

Chris - named after TV wildlife presenter Chris Packham - has taken in 22 countries after being one of five cuckoos fitted with satellite tags.

Three of the birds were lost in the first year of the study.

And the tags were believed to have a lifespan of around two to three years.


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But Chris has stayed on the BTO radar ever since his first trip to the Congo rainforest in central Africa.

Chris' latest tracking data revealed he is back in the Congo for winter.

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Dr Chris Hewson, lead scientist on the project at the BTO, said, 'Chris the Cuckoo is a real hero of ornithology, the tag he is carrying has helped us to understand the pressures that he and our Cuckoos face on what is a pretty hazardous migration to Africa.

'He has survived sand storms, hail storms, an exceptionally cold, wet summer, predators over the Mediterranean and in the Congo rainforest, and has crossed the Sahara Desert a whopping seven times since we started following him. We have everything crossed in the hope that he makes it back next spring.'

Chris Packham, TV Wildlife Presenter and President of the BTO, said, 'Chris deserves a medal for what he has given to the understanding of bird migration, he is a truly remarkable bird.

'But even more remarkable is the way in which BTO scientists use the very latest technology to produce contemporary science and then communicate it to a wide audience.

'It would be so easy to lose this in scientific journals but thanks to the BTO we can all watch enthralled as Chris and all of the other satellite tagged Cuckoos make their way across the globe.'

You can follow Chris, and fifteen other satellite tagged Cuckoos on BTO's website. The BTO Cuckoos can be sponsored from £10. Visit www.bto.org/cuckoos.

Have you got a wildlife story for us? Let us know by emailing andrew.fitchett@archant.co.uk

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