The South African Bird Ringing Unit

Ringing birds around Africa!

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Bird ringing/banding is the process whereby registered ringers permanently mark wild birds to study their lifecycles (births, deaths, age of breeding and survival rates), habits, populations and movements. To do this metal rings (marked with unique numbers) are attached to the bird for future identification.

We at SAFRING administer all bird ringing within Southern Africa, supplying rings, ringing equipment and services to volunteer and professional ringers. SAFRING curates all the southern African ringing records on site and maintains a close relationship between all other ringing schemes.

We encourage everyone to actively take part in sighting and reporting all ringed birds to us, and we hope to hear from you soon.

Most recently ringed bird

Village Weaver

Ringed in:
Pretoria; Vastfontein

Date Ringed:


Latest Story

A Short History of SAFRING - Part 5

Dane Paijmans (2017-10-19)


The early years - Dr Clive C.H. Elliott

After Dr Geoffrey Roy McLachlan moved from Museum in Port Elizabeth in 1966 (read Dr McLachlans note), it was decided that the Ringing Scheme be handed over to a larger organisation with proper funding and staff. As a result the entire scheme was moved to the FitzPatrick Unit in Cape Town. 

The scheme was still administered by the South African Ornithological Society (SAOS - Now BirdLife South Africa) until 1972 when the first full time coordinator was employed, Dr Clive Elliott. With this new leadership the Scheme was renamed the National Unit for Bird-Ringing Administration (NUBRA).

This new unit struggled initially as the ringing data had been neglected over the previous five years. It soon made some great steps forward and one of the great improvements Clive made was the creation of "SAFRING News". In the first editorial entitled "Overcoming Isolation" Clive details the need for communication between ringers (to share knowledge, techniques, downfalls and interesting observations) and thus emphasising the need for such a magazine (written for the ringers, by the ringers). During his time at NUBRA Clive authored (along with Mike Jarvis)  four Annual Reports (the fourteenth, fifteenth, sixteenth and seventeenth). Although he only stayed for three years he was able to achieve a lot (to read a short account of his years click here).

First SAFRING News


To read more on SAFRINGs history please Click Here.

Click here to view all SAFRING stories!

A Short History of SAFRING - Part 4

Dane Paijmans (2017-10-09)


A Short History of SAFRING - Part 3

Dane Paijmans (2017-10-02)

Dr Hugh Ashton

A chance to volunteer in Eilat

Dane Paijmans (2017-09-21)