Posted on the 27th May 2014

Swift Terns are one of the few locally-breeding seabirds whose numbers are increasing. To help understand the main factors driving the positive trend of this species, a team of researchers from the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology and the Animal Demography Unit at the University of Cape Town marked 500 Swift Terns chicks from Robben Island in April 2013 and 2014 with metal and individually engraved colour rings. In 2013 members of the public reported how these birds dispersed, providing information on the fledging success, survival and dispersal of juvenile Swift Terns, which were re-sighted from Namibia to the Eastern Cape.

Gathering dispersal records is a time consuming but important task that relies on assistance from volunteers across southern Africa.

Rings in *2014* are *orange* and *yellow *(with black text) and *green *and *blue *(with white text), and are engraved with an “*A*” followed by a letter and a number (e.g. AU2). Rings from *2013 *are *yellow *and *white *(with black text) and *green *and *blue *(with white text), and bear a code of one letter and one number (e.g. U2). The majority of the colour rings are top-down and all are on the right leg.

Juvenile/Immature Swift Terns are leaving (some already left) Robben Island and they will soon be all around the southern African coasts.

If you see any ringed birds please record their location as accurately as possible (ideally GPS), the date and time of sighting, ring colour, letters on the ring (if legible) and age class (juvenile or immature). If a bird is found dead, please also record the number of the metal ring.

Send the information to Davide Gaglio at

Please spread the voice to all those people might be happy to help this project.

Thanks for your help!

The Swift Terns Team

Davide Gaglio

Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology
DST/NRF Centre of Excellence
Private Bag X3
University of Cape Town
Rondebosch 7701
Cape Town, South Africa

*personal page: *

*how you can help: *

*photogallery: *

*em: <>*










(Images by BirdLife Overberg members).






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