Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus)
Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus). Male. Taken at Otmoor, Oxon., on May 1st 2018.
Male. Taken at Otmoor, Oxon., on May 1st 2018.
(1/250th sec at f13. Click image for larger version. © David Hastings)
Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus). Juvenile. Taken at Otmoor, Oxon on August 11th 2007.
Juvenile. Taken at Otmoor, Oxon on August 11th 2007.
(Click image for a larger version. © David Hastings)


L: 32 - 36 cm; WS: 54 - 60 cm

The Cuckoo is a dove-sized bird with blue-grey upper parts, head and chest, and dark-barred white underparts. With its sleek body, long tail and pointed wings is is not unlike a Sparrowhawk. The sexes are similar.

Cuckoos can be found throughout the British Isles, but are more common 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. Birds over-winter in central Africa.

A variety of habitats are used, from marshes and moorlands to woods and fields.

The Cuckoo is a well-known brood parasite. Dunnocks, Meadow Pipits and Reed Warblers are commonly used as hosts. Female Cuckoos specialise in mimicing the eggs of one species.

The Cuckoo is a Red list species owing to recent population declines. Around 15000 pairs breed in Britain.


24-Jun-2019 : Otmoor, Oxon (h)
18-Jun-2019 : Abingdon, Oxon (h)
16-Jun-2019 : Otmoor, Oxon (h)
09-Jun-2019 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (1)
03-Jun-2019 : Otmoor, Oxon (h)
02-Jun-2019 : Radley Lakes, Oxon (h)
02-Jun-2019 : Barton Fields, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
22-May-2019 : Lochindorb, Highland (2)
20-May-2019 : Marrival, North Uist (2)
19-May-2019 : Achnasheen, Highland (1)
19-May-2019 : Uig, Skye (2)
16-May-2019 : Abingdon, Oxon (h)
09-May-2019 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (h)
07-May-2019 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (h)
04-May-2019 : Gilfach Farm, Powys (2h)
03-May-2019 : Elan Valley, Powys (h)
01-May-2019 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (h)
29-Apr-2019 : Standlake Common, Oxon (2)
28-Apr-2019 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (h)
21-Apr-2019 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (1h)
18-Apr-2019 : Otmoor, Oxon (1+)

18-Jun-2018 : Otmoor, Oxon (h)
08-Jun-2018 : Barnwell Country Park, Northants (h)
06-Jun-2018 : Otmoor, Oxon (h)
02-Jun-2018 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (h)
02-Jun-2018 : Standlake Common, Oxon (h)
27-May-2018 : Bucknell Wood, Northants (h)
27-May-2018 : Abingdon (NE), Oxon (1)
18-May-2018 : Barton Fields, Abingdon, Oxon (h)
14-May-2018 : Otmoor, Oxon (h)
13-May-2018 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (2)
11-May-2018 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (h)
05-May-2018 : Gilfach Farm, Powys (h)
03-May-2018 : Gwenffrwd-Dinas, Ceredigion (h)
01-May-2018 : Otmoor, Oxon (2)
25-Apr-2018 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (1)
22-Apr-2018 : Standlake Common, Oxon (h)
19-Apr-2018 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (2h)

11-Jun-2017 : Velebits National Park, Croatia
10-Jun-2017 : Velebits National Park, Croatia
06-Jun-2017 : Irinovac, Croatia
03-Jun-2017 : Barton Fields, Abingdon, Oxon (h)
30-May-2017 : Otmoor, Oxon
21-May-2017 : Abingdon, Oxon (1+)
14-May-2017 : Whelford Pools, Glos (h)
06-May-2017 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (2)
01-May-2017 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (1h)
29-Apr-2017 : Otmoor, Oxon (3h)
21-Apr-2017 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (1h)

05-Jun-2016 : Otmoor, Oxon (h)
02-Jun-2016 : Hawkhill Inclosure, Hants (1h)
02-Jun-2016 : Lymington-Keyhaven NR, Hants (1)
01-Jun-2016 : Lymington-Keyhaven NR, Hants (1h)
28-May-2016 : Bucknell Wood, Northants (2h)
14-May-2016 : Otmoor, Oxon (1)
06-May-2016 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (2)
04-May-2016 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (1)
30-Apr-2016 : Otmoor, Oxon (1)

19-Jun-2015 : Dunkery Hill, Somerset (1h)
01-Jun-2015 : Otmoor, Oxon (h)
30-May-2015 : Bucknell Wood, Northants (1)
17-May-2015 : Bentley Wood, Wilts (h)
10-May-2015 : Otmoor, Oxon (3+)
04-May-2015 : Aston Upthorpe Downs, Oxon (1h)
04-May-2015 : Cholsey Marsh, Oxon (1h)
30-Apr-2015 : Arne, Dorset (1h)
28-Apr-2015 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (h)
27-Apr-2015 : Otmoor, Oxon (h)