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The South African Bird Ringing Unit (SAFRING) administers bird ringing in southern Africa, supplying rings, ringing equipment and services to volunteer and professional ringers in South Africa and neighbouring countries. All ringing records are curated by SAFRING, which is an essential arm of the Animal Demography Unit. Contact is maintained by the SAFRING Project Coordinator with all ringers (banders in North American or Australian terminology).

Our Vision and Mission

SAFRING's mission: SAFRING is based at the University of Cape Town and provides bird ringing services in South Africa and other African countries. This entails providing ringing equipment to qualified ringers, and curating all ringing data. SAFRING communicates with ringers and interested parties through annually publishing one or two issues of a newsletter, Afring News, and by maintaining a list server. SAFRING holds national training courses, annually if there is sufficient demand. SAFRING liases with the provinces who have the responsibility of issuing permits. SAFRING has a strict code of ethics to ensure the safety of birds handled. SAFRING acknowledges the importance of bird ringing in that it has been described as the most important tool in ornithology in the 20th century.


Longevity of the Barn Swallow
Dane Paijmans (2015-02-25)

This week’s longevity record looks at the Barn Swallow. These little birds travel vast distances and many of our rings have been recovered across Europe and the UK. This individual is no different as it was initially ringed in Bloemfontein and recovered in Warton (England) 9479 km away. As this Barn Swallow was first ringed as an adult it is likely older than the calculated 9y 4m 25d. If you feel you know of an older record please contact us at SAFRING with the details.

    Taxonomy   Maximum Longevity
  Order: Passeriformes
       Family: Hirundinidae
             Genus: Hirundo
  17 years (Roberts 7)
  >9.39 years (SAFRING)
  Species   Ring Number
  Hirundo rustica   AF96858
  Common name   Sample size
 Barn Swallow   Ringed: 177541      Retrapped: 897
  Recovered: 607 Total: 179045
Longevity of the Levaillant's Cisticola
Dane Paijmans (2015-02-18)

This week’s longevity record looks at the Levaillant's Cisticola. Not only is this individual’s longevity the greatest for the Levaillant's Cisticolas it is also the greatest longevity record we have for all the cisticola species. This individual has spent a fair amount of time in the mist nets at Rondevlei Nature Reserve, having been trapped a total of six times. As 'she' was first ringed as an adult and last seen alive and well, this individual has likely lived a fair amount longer than the calculated 7y 8m 5d. If you feel you know of an older record please contact us at SAFRING with the details.

    Taxonomy   Maximum Longevity
  Order: Passeriformes
       Family: Cisticolidae
             Genus: Cisticola
  6.9 years (Roberts 7)
  >7.67 years (SAFRING)
  Species   Ring Number
  Cisticola tinniens   GA70176
  Common name   Sample size
 Levaillant's Cisticola   Ringed: 8291      Retrapped: 2112
  Recovered: 18 Total: 10421
Longevity of the Laughing Dove
Dane Paijmans (2015-02-11)

This week’s longevity record looks at one of the more commonly ringed birds; the Laughing Dove. We have an incredible 51753 ringing/retrap/recovery records for this species in our database so it offers itself to be a great subject for calculating the longevity. In addition it is easily retrapped so we have many longevity records to look at. Strangely the current maximum longevity record of 12 years 2 months has held for the last 20 years and no other individuals have come close with the runner-ups falling short at nearly ten years. If you feel you know of an older record please contact us at SAFRING with the details

    Taxonomy   Maximum Longevity
  Order: Columbiformes
       Family: Columbidae
             Genus: Spilopelia
  12.25 years (Roberts 7)
  12.17 years (SAFRING)
  Species   Ring Number
  Spilopelia senegalensis   545189
  Common name   Sample size
 Laughing Dove   Ringed: 48272      Retrapped: 2499
  Recovered: 582 Total: 51753
Longevity of the Cape Glossy Starling
Dane Paijmans (2015-02-04)

This week’s longevity record looks at the Cape Glossy Starling. Being a common bird throughout most of the country we at SAFRING have received many initial ringing records (3248). The trouble with ringing the family Sturnidae however is that they are very clever and are unlikely retrapped in a similar method twice. This results in minimal numbers of retrap records occurring for these species. This longevity record for the Cape Glossy Starling was only trapped once when it was under 6 months old and then recovered soon after it died. If you feel you know of an older record please contact us at SAFRING with the details

    Taxonomy   Maximum Longevity
  Order: Passeriformes
       Family: Sturnidae
             Genus: Lamprotornis
  n/a (Roberts 7)
  9.4 years (SAFRING)
  Species   Ring Number
  Lamprotornis nitens   486889
  Common name   Sample size
 Cape Glossy Starling   Ringed: 3248      Retrapped: 77
  Recovered: 16 Total: 3341
Longevity of the Mountain Wheatear
Dane Paijmans (2015-01-28)

This week’s longevity record looks at the Mountain Wheatear. This individual has really seen his share of retraps and as of last month took his place as the oldest Mountain Wheatear in our database. This affinity to being resighted is primarily due to his love of mealworms as he regularly visits the ringer (Ursula Franke) at her holiday house to get these treats. He also enjoys the occasional beetle but does not fancy rose beetle grubs. As he was first ringed as an adult and has been sighted a few times since the last record he is likely older than the current record. If you feel you know of an older record please contact us at SAFRING with the details.
The photo accompanied by this article is accredited to Ursula Franke.

    Taxonomy   Maximum Longevity
  Order: Passeriformes
       Family: Muscicapidae
             Genus: Oenanthe
  no record (Roberts 7)
  >8.64 years (SAFRING)
  Species   Ring Number
  Oenanthe monticola   FH33533
  Common name   Sample size
 Mountain Wheatear   Ringed: 690      Retrapped: 83
  Recovered: 3 Total: 776
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