BTO: Tracking Cuckoos to Africa… and back again

Cuckoo. Photograph by Steve Ashton

The ‘Red Listed’ Cuckoo is one of the UK’s fastest declining migrants and, until recently, was one of which we knew least about once it left the UK.

In 2011 we attached satellite-tracking devices to Cuckoos from Norfolk to find out more about their important stop-over sites and wintering destinations on the way to and from Africa. Now in 2012 we have expanded this to include tagged birds from Wales and Scotland. Read more about the project and find out what we have learnt so far.

To return to this page, or to spread the word, just type 

Migration since May 2012

To see Map

N.B. Grey markers indicate Cuckoos we have lost contact with for a significant period of time.

Cuckoos tagged in England

 – Find a Cuckoo – ChrisJohnLysterReacher

Group page


John the Cuckoo


Lyster the Cuckoo


Reacher the Cuckoo


Cuckoos tagged in Scotland

 – Find a Cuckoo – BBChanceMungoRoyWallace

Group page

BB the Cuckoo


Chance the Cuckoo


Mungo the Cuckoo


Roy the Cuckoo


Wallace the Cuckoo


Cuckoos tagged in Wales

 – Find a Cuckoo – DavidIdemiliIndyIoloLloyd

Group page

David the Cuckoo


Idemili the Cuckoo


Indy the Cuckoo


Iolo the Cuckoo


Lloyd the Cuckoo


Latest News

BB heads north across the desert… – 16 Apr 2013

A series of locations received yesterday evening (Monday 15 April) showed that BB was heading across the desert in northern Mauritania, about 460km (286 miles) E of David’s last position. Over the course of 5 hours he travelled approximately 160km (100 miles) more or less due N. If he follows a similar route to Chance, around the eastern end of the High Atlas, BB would have another 1,000km (620 miles) to travel before reaching the Atlas Mountains and 1,400km (870 miles) to the Mediterranean coast. If he went to the west of the High Atlas, he would come to hospitable conditions at Agadir on the Moroccan coast in 700km (435 miles). One possible advantage  of stopping over so far west in Africa would have been to reduce the desert crossing by 25% or so (from around 1,900km to around 1,400km) by taking a route west of the High Atlas and along the Moroccan coast, so we had wondered whether David & BB would  do this.

Lloyd lagging behind again – 16 Apr 2013

We haven’t heard from Lloyd’s tag since Saturday afternoon (13 April), when he remained in Ivory Coast but the charge on his tag was very low. He is the last of our tracked cuckoos south of the Sahara and as he has been in Ivory Coast for a week now and was in Ghana for a week before that, we might expect him to make a move north quite soon.

Chris now in Belgium – 16 Apr 2013

When Chris’ tag resumed transmissions early this morning it revealed he had indeed continued northward, as expected – but not to England! A series of locations placed him in southern Belgium and although each was an unconfirmed location whose accuracy couldn’t be assessed, taken together they indicate that he was travelling slowly westwards around the northern periphery of the Ardennes Mountains. Chris’ current location is within 100km of the areas that he stopped over in the late summers of 2011 and 2012 and in fact visited this very area during his ‘mini-tour’ of NW Europe last June but we had no indication that he visited the area last spring. Will he stay here for a while before returning to England? Will he defy expectations and not return to England at all this spring? Watch this space!

You can be part of this ground-breaking project:

Funds raised will help support work tracking Cuckoos as part of the Out of Africa appeal.

You can also support projects like this by becoming a BTO member today and you will be kept up-to-date with all our latest news.

You can keep up to date with news from BTO by signing up to our free monthly e-newsletter.


Please contact for further details.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s