24 November 2016

Migratory Moorhen?

BTO volunteer, Lawrence Potter writes:

"Whilst doing our monthly BTO WeBS count at Woodbridge, Suffolk, I noticed a moorhen feeding on the river alongside a pontoon as it looked to have a coloured ring. I asked my colleague (Robert Johnson) to have a look with his telescope and after about 10 mins of observation we got details on the ring; AE32. We were both intrigued with who was colour ringing Moorhen, wondering where it had been ringed, so we submitted it and the results were amazing!

The ringer, Carsten Lome writes:

We started colour ringing Moorhen and Coot in Norway in spring 2013. So far 104 moorhens have been ringed, 54 of them ringed this year. Nearly all have been caught in three cities; Oslo, Bergen and Stavanger. All of the birds in Oslo migrate, so are ringed during the summer only. The majority of the Moorhen in the other two locations are mostly caught during the winter. There have been a few movements between Bergen and Oslo, although how they tackle the mountains in between is unknown. We've also had one bird ringed in Bergen and found in Stockholm.


AE32 was ringed as a breeding bird in Oslo in July this year. Interestingly its partner was ringed last winter in the city centre of Bergen (300 km from Oslo)! Unfortuately they have exactly the same wing length, so sexing them is currently not possible. This pair had three young in their first brood and only two in the second brood, which had not fledged by the last time we visited this pond on 11 October but hopefully did so soon after.



For a species that is thought to be fairly resident, we have had three BTO ringed Moorhen found in Norway but this was the first Norway ringed Moorhen to be reported in Britain or Ireland. This is a distance of 1042 km in 120 days.

Colour of location: Purple - Originally ringed in Britain & Ireland; Orange - Found in Britain & Ireland

For more information on the WeBS counts for Moorhen click here.

There are colour ringing projects all over the country that need your sightings. In Suffolk alone there are Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit, House Sparrow, Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gull, Kittiwake, Peregrine and Mute Swan to name a few. A list of projects can be viewed at European Colour-ring Birding.

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