Cuckoo Hennah wins Africa-Britain race

This video from England says about itself:

Cuckoos On Dartmoor

21 August 2013

Discover more about the story of cuckoos on Dartmoor and hear about an exciting project that will be tracking their migration to Africa.

From Wildlife Extra:

The Great Cuckoo Race is won – but not by Dudley!

We have a winner! First back to Britain after his long migration from sub-Saharan Africa was Hennah, who was satellite tagged in the New Forest last May and was named after First Lieutenant William Hennah who was on HMS Mars in the Battle of Trafalgar.

Bookmakers William Hill has been betting on the inaugural Great Cuckoo Race, involving the migration of 17 tagged cuckoos, with the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) tracking their progress from Africa to the UK.

Dudley had become the odds-on favourite after extending a commanding lead and touching down in France while all the other cuckoos were still in Africa. But Hennah came through at 25/1, arriving on 15 April after making fast progress on the final leg.

Hennah was last picked up on radar on the 9th February in Sierra Leone, but just as hope was fading that he was even alive, a faint signal was picked up from the New Forest, which steadily grew as the sunny weather charged his solar-powered tagging device.

BTO scientist in charge of the project, Chris Hewson, explained that the lack of signals over the desert, when we might expect there to be good exposure to the sun, could be down to Sahara dust on the solar panels which meant the tag was unable to charge and send a signal. Exposure to rain later would have washed this off and allowed the tag to transmit the cuckoo’s recent location.

William Hill gave a free £500 charity bet to BBC Springwatch presenter Chris Packham on the race, but his namesake Chris is still south of the Sahara and nowhere near the finish line – so William Hill instead will be doubling the amount and donating £1000 to the British Trust for Ornithology.

The bookmakers have made Dudley 2/1 favourite to win the race next year, with Hennah offered at 3/1 to repeat his success.

William Hill’s pioneering partnership with the British Trust for Ornithology was set up to raise awareness about the decline of the cuckoo, as populations have been in serious decline over the past century. Further details can be found at

8 thoughts on “Cuckoo Hennah wins Africa-Britain race

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