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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).


Longevity of the Kelp Gull
Dane Paijmans (2014-10-29)

This week’s longevity record looks at the Kelp Gull. Similar to other Charadriiformes Kelp Gulls can live quite a long time and due to various past projects we have a number of older individuals in our database. As these birds are not commonly retrapped most of our post-ringing records come from recovories sent in by the general public. This week’s longevity record (K05951) was found close to its 25th hatchday, and after an autopsy it was established that it had been shot. 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: Larus
  24.16 years (Roberts 7)
  24.53 years (SAFRING)
  Species   Ring Number
  Larus dominicanus   K05951
  Common name   Sample size
 Kelp Gull   Ringed: 15887      Retrapped: 476
  Recovered: 768 Total: 17131
Longevity of the Blue Waxbill
Dane Paijmans (2014-10-22)

This weeks longevity record looks at the Blue Waxbill. These little birds can live quite a while and occur around the northern parts of southern Africa. This longevity record is probably a male first ringed as a juvenile in 1996. He has yet to be recovered so may be older. If you feel you know of an older record please contact us at SAFRING with the details.

    Taxonomy   Maximum Longevity
  Order: Passeriformes
       Family: Estrildidae
             Genus: Uraeginthus
  11.3 years (Roberts 7)
  >10.85 years (SAFRING)
  Species   Ring Number
  Uraeginthus angolensis   AD11424
  Common name   Sample size
 Blue Waxbill   Ringed: 25775      Retrapped: 2393
  Recovered: 42 Total: 28210
Longevity of the White-browed Sparrow Weaver
Dane Paijmans (2014-10-15)

This week’s longevity record looks at the White-browed Sparrow-Weaver. These birds have a number of records older than 11 years of both male and females. This specific individual is likely a female and as it was last retrapped and initially ringed as an adult it is likely a few years older than the calculated longevity of 11.3 years. If you feel you know of an older record please contact us at SAFRING with the details.

    Taxonomy   Maximum Longevity
  Order: Passeriformes
       Family: Passeridae
             Genus: Plocepasser
  10 years (Roberts 7)
  >11.3 years (SAFRING)
  Species   Ring Number
  Plocepasser mahali   BC96612
  Common name   Sample size
  White-browed Sparrow-Weaver   Ringed: 7674      Retrapped: 5179
  Recovered: 35 Total: 12888
Longevity of the Southern Double-collard Sunbird
Dane Paijmans (2014-10-08)

Another common resident of Kirstenbosch is the Southern Double-collared Sunbird. You would think a life spent eating only sugar would be very short, but this species has a number of longevity records of over 10 years. This record of 11.9 years may be bettered as this individuals death was due to drowning. If you feel you know of an older record please contact us at SAFRING with the details.

    Taxonomy   Maximum Longevity
  Order: Passeriformes
       Family: Nectariniidae
             Genus: Cinnyris
  8.5 years (Roberts 7)
  11.90 years (SAFRING)
  Species   Ring Number
  Cinnyris chalybeus   X85134
  Common name   Sample size
  Southern Double-collared Sunbird   Ringed: 9033      Retrapped: 559
  Recovered: 33 Total: 9625
Longevity of the Martial Eagle
Dane Paijmans (2014-09-30)

We received an interesting recovery this week of a Martial Eagle which sadly died after being electrocuted by power lines in the Kruger National Park. What makes the recovery so interesting is that the bird is estimated to be a minimum of 27 years old. This age is calculated by the fact that it was initially ringed as an adult (adult plumage is attained between 5-7 years) by Alan Kemp in 1992 as part of an earlier project on the species in the Park. The bird was also electrocuted close to the initial ringing site showing remarkable site fidelity over the last 22 years. This record was sent to us by Rowen van Eeden, a PhD student at the Percy FitzPatrick Institute, who is currently trying to identify the cause of the species population decline in the Kruger. If you would like to follow his work, please Click Here.
The photo accompanied by this article is accredited to Rene van der Schyff.
If you feel you know of an older record please contact us at SAFRING with the details.

    Taxonomy   Maximum Longevity
  Order: Accipitriformes
       Family: Accipitridae
             Genus: Polemaetus
  22 years (Roberts 7)
  >27 years (SAFRING)
  Species   Ring Number
  Polemaetus bellicosus   G19094
  Common name   Sample size
  Martial Eagle   Ringed: 238      Retrapped: 1
  Recovered: 22 Total: 261
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