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.

Read the article

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.

  • 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.

Follow our Cuckoos as they move to and from Africa

    Skill required

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

    Cuckoo movements from 01 May 2020 to 27 May 2023

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    Current Cuckoos

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


    ID: 232673
    Status: presumed dead
    Calypso the Cuckoo Calypso the Cuckoo


    ID: 213807
    Status: presumed dead
    Charles, Knepp Estate, 2022. PTT 232745. Charles Cuckoo Map Pin


    ID: 232745
    Status: presumed dead
    Cooper, New Forest, 2022. PTT 232672. Cooper Cuckoo Map Pin


    ID: 232672
    Status: presumed dead
    Daniel the Cuckoo 50042 the Cuckoo


    ID: 50042
    Status: presumed dead
    Ellis the Cuckoo Ellis the Cuckoo


    ID: 213803
    Status: presumed dead
    Grove II, Wildgoose Rural Training Centre, 2022. PTT 232674. Grove II Cuckoo Map Pin

    Grove II

    ID: 232674
    Status: unknown
    JAC the Cuckoo JAC the Cuckoo


    ID: 213805
    Status: active
    JD, Cranwich Heath, 2022. PTT 232671. JD Cuckoo Map Pin


    ID: 232671
    Status: presumed dead
    Joe, Cranwich Heath, 2022. PTT 232670 Joe Cuckoo Map Pin


    ID: 232670
    Status: active
    Ripple, Strensham, 2022. PTT 232669 Ripple Cuckoo Map Pin


    ID: 232669
    Status: presumed dead
    Victor II the Cuckoo Victor II the Cuckoo

    Victor II

    ID: 213804
    Status: deceased

    View previously tagged birds

    Latest updates

    Ellis lost in Spain

    05 May 2023
    When we last reported on Ellis' movements he had just moved north in Spain to the outskirts of the city of Caceres in Extremadura, west central Spain. It has now been more than two weeks since he arrived there and data received from his tag earlier this week show lower than expected temperature readings. Taken together this information strongly suggests that Ellis has perished in Spain. You may have seen that he had a rather protracted journey through Africa and we fear that the drought in Spain may have made his recovery from his desert crossing difficult. It has been nearly two years since we tagged Ellis and he has given us some fantastic data as he migrated between Scotland and the Congo. Thank you and farewell Ellis.  

    Joe is back

    24 Apr 2023
    New updates received from Joe's tag late last night and early this morning show that he has flown the final 900km (559 miles) from the south of France back to his breeding grounds in Norfolk. At the beginning of February, Joe was still in the Congo and since then he has flown approximately 7,657km (4,758 miles) on his migration back to the UK. Last year he departed Norfolk on 13 June and if he follows a similar routine this year he will remain in Norfolk for the next seven weeks or so. 

    JAC is back!

    24 Apr 2023
    We are pleased to report that JAC completed his migration back to his breeding grounds over the weekend. Over the last three months he has flown 8,270km (5,138 miles) on his migration north and has arrived at his breeding grounds approximately one week earlier than last year. In 2021 he departed on 23 June and in 2022 he left on on 20 June so we expect him to stay in the World's End area for approximately two months before heading off on his return migration to the Congo. 

    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