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2012-03-30
Sad News - Clement missing, presumed dead.


Clement the Common Cuckoo is missing in action. One of the five British Common Cuckoos fitted with satellite tags by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), Clement's last known location was in Cameroon, showing that he had begun his journey back to Britain. On 25th February 2012 the BTO received their last transmission from Clement. Clement was tagged almost a year ago at the nature reserve adjoining the headquarters of the BTO in Thetford.

He was the first British Cuckoo known to take the western migration route, crossing from Spain instead of from Italy, making ornithological history as he did so. From North Africa he made his way to Senegal, again becoming the first British Cuckoo to be recorded here, before joining the other four tagged birds in the Congo rainforest. Until this, the wintering quarters of British Cuckoos had remained a mystery for over 100 years of migration research.

The Cuckoo tracking project is being funded by the BBC Wildlife Fund, Essex & Suffolk Water, BTO supporters and individual sponsors.

 

The Common Cuckoo - Cuculus canorus

 

The Common Cuckoo - Cuculus canorus - formerlyEuropean Cuckoo is a widespread summer migrant to Europe, Asia and winters in Africa. Breeds across Eurasia, in the non-breeding season it heads south it to sub-Saharan Africa.

Description

Adult males are slate-grey with barred underparts. The iris, orbital ring, the base of the bill and short legs and feet are yellow. Grey adult females have a pinkish-buff or buff background to the barring and neck sides. Rufous phase adult females have reddish-brown upperparts with dark grey or black bars. Common Cuckoos in their first autumn have variable plumage. Some are have strongly-barred chestnut-brown upperparts, while others are plain grey. Rufous-brown birds have heavily-barred upperparts with some feathers edged with creamy-white.

Call

The male's call, goo-ko, is usually given from an open perch. The female has a loud bubbling call.

Food

Diet consists of insects, especially hairy caterpillars.

Breeding

Common Cuckoos first breed at two years old. The Common Cuckoo is a brood parasite. It lays its eggs in the nests of other birds. At the appropriate moment, the hen cuckoo flies down to the host's nest, pushes one egg out, lays an egg and flies off. The whole process takes about 10 seconds. A female may visit up to 50 nests during a breeding season. The chick hatches after 11–13 days. It methodically evicts all host progeny from host nests. It is a much larger bird than its hosts, and needs to monopolise the food supplied by the parents. The chick will roll the other eggs out of the nest by pushing them with its back over the edge.

Conservation Status – Least concern

Not threatened, in fact it is widespread and common in Southern Africa. In the UK a marked decline in numbers.

Birdwatching

Cuckoos can be seen throughout the UK, but are especially numerous in southern and central England. Adults arrive in late March or April and depart in July or August, with young birds leaving a month or so later.

Ask Aves Birding Tours/Safaris/Adventures to create a custom tour for you or book on one of the following  scheduled Aves Birding Tours/Safaris/Adventures: -

Aves Eastern Cape Birding Tour / Safari /Adventure.

Aves Highlands / Tembe Birding Tour / Safari / Adventure.

Aves KZN Birding Tour / Safari / Adventure.

Aves North East Birding Tour / Safari / Adventure.

Aves North West Birding Tour / Safari / Adventure.

 

 

 

 


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