discussion / Biologging  / 11 August 2021

GPS tacking tag for turtle doves - any recommendations?

I'm looking for recommendations for a GPS tracking device that would work on turtle doves migration from UK to Sub Saharan Africa and back. 


Hi Rewildman,

A couple of questions:

Over what sort of time period does the migration occur? And what's the weight limit for a device?

And I take it geolocators aren't an option (e.g. https://www.lotek.com/products/mk-geolocators/)?

On the commercial front, Lotek also have the 'Pinpoint' range of devices (e.g. https://www.lotek.com/products/pinpoint-gps-store-on-board/). There's also the Ornitrack range from Ornitela: https://www.ornitela.com/ornitrack and small LoRa-enabled devices from Miromico: https://miromico.ch/products/?lang=en

If you are after a more DIY approach, check out the article from Kauth et al. (2020 and references therein): https://bioone.org/journals/wildlife-biology/volume-2020/issue-2/wlb.00653/Low-cost-DIY-GPS-trackers-improve-upland-game-bird-monitoring/10.2981/wlb.00653.full which is based on the design from Cain and Cross (2018) https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2468067217300779

Hope this helps a bit and happy to discuss.



Hi Rewildman,

In addition to Rob's suggestions there is this GPS Tag by Milsar which comes in at 3.5 grams (presumably without a harness). At 5% you should be able to put this on a 70 g bird.


It does not do GSM or LoRa communication though so you would be relying on the dove coming back to your rewilding site. Milsar uses a variable frequency UHF system which is very fast for downloads and rescheduling but really needs to be line of sight (or nearly so).

I can't endorse this unit as I have not tried it and each unit costs 1000 EUR and another 1000 for a base station. However, I have been using some larger Milsar units on mammals and they have been working reliably (once I learnt not to schedule them from a virtual windows machine).

I would be interested to hear of users experience with this or the miromico unit rob mentioned.

Hi Matthew, hoping to get some results for the wee tags in the next couple of months. Shall definitely report back. Thanks for the Milsar information and glad to hear they are working for you. What's the range of the UHF download BTW? 



Hi Chris,

I can say I've had some good experience with the Lotek Pinpoint tags that Rob mentioned.

You could also get in touch with ICARUS program at Max Planck (https://www.icarus.mpg.de/en).  They've developed a new tracking system, with their own first reciever on the ISS.  I think there are some limitations on the availability of their tags now as they're still ramping up their program.