Migration of the Jac cuckoo from Wales to Africa tracked by BTO


JAC a cuckoo from Llangollen is tracked to Congo and back and here is his story.

The British Trust for Ornithology has been tracking cuckoos since 2010 in a bid to understand their mysterious migration patterns and has shared details of Jac’s incredible journey from North Wales through southern Europe and the Sahara to to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The distance from Llangollen to Jac’s final destination alone is 3,904 miles, but the little traveler also took many detours, racking up hundreds of extra air miles.

Jac has been tracked since June 17 last year and his satellite tracker shows his entire journey.

Kelvin Jones, the trust’s head of engagement, said cuckoo clock numbers in Wales are down: ‘We’ve seen a significant drop of around 60 per cent across Wales.

“You get very attached to them. I caught Jac last year.

READ MORE: Why is the Welsh rook population declining?

Jac was named after the late Professor Jenny Clack, a leading paleontologist, an authority on the evolution of terrestrial vertebrates from fish, who died in March 2020.

Rob Clack, her widower, said: “It seemed appropriate that I contribute to this important scientific study of cuckoo clocks in memory of a top scientist, whom I adore.”

Where did Jac travel from Llangollen?

Jac first headed for France before arriving in the Pyrenees on July 22. He rested near the village of Ainet de Besan, a village of only 45 inhabitants in Catalonia.

A brief stay in Barcelona prepared him to cross the Sahara. The cuckoos must hope for wet weather on their crossing to bring out the termites to feed.

It only took Jac five days since he was in Catalonia to cross the Sahara. It’s still a mystery how exactly birds like Jac know where to go when they migrate.

This map shows Jac’s route from Llangollen

After his journey through the Sahara, Jac flew to Burkina Faso’s last wilderness, W.

The park covers 3,900 square miles, with areas in Niger, Burkina Faso and Benin. More than 350 different species of birds have been recorded there!


In just under four months, Jac reached his destination, the rainforest of the Republic of Congo. A month later, he flew 146 miles east into the Tumba-Ngiri-Maindombe wetlands in the interior of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

He remained there for the next two months before beginning his journey back to Wales.

You can read all about Jac’s return trip and sponsor him or other hellos on BTO website.

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