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Using molecular and crowd‐sourcing methods to assess the diet of Cuckoos on their breeding sites

Cuckoo © Charles Tyler

 

Date & Time

Date: Friday, 23 October 2020

Time: 7:00 pm - 7:45 pm

Using molecular and crowd‐sourcing methods to assess the diet of Cuckoos on their breeding sites

Online talk with Dr Lowell Mills

Populations of the Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus, a brood‐parasitic Afro‐Palearctic migrant, have declined in many European countries, possibly as a result of reduced food supply on their breeding sites. However, Cuckoo diet has not been studied in detail since population declines in Europe began and previous studies were likely to be biased towards larger prey. Dr Mills has used high‐throughput DNA sequencing to determine cuckoo diet with minimal bias towards large prey types, and crowd‐sourced digital photographs from across Britain to identify lepidopteran cuckoo prey during recent years of the decline in Cuckoo populations. The results of his studies indicate that many of the prey types identified have declined substantially, probably because of agricultural intensification. The rewilding of lowland landscapes will provide opportunities to understand how agricultural intensification can be reversed to permit recolonization by Cuckoos.

Watch this talk from the comfort of home on the NHSN Youtube Channel, premiering Friday 23 October at 7.00 pm.

Watch the talk here