The South African Bird Ringing Unit

Ringing birds around Africa!

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Bird ringing/banding is the process whereby registered ringers permanently mark wild birds to study their lifecycles (births, deaths, age of breeding and survival rates), habits, populations and movements. To do this metal rings (marked with unique numbers) are attached to the bird for future identification.

We at SAFRING administer all bird ringing within Southern Africa, supplying rings, ringing equipment and services to volunteer and professional ringers. SAFRING curates all the southern African ringing records on site and maintains a close relationship between all other ringing schemes.

We encourage everyone to actively take part in sighting and reporting all ringed birds to us, and we hope to hear from you soon.

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Latest Story

A Short History of SAFRING - Part 4

Dane Paijmans (2017-10-09)


The early years - Dr Geoffrey Roy McLachlan

After the first South African Bird Ringing Scheme Coordinator, Dr Hugh Ashton, retired his position on July 1st, 1956, Dr Geoffrey Roy McLachlan took over the reins. After an initial trail period, where the treasurer, Mr Heard, and Dr McLachlan worked through correspondence, the whole scheme was relocated to Port Elizabeth. Dr McLachlan had his work cut out for him, as a number of problems arose with the growing ringing dataset. Some of these problems included; data storage, data submissions and costs of ringing (Read Dr GR McLachlan's Account). One of the drastic moves he made to improve data submissions, was to drive across the country visiting all ringing hot spots to help ringers in person. During his time as coordinator he authored eight ringing reports (Read Here; seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth, eleventh, twelfth, thirteenth), as well as many papers, Roberts' Birds of South Africa (2nd, 3rd and 4th) and a ten year summary.

Dr GR McLachlan left the Ringing Unit at the end of 1966 to persue other projects and passed away at age 81 on January 17th 2005 (obituary).

Photo taken at the 1964 Pan-African Ornithological Congress. Dr McLachlan, Dr Niven and Mr JP Niven were the Organising Committee for the First Pan African Congress held in Livingstone, Zambia, from 15–19 July 1957.

To read more on SAFRINGs history please Click Here.

Click here to view all SAFRING stories!

A Short History of SAFRING - Part 3

Dane Paijmans (2017-10-02)

Dr Hugh Ashton

A chance to volunteer in Eilat

Dane Paijmans (2017-09-21)

A Short History of SAFRING - Part 2

Dieter Oschadleus (2017-09-08)

Dr Hugh Ashton