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Welcome to the new SAFRING website.

To log into the site, use your email address and EITHER your ADU number or your SAFRING number. The password is the same password used for all ADU projects.

If you do not have a password, follow this link to generate one for your account.

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.

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).

ADU page in African Birdlife, September–October 2014
Les Underhill (2014-09-17)

ADU page in African Birdlife, September-October 2014

This topic was chosen because Citizen Science Week is from 20–28 September. We would be delighted if atlasers atlased irresponsibly.

This page is from the September-October issue of African Birdlife, the magazine of BirdLife South Africa. The pdf of this page is available here.

Longevity of the Common Tern
Dane Paijmans (2014-09-17)

After reading Mark Boormans note in Laniarius 127 I though I would take a look at the Common Tern for this weeks longevity article. As per Marks note the SAFRING recorded longevity of the Common Tern is 33.67 years (AT055395). I have viewed the Euring, BTO, ABBBS and North American longevity lists to compare this record. It is infact the oldest record I could find and has been recently added to a list of sea bird longevities being compiled by the ABBBS for publication in calaboration with all the other ringing schemes. The previous longevity was 33 years ringed by the BTO and is recorded in the Euring database. If you feel you know of an older record please contact us at SAFRING with the details.

    Taxonomy   Maximum Longevity
  Order: Charadriiformes
       Family: Laridae
             Genus: Sterna
  33 years (Roberts 7)
  33.67 years (SAFRING)
  Species   Ring Number
  Sterna hirundo   AT055395
  Common name   Sample size
  Common Tern   Ringed: 22414      Retrapped: 457
  Recovered: 157 Total: 23028
Swierstra's Francolin (Pternistis swierstrai) in Angola
Dane Paijmans (2014-09-10)

Click Image to Download Article


Here at SAFRING we get ringing records of many rare and interesting species from all over Africa and across the world. Occasionally we even get photos to back these up so I would like to show some of these on this site occasionally to inspire the pursuits (data records not hunting) of these rare and endangered species.


On an excursion during 2010 in Tundavala, Angola, Ursula Franke took these photos of Swierstra's Francolin (Pternistis swierstrai) which were trapped and ringed. She was in company of Steve, Louise and Dayne Braine and Mark Boorman along with a few others avid ringers. Their technique involved setting up large flap traps (assembled by Mark) at a site where Ursula had been observing the francolins taking their sandbath. They did managed to catch and ring two Swierstra's Francolins’ on this outing which in my opinion is a day very well spent.


We currently only have these two records in our database due to the fact that these birds are endangered (population estimated between 465-1052 and 1040-2080 pairs) as a result of deforestation and hunting. These birds only remain in isolated populations (click here for a map) within forests and forest edges where they feed on insects and seeds. The population of this species is on a decline and unless something is done to protect the habitats and individuals they may be in a lot of trouble.

This information is taken from the IUCN website and for further reading on the Swierstra's Francolin please click here.

Longevity of the Cape White-eye
Dane Paijmans (2014-09-03)

For this week I chose to calculate the longevity of another common garden bird; the Cape White-eye. This species gave a few problems due to the fairly recent split forming Zosterops virens and Zosterops pallidus. This meant that a number of the older ring records were still assigned the old number, although as these two species have a very similar longevity (Z.pallidus: 10.65 years) it was not a big problem. If you feel you know of an older record please contact us at SAFRING with the details.

    Taxonomy   Maximum Longevity
  Order: Passeriformes
       Family: Zosteropidae
             Genus: Zosterops
  12.66 years (Roberts 7)
  10.21 years (SAFRING)
  Species   Ring Number
  Zosterops virens   AD29851
  Common name   Sample size
  Cape White-eye   Ringed: 16748      Retrapped: 1820
  Recovered: 28 Total: 18596
Longevity of the White-fronted Bee-eater
Dane Paijmans (2014-08-27)

For this week I chose to calculate the longevity of a common bird found in the more northern parts of the country; the White-fronted Bee-eater. This species has far fewer ring records then the other birds I have listed so far, which may account for the short longevity of only 7 years. This individual however was ringed as an adult and only retrapped so far which means these birds definatly do live longer. If you feel you know of an older record please contact us at SAFRING with the details.

    Taxonomy   Maximum Longevity
  Order: Coraciiformes
       Family: Meropidae
             Genus: Merops
  Average lifespan 5-6 years (Roberts 7)
  6.84 years (SAFRING)
  Species   Ring Number
  Merops bullockoides   BE33977
  Common name   Sample size
  White-fronted Bee-eater   Ringed: 745      Retrapped: 24
  Recovered: 4 Total: 773
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