Tracking Cuckoos to Africa... and back again

We’ve lost over half the number of Cuckoos in the UK over the last 20 years.

Since 2011 we’ve been satellite-tracking Cuckoos to find out why. We’ve learnt lots of vital information which will to help save our Cuckoos but, there is still more to discover.

This project wouldn't have been possible without the amazing support from funders and sponsors. Read more about the project and find out how you can get involved


Cuckoo movements from 13 May 2014 to 01 October 2014

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Latest News

Early arrival of Cuckoos in the rainforest - 30 Sep 2014

Six of the tracked cuckoos (Peter, Dudley, Emsworthy, David, Livingstone and Stanley) are already within the Congo rainforest block. The first of these to arrive was Stanley on 16 September, the earliest of the tracked cuckoos ever to arrive there by 12 days! He was followed by Emsworthy on 19 and Livingstone and Dudley on 23. Previous to this year, the earliest Cuckoo had been Chris, who arrived there on 25 September in 2012.

Since then, David arrived on 24 and Peter on 28 September 2014. David was five and four days earlier than in 2012 and 2013 respectively whilst Livingstone was 13 days earlier than last year. It is very interesting to note that all four of the cuckoos who beat the previous earliest arrival date came from northern Cameroon and the adjacent part of Chad, a region that has received over 50mm less rainfall than usual over the past month and more than 100mm less over the past three months.

Livingstone heads south - 25 Sep 2014

Signals received on 22 September show that Livingstone was moving south and was in Central African Republic. He continued moving throughout the night and into the 23 September to reach the southern most tip of Cameroon where the Northwest Congolian Lowland Forest meets areas of the Congolian Swamp Forest, 820km (510 miles) from his previous location in Chad. By the 25 September he had covered a further 475km (290 miles) and was in central Congo.

Stanley south of the equator - 25 Sep 2014

Stanley left his location in Cameroon, likely because of drier conditions that also seem to have seen other Cuckoos leave the area, and headed south. By the 16 September he had travelled 660km (410 miles) south-east and was in central Congo, making him our most southerly tagged Cuckoo. He didn't stop there though and is now south of the equator! He travelled another 185km (115 miles) south-east, and is around 70km from the Congo river and Congo's border with Democratic Republic of Congo. 


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Information on this page is only for illustrative purposes and cannot be used without our permission © British Trust for Ornithology 2014.