Bird ringing at Botuin : 2 to 5 June 2024

A group of BDI people went bird ringing at Botuin, Vanrhynsdorp, from Sunday 2 June to Wednesday 5 June. The aim was to keep a consistent pattern of ringing going at this site, so we firstly build up the proportion of birds which are ringed, so that retraps become more frequent. With lots of retraps, we can start making estimates of annual survival rates for a few of the commonly ringed species. We do not know the survival rates for almost all the species we handle regularly here. Estimates of survival, and how they are changing through time, are one of the foundational pieces of knowledge needed to implement conservation recommendations.

We had some rain and lots of cold weather, with parts of South Africa experiencing floods and stormy weather. Nevertheless, we caught some great birds including African Hoopoe, Sickle-winged Chat, Yellow-bellied Eremomela (a first for me!), Rufous-eared Warbler, Namaqua Warbler, Fairy Flycatcher and Bokmakierie.

Yellow-bellied Eremomela. mistnetted while bird ringing at Botuin

The most caught species was the Laughing Dove (11), followed by Red-faced Mousebird (4) and Cape Weaver (4). For the rest of the species, between one and three individuals were caught. At Botuin, 40% of birds caught were recaptures. This is fantastic in terms of our goal of estimating survival. The oldest birds were the resident pair of Fiscal Flycatchers, first ringed in January 2020. See list of previous ringing events (at Botuin and elsewhere) here. To join a ringing event, see calendar here.

Birds had completed primary moult, except for some doves and mousebirds.

Namaqua Dove completing moult

Namaqua Dove with outermost primary completing moult (feather sheath is visible)

Among the doves we caught while bird ringing at Botuin was this red-eyed dove (in lower case!):

red-eyed Laughing Dove mistnetted while bird ringing at Botuin

… it’s actually a Laughing Dove … look at this!

Red-eyed Laughing Dove mistnetted while bird ringing at Botuin
Laughing Dove with a red-eye ring. It now has ring D97688, and is in the BOP (Birds with Odd Plumage) section of the Virtual Museum as record BOP818

Table. Birds caught at Botuin & Gifberg, 2 to 5 June 2024

Sp noEnglishBotuinGifbergTotalRetraps
317Laughing Dove11112
318Namaqua Dove22
392Red-faced Mousebird441
418African Hoopoe11
463Large-billed Lark11
568Capped Wheatear11
570Familiar Chat111
572Sickle-winged Chat11
581Cape Robin-chat111
600Yellow-bellied Eremomela11
619Rufous-eared Warbler11
653Namaqua Warbler111
658Chestnut-vented Warbler332
665Fiscal Flycatcher222
678Fairy Flycatcher11
686Cape Wagtail11
707Southern Fiscal221
760Southern Double-collared Sunbird11
786Cape Sparrow111
799Cape Weaver44
803Southern Masked Weaver22
866Yellow Canary11
873Cape Bunting11
1172Cape White-eye333

Thanks to Salome and Lydiana for hosting us so well!

See summaries of ringing at Botuin and Gifberg.

Dieter Oschadleus
Dieter Oschadleus
Dieter Oschadleus leads the BDI bird ringing expeditions, and is able to organise bird ringing courses (having run many courses in South Africa, and some in the Seychelles). Dieter is also a registered bird guide in South Africa, and has birded widely in Africa and the Indian Ocean islands. Dieter is able to act as a bird guide for day trips in Cape Town, and is able to customise birds tours in South Africa and beyond.

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