Kasper Thorup

Kasper Thorup


Current research

Bird Migration

  • Global migrations: ICARUS (International Cooporation of Animal Researchers Using Space); DTUsat: Developing a satellite-tracking system for small, 5g GPS tags.
  • Seasonal distributions and migration routes: Improving analysis of non-breeding distributions using ring recoveries (EURING atlas); Migration of red-backed shrikes and thrush nightingales using geolocators
  • Effects of climate change: Phenological changes in migration monitoring data (primarily from Christiansø); Analyses of ring recoveries
  • Migrants in Africa: Monitoring migrants in Ghana


  • The migratory orientation programme: Orientation of vagrant birds on the Faroe Islands
  • Navigation in birds and bats

Conservation (and population ecology)

  • Rare Danish breeding birds: The Danish little owl project; Peregrine, white-tailed and golden eagles, Mediterranean gull, little tern, Tengmalm's owl

Copenhagen Bird Ringing Centre

  • Faroe Island migration atlas
  • Constant Effort Site ringing
  • Spread of bird-borne diseases
  • Avian flu surveillance in Denmark
  • Monitoring (Skagen and Christians Island)
  • Wild bird recovery stations

Primary fields of research


Primary research areas are within ornithology with a focus on bird migration, especially the orientation systems of long-distance migrants, but also including animal orientation and radio tracking in general. Other primary research areas include all aspects of the distribution, evolution and ecology of birds.

Overall research themes: Bird Migration: Migration routes; Climate change effects; Monitoring; Spread of bird-borne diseases. Navigation: Navigation and orientation, the migratory orientation programme. Conservation: Rare Danish breeding birds, Environmental impact assessment

I am Head of the Copenhagen Bird Ringing Centre of the Zoological Museum, Natural History Museum of Denmark and part of the DG Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate Change



Danmarks fauna - hvirveldyr (3. year, block 4), teacher 

Ornithology (block 3), responsible teacher


Main subjects are in the fields of ornithology, bird migration, orientation, simulation of movements, bird conservation and avian biology in general. Masters and bachelor students are welcomed in these fields, and interested students should feel free to contact me.

Field projects could involve trapping, ringing, radio tracking, geolocators or orientation cage experiments.

Theoretical projects could involve the following: Analysis of (1) ringing data, (2) satellite telemetry data, (3) migration routes/patterns, (4) the extensive ringing data from Christiansø (including stopover ecology/competition, trends, influence of climate change, etc.) or (5) the occurrence of rarities.

In general, financial support will be limited, making studies using radio tracking or satellite telemetry and long-term field-studies dependent on external financing.

Selected publications

  1. Published

    Drought in Africa caused delayed arrival of European songbirds

    Tøttrup, Anders P., Klaassen, R. H. G., Kristensen, M. W., Strandberg, R., Vardanis, Y., Lindström, Å., Rahbek, Carsten, Alerstam, T. & Thorup, Kasper, 2012, In: Science. 338, 6112, p. 1307-1307 1 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalLetterResearchpeer-review

  2. Published

    Evidence for a navigational map stretching across the continental U.S. in a migratory songbird

    Thorup, Kasper, Bisson, I., Bowlin, M. S., Holland, R. A., Wingfield, J. C., Ramenofsky, M. & Wikelski, M., 2007, In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United States of America. 104, p. 18115-18119

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  3. Published

    Integrating concepts and technologies to advance the study of bird migration

    Robinson, W. D., Bowlin, M. S., Bisson, I., Shamoun-Baranes, J., Thorup, Kasper, Diehl, R. H., Kunz, T. H., Mabey, S. & Winkler, D. W., 2010, In: Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. 8, 7, p. 354-361 8 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReviewResearchpeer-review

  4. Published

    Avian migrants adjust migration in response to environmental conditions en route

    Tøttrup, Anders P., Thorup, Kasper, Rainio, K., Yosef, R., Lehikoinen, E. & Rahbek, Carsten, 2008, In: Biology Letters. 4, 6, p. 685-688 4 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  5. Published

    Bat orientation using Earth's magnetic field

    Holland, R. A., Thorup, Kasper, Vonhof, M., Cochran, W. W. & Wikelski, M., 2006, In: Nature. 445, p. 702

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  6. Published

    Going wild: what a global small-animal tracking system could do for experimental biologists

    Wikelski, M., Kays, R., Kasdin, J., Thorup, Kasper, Smith, J. A., Cochran, W. W. & Swenson, Jr., G. W., 2007, In: Journal of Experimental Biology. 210, p. 181-186

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  7. Published

    Bird orientation: compensation for wind drift in migrating raptors is age dependent

    Thorup, Kasper, Alerstam, T., Hake, M. & Kjellén, N., 2003, In: Proceedings of the Royal Society, London (Supplement). 270, p. S8-S11

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  8. Published

    Estimating the seasonal distribution of migrant bird species: Can standard ringing data be used?

    Thorup, Kasper & Conn, P. B., 2009, Modeling Demographic Processes in Marked Populations: Series: Environmental and Ecological Statistics. Thomson, D. L., Cooch, E. G. & Conroy, M. J. (eds.). Springer, Vol. 3. p. 1119-1130

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearch

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