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 26 January 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

A final farewell to Cooper

25 Nov 2022
Keen Cuckoo followers will know that we have been growing increasingly concerned for Cuckoo Cooper as we stopped receiving updates from him shortly after he arrived in Nigeria in early September. Having looked closely at the tag data our Cuckoo scientist Dr Chris Hewson has deduced that sadly Cooper has perished. We don't know how he died, he seemed to be taking a fairly "safe" and direct route towards the Congo but he is one of two birds to have perished in eastern Nigeria this year. Cooper has given us an additional run of valuable data to add to our growing knowledge of Cuckoo ecology.

The end of the road for Ripple

25 Nov 2022
We are sad to report that we have heard the last from Worcestershire Cuckoo Ripple. Having survived his unexpectedly long stop in the Sahara, we were very optimistic that he would succeed in making it to his wintering grounds. But alas it wasn't to be and it appears that he has died in eastern Nigeria. He has given us a very valuable series of data showing his journey from Worcestershire via West Africa to Nigeria which will add to our growing knowledge of the challenges our Cuckoos face. 

Joe is in Democratic Republic of Congo

07 Nov 2022
Since our last update Joe has been exploring the tropical rainforests of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). He in now deep in the forest approximately 100km east of Lake Mai-Ndombe in western DRC. 

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