An incredible record was beaten by a cuckoo in terms of distances traveled. A new Live Science article hints at this in relation to studies carried out by a team of researchers from the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO). The latter launched a new project, the Cuckoo Tracking Project, in 2011 to analyze the behaviors, particularly migratory ones, of common cuckoos (Cuculus canorus). They then tagged several of these birds to monitor during their intercontinental travel.
These birds, in fact, are able to move from the areas of the African Sahara desert to England. One specimen, in particular, named by the researchers PJ, struck the same scientists of the Cuckoo Tracking Project. This bird has been shown to have completed five migrations over the past five years, crossing the Sahara 10 times and passing through the Atlas Mountains in Africa and then through the European Pyrenees.
As Chris Hewson, one of the scientists involved in the project, explains, it is an “extraordinary and unusual” specimen. In fact, cuckoos usually migrate to Africa through Spain or Italy and, more or less, follow the same route. PJ, on the other hand, has chosen both routes, one that goes in between. During his travels, in practice, he stopped in both Spain and Italy. In total, over the past five years, this specimen has traveled more than 80,000 kilometers, about a fifth of the average distance between the Earth and the Moon.
Notes and insights
- PJ the Cuckoo breaks records | BTO – British Trust for Ornithology (IA)
- Cuckoo bird has crossed the Sahara 10 times in 5 years | Live Science (IA)