Colour Ringing Study of Common Moorhens Gallinula chloropus in Guernsey, Channel Islands

I have for many years been metal ringing Common Moorhens on Guernsey in the Channel Islands, as part of a long-term study on the movements and mortality of this very interesting waterbird.

Over the periods 1974-1994 and 2004-2007 inclusive I managed to ring a total of 567 Moorhen, and these have yielded seven foreign recoveries (France – 2,  Netherlands – 2, Denmark – 2 and Germany – 1), in addition to 20 recoveries within the Channel Islands. Virtually all reports are of dead birds.

Colour ringing gives the opportunity to study movements of birds at more than just two points in their lives (i.e. ringing and recovery when dead). In 2008 I was very pleased to receive permission to develop the study to include colour ringing as a main tool. There are very few such projects running on this species in Europe, and of course Moorhens spend a lot of time in water when their legs are not visible – so the reporting rates of these colour ringed birds is not yet known. However, the rings are easy to spot and read when the birds are feeding in short grass.

The very nice ring plates have been made for me by Risto Juvaste in Finland.

In the first year of the study a further 109 Common Moorhens were metal-ringed and 74 colour rings were fitted at the following sites: - King’s Mills, La Grande Mare and the Vale Marais.

The rings are red with a white code (xxn) – where x = letter and n = number.

Any of these colour rings sighted should be reported to me at pkv@cwgsy.net.

I will reply with a full life history of the bird.

Thank you

Paul K Veron

Channel Islands Ringing Permit No 129

3rd March 2009