Beijing cuckoo completes epic Indian Ocean crossing


A male Common Cuckoo, satellite-tagged in Beijing in the summer, has completed an epic 3,700 km non-stop migration across the Indian Ocean to East Africa.

Flying from central India to Somalia, the cuckoo — named 'Skybomb Bolt' — completed the astonishing journey in just under four days, without stopping once. Even more amazingly, he did not stop on reaching the Somalian coast, continuing some 300 km inland to an area that had recently experienced rainfall, where he was last recorded on the evening of 30 October. It is likely that this 'wet' area offers good feeding opportunities.

Skybomb Bolt was the first male Beijing cuckoo to be fitted with a tag. He was caught at Hanshiqiao Wetland Park in the Shunyi District and named by pupils at the nearby Dulwich International School.

Skybomb is one of three cuckoos currently being monitored by the Beijing Cuckoo Project team. Another of the cuckoos, a female dubbed 'Flappy McFlapperson', is currently hot on the heels of Skybomb and another ocean crossing may be in the pipeline — on 31 October she was heading south-west towards Gujarat from her last recorded position in Uttar Pradesh. The third Cuckoo, Mèng zhi juan, was last noted near Chittagong, Bangladesh, in early October.

The project, in its first year, mirrors the BTO's British Cuckoo Project, which has been running since 2011. For more information please visit www.birdingbeijing.com/beijing-cuckoo-project.