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 -  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.


Cuckoo movements from 10 May 2018 to 22 September 2018

View routes starting..
Cuckoo positions on

Latest News

Where is Sylvester? - 18 Sep 2018

We last heard from Sylvester on 28 August and his last transmission showed that his body temperature was fine, which tells us he was alive. However, his battery charge was low and looking at previous data we can see that the battery charge had been falling during the previous week and not recovering. This can happen when our Cuckoos are under the thick canopy in the rainforest and we have lost Cuckoos for as much as six weeks, only for them to pop-up again once their battery gets a good charge.

Of course we don't know for sure what has happened but all we can say is that when we last heard from him he was alive and that there was an issue with the tag which we hope will resolve itself - fingers crossed.

Selborne has moved east - 17 Sep 2018
During the weekned Selborne set off east, moving through Ghana and Togo and onwards into Benin. During this time he has flown 487km (303 miles). He is currently in the Parc National de la Pandjari in northwestern Benin.
Thomas in eastern Nigeria - 13 Sep 2018
Thomas has moved close to the border with Cameroon. He is in the northern part of the Gashaka Gumti National Park in an area of savannah grassland.

Get involved

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

Information on this page is only for illustrative purposes and cannot be used without our permission © British Trust for Ornithology.