Cuckoo Tracking Project

Cuckoo. Alan McFadyen

What have the Cuckoos taught us?

When the Cuckoo Tracking Project began, we knew very little about what our breeding Cuckoos did once they left the UK for the winter months. Amost 100 tagged birds later, our new blog explores what we have learned and the questions we're still asking.

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Help us follow Cuckoos on migration and discover why they are in decline.

The Cuckoo is currently Red Listed as a Bird of Conservation Concern in the UK, due to its population decline.

Since 2011 we’ve been satellite-tracking Cuckoos to find out why they are declining. We’ve learned lots of vital information which could help us to understand our Cuckoos, such as how the different routes taken are linked to declines, and some of the pressures they face whilst on migration — but there is still more to discover. We now need to look more closely at how dependent they are on, and how much their migration is linked, to the drought-busting rains of the weather frontal system known as the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) as they move out of the Congo rainforest and begin to head back to the UK via West Africa.

Follow our Cuckoos as they move to and from Africa.

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.

We have been able to share our expertise around tracking Cuckoos with other international studies, such as the Beijing Cuckoo Project.

Skill required

  • Follow our Cuckoos on the map below - use the controls to animate or step through their movements.

Cuckoo movements from 01 May 2022 to 01 April 2023

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Current Cuckoos

Bluey, Knepp Estate, 2022. PTT 232673. Bluey Cuckoo Map Pin


Status: presumed dead
Calypso the Cuckoo Calypso the Cuckoo


Status: presumed dead
Charles, Knepp Estate, 2022. PTT 232745. Charles Cuckoo Map Pin


Status: presumed dead
Cooper, New Forest, 2022. PTT 232672. Cooper Cuckoo Map Pin


Status: presumed dead
Daniel the Cuckoo 50042 the Cuckoo


Status: presumed dead
Ellis the Cuckoo Ellis the Cuckoo


Status: active
Grove II, Wildgoose Rural Training Centre, 2022. PTT 232674. Grove II Cuckoo Map Pin

Grove II

Status: active
JAC the Cuckoo JAC the Cuckoo


Status: active
JD, Cranwich Heath, 2022. PTT 232671. JD Cuckoo Map Pin


Status: presumed dead
Joe, Cranwich Heath, 2022. PTT 232670 Joe Cuckoo Map Pin


Status: active
Ripple, Strensham, 2022. PTT 232669 Ripple Cuckoo Map Pin


Status: presumed dead
Victor II the Cuckoo Victor II the Cuckoo

Victor II

Status: active

View previously tagged birds

Latest updates

Ellis approaching Morccco

02 Apr 2023
Since our last update Ellis has flown a further 382km (237 miles) north through Western Sahara. A new update received at 7am this morning showed him close to the small town of Daoura, and approximately 44km (27 miles) north of the Western Sahara capital city Laayoune. He appears to be close to an intermittent river which has some bushes and shrubs along its length so hopefully he is finding some food here to sustain his onwards journey north over the border into Morocco.

Ellis is crossing the Sahara

31 Mar 2023
Perthshire Cuckoo Ellis is following hot on the heels of Llangollen Cuckoo JAC and embarked on his desert crossing. Having departed his stop over in Guinea, by 11pm last night (30 March) he was passing 120km west of the Eye of Africa in west central Mauritania. He has since flown a further 412km, heading in a north westerly direction towards the coast of central Western Sahara. At 06:38 this morning he was still crossing the desert and was approximately 155km north east of the town of Dakhla in Western Sahara. He seems to have been pushed east by fairly strong easterly winds over the last 24 hours or so. These winds should be easing as he progresses into northern Western Sahara. Last year after crossing the desert he stopped in Morocco, north of Marrakesh, 1,000km north of his current location. We'll be keeping our fingers crossed that when we next hear from Ellis he will have completed his desert crossing. 

JAC pushes north through Spain

30 Mar 2023
New updates received late last night show that JAV has flown a further 515km (320 miles) north east from his last location in Andalusia. He is now close to the village of Graja de Campalbo in the province of Cuenca, Castilla-La Mancha. 

Browse updates from our Cuckoos

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Project timeline, contributions & findings

Project timeline

  • 5/11 - First round of five Cuckoos tagged, wintering sites in the Congo identified 
  • 3/12 - Different routes discovered on return journeys
  • 2016 - First scientific paper published on on the routes of our Cuckoos