The South African Bird Ringing Unit

Ringing birds around Africa!


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Swift Tern project Robben Island

Researcher/s: Davide Gaglio, Peter Ryan, Richard Sherley, Timothe'e Cook

Project Webpage


Species: Swift (Great Crested) Tern (Sterna bergii)
Location: Robben Island (33°48'S 18°22'E), Western Cape, South Africa
Click to view sighting map
Running From: 2013 to 2015
Ring Type: Legring: Engraved colour rings
Colour Combination: Alphanumeric: Various colours (see notes)


Researchers from the Percy FitzPatrick Institute at the University of Cape Town marked 500 Swift Terns chicks with metal and individually engraved colour-rings each year. Birders and members of the public are kindly asked to report ring colours to track the juvenile’s dispersal around the coast.

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

Please send these details to SAFRING and Davide Gaglio at swift.terns@gmail.com

Thank you for your help!


Colour combinations:
2013: White and Yellow with black text Green and Blue with white text.
Letter+Number (e.g. A7) (on right leg).

2014: Orange and Yellow with black text
Green and Blue with white text.
"A"+Letter+Number (e.g. AB7) (on right leg).

2015: Orange and Yellow with black text
Green and Blue with white text.
Letter+Number (e.g. A7) (on left leg)


Paper Pubished from this project

Gaglio et al. 2015. Egg morphology of Swift Terns in South Africa. Ostrich. DOI:10.2989/00306525.2015.1046964
Gaglio et al. 2015. Insects in the diet of the Greater Crested Tern Thalasseus Bergii Bergii in Southern Africa. Marine Ornithology. 43: 131-132.