Colour-mark(s) used:

Lime leg ring, two black characters

letter and/or number combinations

Blue leg ring, two yellow characters

letter and/or number combinations

All birds also carry a BTO metal ring on the opposite leg

Project summary

Project status
Total colour marked
Total sightings

Ongoing since 2017


The large, brightly coloured Shelduck is a familiar bird of estuaries and muddy shores, throughout Britain and Ireland, where it feeds on small invertebrates sieved from the surface layers of the mud. Most Shelducks in western Europe undertake a moult migration to the Helgoland Bight in Northwest Germany followed by a gradual return to the breeding areas. A small minority of British & Irish Shelducks, however, moult locally.

This project started in 2017 at WWT Martin Mere in Lancashire, the most important catching location for Shelduck in Britain. The group has recorded over 4000 sightings providing information on movements both within Britain and overseas across Europe. The information from birds already marked will also provide greater understanding of movements of this species between Britain’s estuaries. Further recruitment into this project will provide sufficient numbers of sightings to provide updated survival estimates.

With thanks to the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust for facilitating access to the swan pipe at WWT Martin Mere for the capture of Shelduck.

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