Cuckoo Tracking Project

Cuckoo. Alan McFadyen

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

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 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 sponsorsRead 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.

Join the project

Sponsor a Cuckoo

Cuckoo movements from 01 May 2020 to 03 March 2021

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Current Cuckoos

Carlton II the Cuckoo Carlton II the Cuckoo

Carlton II

Status: active
Cuckoo 161318 portrait Cuckoo 161318 map marker


Status: active
Valentine the Cuckoo Valentine the Cuckoo


Status: active

View previously tagged birds

Latest updates

PJ arrives in Ivory Coast

01 Mar 2021
PJ is sticking to his usual flight plan so far this year and after a brief stop in Ghana has flown a further 507 km (315 miles) west to Ivory Coast. He is now close to the river Nzi, approximately 100 km north east of the capital Yamoussoukro. He knows Ivory Coast well having stopped here in every year we have tracked him. In some years he has spent time in the far west of the country, close to the border with Liberia. We expect him to spend a few weeks here, during which time he will be feeding up in preparation for his Sahara crossing. 

Valentine on the move?

27 Feb 2021
A low quality location received from Valentine's tag suggests that he may be on the move from Angola towards Democratic Republic of Congo. Hopefully he will emerge from the forest canopy soon and his tag will receive enough sunlight to send us a more reliable location.

PJ visits Togo and Ghana

27 Feb 2021
Our longest-surviving tagged Cuckoo PJ is leading the pack back to the UK this year. Over the last few days he has covered 1,392 km (865 miles), flying west from Cameroon into west Africa. By 17:21 on Wednesday evening he had arrived in Togo, but he didn't stay long and by 22:17 that night he had continued over the border into Ghana. He is currently in eastern Ghana but based on his behaviour in previous years, we don't expect him to stay here for long. His destination is likely to be Ivory Coast, which is another 725 km (450 miles) further west and he usually arrives there by early March. He usually spends most of March in Ivory Coast before heading north across the Sahara.

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

Support the project

You can help keep this important project going by either giving a donation, becoming a Cuckoo sponsor, or gifting a sponsorship to someone else. We greatly appreciate the support the project has received, allowing us to continue to monitor this endangered species.

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