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 01 May 2017 to 22 May 2018

View routes starting..
Cuckoo positions on

Latest News

A glimpse of PJ - 09 May 2018

Our very own Paul Stancliffe, Media Manager, got a great view of PJ this morning! He's not far from our Headquarters and Paul had been out to see if could locate him in preparation for some press coverage on the project. He said: 'I found him. It was the only Cuckoo I heard and saw and he flew straight towards me, before spotting me and turning away, showing his antenna as he did!'

Silence from Peckham - 09 May 2018

Peckham remains in Africa and, worryingly, we've not had any signals from him since he first moved from Gabon to the forest of Cameroon on 8 April. We appear to have lost contact due to low battery charge. According to the limited sensor data we have for his tag in the period preceding that, there was no reason to be concerned about his welfare at that time. Last year, he left West Africa really late (later than now!) so it's possible he's lurking there now having moved on from Cameroon. It's also possible that his tag's battery is damaged and we won't hear from it again, or even that he has since dead. We will have to wait to see if further signals are received.

Larry returns - 09 May 2018
From west of Barcelona on the 30 April, Larry has flown 1390km (865 miles) to return to the Forest of Bowland, in north-east Lancashire by the early hours of 8 May.  He is now back in the area in which he was tagged and will be looking for female Cuckoos to breed with. 

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.