Thursday, 11 August 2011

Magpie (Pied) Mannikin research

Andy's garden, Sea Park January 2006
(Photo Andy Ruffle)

(Photo Andrew Pickles)

The Magpie (Pied) Mannkin Spermestes fringilloides, although not globally threatened, is listed as Near-threatened in South Africa*. It is found throughout sub-Saharan Africa from Senegal to Ethiopia and south to Zimbabwe and Mozambique, with an isolated population focused around Anerley in Kwazulu-Natal*.
Very little is known about this species, especially our local population, with much of the 'current' information dating back to the eighties*.
In June 2002 local bird ringer Andrew Pickles started a ringing project in an effort to find out more about the movements and life expectancy of this intriguing little resident.
The ongoing project now has some 157 birds ringed, but without feedback, Andrew is struggling to accumulate data.
We therefore appeal to everyone who is fortunate enough to have the 'Magpies' visiting their bird feeders, to carefully scan for any ringed birds. If you do see a ringed bird, please note the combination of colours on each leg, date and location seen. An example of the ring layout can be seen in the photo below- 2 colour rings on the left leg; 1 metal ring and 1 colour ring on the right leg.
Andrew is also desperately looking for more locations to ring the birds, so if you can assist in any way, please let him know. The more data aquired, the more we will learn.
Andrew can be contacted via , or alternatively you can contact Andy Ruffle via

Ring example for Andrew's project
(Photo Andrew Pickles)

* reference Roberts VII

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