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 learned lots of vital information which could help us to understand our Cuckoos -  about the routes they have taken, 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.

Our Cuckoos have now started their outward journey from their breeding grounds in the UK. Follow them below as they make their way back to Africa.


Cuckoo movements from 08 May 2016 to 02 December 2016

View routes starting..
Cuckoo positions on

Latest News

161321 heads west - 23 Nov 2016
161321 has travelled westwards towards the coast of Gabon and now looks to be around the area of Moukalaba-Doudou National Park, about 85km (50 miles) inland. 
Peckham heads south - 23 Nov 2016
Peckham has finally moved further south, and closer to the other Cuckoos. After a journey of 940km (580 miles) he has left the Central African Republic and is (just) within the borders of Gabon. Last year he also wintered in Gabon, at a location slightly further southwest. His recent movement is over a month later than last year's arrival date in Gabon.  It will be interesting to see whether he heads to the same location as last year, or if he moves even further south, which may give more weight to the idea that conditions are drier and less favourable in Gabon and areas of the Congo rainforest this year. 
Markoo in Angola - 17 Nov 2016

By the 10 November, Markoo had ventured 365km (225 miles) south within the Republic of Congo. A couple of days later, on the 12, he had journeyed a further 320km (200 miles) and was the latest Cuckoo to join the four already in Angola. This is a record number of our satellite-tagged Cuckoos wintering in Angola in the same year. This is probably due to lower-than-average rainfall in the areas of the Congo rainforest we have seen them winter in before and higher-than-average rainfall in Angola.  

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Find out how you can support the project, or contact us directly for further details - cuckoos [at]

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