05 August 2014

Overseas Goatsucker in Sussex

Recently we heard of a ring that had been found in a barn, we coded this as 'ring only found' as there was no bird attached to it. When adding the details to the ringing database, it was a nice surprise to see that the ring had once been on the leg of a Nightjar. But, even more interestingly was that this ring had been put on this Nightjar at Jews Gate, the ringing site of the Gibraltar Ringing Group, in the overseas territory of Gibraltar in October 2012.

It would would have been much nicer to receive news that this bird was still alive, but still we thought this was good enough to be mentioned, as the bird must have travelled from its wintering grounds, probably in southern Africa, to the UK at least once.

Nightjar - John Bowers

So this latest Nightjar is the first documented movement between the overseas territory of Gibraltar and the UK, and the second between the Iberian peninsula and the UK.

Found in the online ringing reports...

During the period 1909-2013, a grand total of 6,453 Nightjars have been ringed by ringers in the UK & Ireland, however only 222 of them have been recovered in that period. According to the ringing database, recoveries documenting the movements of Nightjars between the UK and other countries are not very many, 16 in total. Not susprisingly, movements between the UK and France are at the top of this category (11 birds), but there are other five movements between the UK and other countries worth mentioning: Algeria, Morocco, Spain and The Netherlands, which are shown in the map below (ringing and finding sites are paired up by the colour of the pin).

This latest report comes to confirm what our colleagues here at the BTO have revealed with the Nightjar Tracking Project. They were able to map the movements of a bird in a year-long trip across at least 16 countries with the use of a geolocator. They estimated that this bird travelled as far as the Democratic republic of Congo in a 19,000km round trip!

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