Colour marking © David Drynan

Researchers capture, mark and release migratory waterbirds to study their migration routes and strategies along the Flyway. There are several methods of marking birds; metal rings, wing tags, neck bands (neck collars), leg rings and flags, nasal discs and saddles, and telemetry equipments. Among them, color markings such as neck bands and leg rings/flags are often used for easy recognition of marked waterbirds in a distance. Different colors or letters on the marks may indicate different country, region, or even each bird.

However, as the number of migration studies increases, the increased use of color markings is resulting in duplication and reduced availability of colors for marking in this Flyway. Therefore, at the 4th and 5th Meetings in South Korea and in Cambodia, the Partners commented that awareness and education on color markings and reporting are needed and that greater communication between site managers is also needed. Furthermore, project leaders of satellite tracking activities have been requested to inform applicable countries when birds are located in-country. An EAAFP task force was therefore formed to investigate how coordination of marking could be better coordinated.

Inadequate use of color markings may threat existing protocols and on-going migration studies. When considering color markings on migratory waterbirds, they should consult to the local banding schemes prior to use and carefully examine present protocols relevant to the taxon of their interests.

EAAF Partnership is NOT an authority which approves any of color marking protocols. However, for better communication and coordination, EAAFP TF collects information from Partners on color-marking protocols, banding schemes and contact information. The task force’s achievements will be updated when new information is available.

*Please post your sightings of shorebirds to the Facebook page here: Shorebird leg-flag sightings in the EAAF – highlights photos reports etc.

EAAFP Secretariat (Incheon, Korea)
3F G-Tower, 175 Art center-daero (24-4 Songdo-dong), Yeonsu-gu, Incheon 406-840, Republic of Korea

+82 32 458 6505
+82 32 458 6508

Metal rings

  • Red-necked Stint (Metal ring ‘2AD-49012’)
  • Banded at Torinoumi Estiary, Miyagi, Japan on 5 Oct 2010
  • Observed at Siheung, Jeju Island in South Korea on 13 Oct 2010
  • Photo by Nam-Joon JI

Colour rings

  • Cattle Egret (GREEN leg ring engraved white ‘812’)
  • Banded on Hongdo Island, South Korea on 10 May 2008
  • Photo by Chang-Yong CHOI

Color neck band (collar) – mainly for geese and swans

  • Greater White-fronted Goose (Z19 on YELLOW neck collar)
  • Banded at lower Kolyma, Yakutia, Russia on 29 Jul 1995
  • Observed at Cheonsu Bay in South Korea on 14 Oct 2008
  • Photo by Han-Soo SEO

Color flags – mainly for shorebirds

  • Bar-tailed Godwit (WHITE/GREEN leg flags and a Metal ring)
  • Banded at South Island, New Zealand
  • Observed at Aphaedo Island in South Korea on 14 May 2009
  • Photo by Chang-Yong CHOI

Wing tags

  • Mongolian Gull (WHITE wing tags engraved ‘AC38’)
  • Banded at Airchan Nuur, Mongolia on 18 May 2005
  • Observed at Hongdo Island in South Korea on 13 Dec 2005
  • Photo by Jong-Gil PARK

Nasal saddles

  • Northern Shoveler
  • Banded at Xinghai Lake of Heilongjiang, China on Oct. 7, 2013
  • Observed in Taiwan on Dec. 12, 2013
  • Photo by Mr. Ren-De Su


  • Streaked Shearwater(Satellite tracking device: PTT)
  • Chilbaldo Islet, Shinan County, South Korea on 14 Sep 2009
  • Photo by Chang-Yong CHOI


How to contribute to sightings of flags and bands

All files are in pdf format. Download the Adobe Acrobat reader.
“In search of the Secret of Bird Migration” made by National Institute of Biological Resources, Republic of Korea

EAAFP Secretariat (Incheon, Korea)
3F G-Tower, 175 Art center-daero (24-4 Songdo-dong), Yeonsu-gu, Incheon 406-840, Republic of Korea

+82 32 458 6505
+82 32 458 6508