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 01 May 2016 to 29 March 2017

View routes starting..
Cuckoo positions on

Latest News

Selborne in northern Spain - 28 Mar 2017

From Algeria, Selborne has flown a further 1000km (660 miles) to arrive in northern Spain in the late morning of 27 March. He is in the southern Pyrenees and the closest large town is Jaca (NW of his latest location). He has been moving around in local forest so looks to be foraging to fuel up for the last leg of his return journey. How soon he returns will depend on his ability to find food and be able to rest.

Selborne crosses the desert - 27 Mar 2017
A series of locations received from Selborne's tag between 14.30 and 19.00 on 24 March showed that he was heading north across the Sahara, and that he had made it into central Algeria, and that he was about halfway through the desert crossing. This was the last we heard from the tag until 03.00 on 25 March. He had made it, and was just north of the desert town of El Guerra. Selborne is the first of our tagged Cuckoos to cross the desert this spring.
Larry in Ivory Coast - 27 Mar 2017
After a few days rest, Larry has continued on his journey west. locations received from his tag on 26 March show that he has crossed into Ivory Coast. He is currently in an area of forest west of the Komoe River.

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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.