Kasper Thorup – University of Copenhagen

Zoological Museum
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Kasper Thorup

Kasper Thorup

Head of ringing section

Natural History Museum of Denmark
Universitetsparken 15
2100 København Ø

Phone: +45 353-21051
Phone (Reception desk): +45 353-21120
E-mail: Kthorup@snm.ku.dk

Primary research areas


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

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
  • Environmental impact assessment: FEBI Fehmarn Belt EIA

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

Lab members: 

Main collaborators include the Head of Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate, Prof Dr Carsten Rahbek, University of Copenhagen; Martin Wikelski, Princeton University, on many aspects of animal orientation and migration, primarily using conventional radio tracking from airoplanes and satellite telemetry; and Prof Dr Thomas Alerstam, Bird Migration Group, Lund University on satellite tracking of migratory raptors.



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


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