Marking migratory waterbirds with metal rings, wing tags, neck bands, leg rings and flags, nasal discs, telemetry equipment like GPS devices, is an important way of studying their migration. In the East Asian-Australasian Flyway (EAAF), there are different protocols for colour marking shorebirds, anatids, cranes and other taxa (click [here] to check). Among them, color marking with leg rings/flags are often used for easy recognition of marked shorebirds in a distance. Different color flag combinations, indicate different banding regions. Sometimes these flags are also engraved with codes (letters or numbers), allowing identification of individual bird in the field.
In recent years, more research and monitoring activities were established to study the migratory waterbirds along the EAAF. Here we are updating new colour markings used in the field.
First orange legflag on Spoon-billed Sandpiper
There are three types of colour legflags used on Spoon-billed Sandpiper at the moment: Lime green legflags are used on wild captured adults or chicks in the breeding ground in Chukotka, Russian Far East; white legflags are used on head-starting chicks, and Yellow legflags are used at stop-over sites (e.g. Kamchatka, Russian and Jiangsu Province, China). Orange legflags are allocated for individuals captured at wintering grounds. In December 2020, an orange legflag was used on Spoon-billed Sandpiper for the first time in Zhangjiang Mangrove National Nature Reserve, Guangdong Province, China. This special bird was marked with orange legflag engraved “K6”.
Colour legflags used in South China
Bird ringing activities has been carried out in South China (Hong Kong since 1980s and Yangxi county in Guangdong Province in 2012-15) in which white over yellow legflag combination were used in slightly different ways. Since 2019, the Biodiversity Lab from the School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Southern University of Science and Technology has initiated bird ringing activities in Leizhou, Guangdong Province in collaboration with Zhangjiang Mangrove National Nature Reserve. The slight differences in colour flags between these locations are: :
- In Hong Kong: white engraved flag over yellow engraved flag with same set of code, metal band on right tarsus.
- At Yangxi: white clipped plain flag over yellow engraved flag on left tibia, metal band on right tarsus.
- At Leizhou: white plain flag over yellow engraved flag on left tibia, metal band on right tibia
Help us to collect information of the migration of waterbrids!
If you see any waterbirds with tags, please report to the channels below:
- Shorebird leg-flag sightings in the EAAF Facebook Group –https://www.facebook.com/groups/175781629137442
- Shorebird Resighting Information on EAAF – http://resights.birdband.org/index.php
- Reporting waterbird rings and flags sightings (in Chinese and English) – https://flagsightings.wordpress.com/
- Spoon-billed Sandpiper Task Force – https://www.eaaflyway.net/spoon-billed-sandpiper-task-force/
- Black-faced Spoonbill Conservation Network – https://bfsn.bfsa.org.tw/report.php