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.

Cuckoo movements from 01 May 2020 to 09 August 2020

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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 nudges east

10 Aug 2020
Since arriving in Mali, Valentine has moved 20 km (12.5 miles) west, towards the Sahel river. He is now 22 km (14 miles) north east of the town of Niono in the Ségou region of Mali. The temperature is currently 31 degrees C and it is the rainy season. In Niono, most rain falls during the 31 days centered around August 13, with an average total accumulation of 5.7 inches. Last year Valentine stayed in west Africa until mid-November so we don't expect him to make any more big movements anytime soon. 

Carlton II still in Spain

10 Aug 2020
Since our last update Carlton II has moved north west, travelling 300 km (187 miles) into the north west corner of Spain. Having spent a few days close to Arzúa, a municipality in the autonomous community of Galicia, he headed north towards Betanzos before looping back to his current location close to the village of Boimorto. He is now 40 km (25 miles) east of Santiago de Compostela. Based on his behaviour in previous years we expect Carlton II to head for Africa very soon.

PJ in Italy

10 Aug 2020
Since our last update PJ has left the Spanish Pyrenees and flown 788 km (490 miles) north east, back over the Pyrenees and into northern Italy. Having reached Ferriere, a commune in the Province of Piacenza, about 150 kilometers west of Bologna, he immediately turned back west. He flew 105 km ( 64 miles) west to his current location near Altare in the Province of Savona in the Italian region Liguria. He is approximately 10 km (6 miles) north west of Savona. PJ is now almost two weeks behind his usual schedule so we expect to see him making his crossing into Africa any day now.

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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