Cuckoos - the ambassadors for science and environmental education project

Five cuckoos were fitted with transmitters in Khurkh Valley. The birds have been named by local schools who will follow “their” birds to learn about the migration route and wintering grounds of cuckoos.

From 4-8 June 2019, five cuckoos – one Oriental Cuckoo and four Common Cuckoos – were fitted with transmitters around Khurkh Bird Banding Center in northern Mongolia.  The birds have been named by local schools who will follow “their” birds to learn about the migration route and wintering grounds of these iconic birds. You can follow them, too, by checking this page Mongolia Cuckoo Project and by following @BirdingBeijing on Twitter.

BTO's Mongolia Cuckoo Project Team arrives in Khurkh after an eight-hour drive from Ulan Bator on 5 June 2019. At the site they were greeted by Mongolian team and volunteer bird ringers. Researchers deployed their first transmitter to their first cuckoo next day and it was turned out to be Oriental Cuckoo. No one had tracked this species before. It’ll be fascinating to see where it spends the summer and to discover the wintering grounds and migration route of this poorly known species. 

After three days in the field deploying all five transmitters, the Mongolia Project Team visited local schools in Khurkh and Binder to speak to students about the cuckoo tracking project and to ask them to nominate names for the cuckoos. Students suggested many anmes and later voted. Finally the names of cuckoos revealed as Nomad, Khurkh, Namjaa, Bayan, and Onon.  


As of 11 November 2019, BAYAN has crossed the Equator, making him the first (known) of the Mongolian Cuckoos to reach the southern hemisphere! ONON is moving south in the last few days as well. ONON is in southern Ethiopia and BAYAN (PROSPER) is in the Samburu region of Kenya, probably mixing with elephants and lions! NAMJAA remains in India and we are still awaiting further signals from KHURKH or NOMAD.

The Mongolia Cuckoo Project is a joint initiative by the Wildlife Science and Conservation Center (WSCC) of Mongolia and the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), facilitated by Birding Beijing and generously supported by the Oriental Bird Club and Mr Dick Newell.

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