Sooty Tern: Ringed birds have been recovered from as far afield as India, Sri Lanka and Australia. Photo: Adrian Skerrett
The following is a summary of all known recoveries to or from Seychelles of ringed or satellite tracked seabirds and migratory species.
Kermadec Petrel Pterodroma neglecta A sighting of an intermediate morph bird at Cousin on 29 August 2003 by Thor Veen and Cas Eikenaar was the first record for Seychelles. What is presumed by SBRC to be the same individual was captured and ringed by Cas Eikenaar on 29 June 2004. The bird was recovered and released again at Cousin on 13 August 2006.
Red-footed Booby Sula sula One nestling ringed by Tony Diamond at Aldabra on 16 March 1968 (ring no: HW11130) , landed exhausted on the oil tanker 'MobilTransporter on 28 March 1973 at 09 22S, 46 28E, Cared for and released next day at 11 01S, 44 07E. by S. Goodman, 3rd Officer
Masked Booby Sula dactylatra 1. A pullus ringed by Chris Feare at Boudeuse on 1 November, 1976 was found in June 1977, "unable to fly but cared for" at Porbander, Gujarat Region (Mumbai), India. 2. A bird ringed by Chris Feare at Boudeuse on 1 November 1976 was recovered in the stomach of a large Potato Bass Epinephelus tukula (or Vyey Toukoula) on 29 March 1988 off D'Arros, a distance of 99 km from the ringing site, by Commander Wills Jeanne.
Red-tailed Tropicbird Phaethon rubricauda A bird ringed by Tony Diamond at Aldabra on 8 August 1986 was recovered on 4 July 1997 (10 years 11 months later) at in the same location on Aldabra by Roselle Chapman.
Eleonora’s Falcon Falco eleonorae A ring (but no corpse) found at the airstrip, Alphonse on 12 December 2009 had been applied to a 1st-year at Las Islas Columbretes, Spain on 17 September 2008.
Crab Plover Dromas ardeola 1. An immature bird ringed by Kevin Jolliffe at Cousine on 9 November 2009 was found exhausted and later died by Robbie Bresson at Bird Island August 2010.
2. An adult was satellite tagged at Abu Al Abyad Island, United Arab Emirates, departing 18 November 2008, reaching Caluula, Somalia on 20 November and Aldabra 23 November. The last transmission, from Aldabra, was 25 November 2008.
Spur-winged PloverVanellus spinosus A bird present at Bird Island 17 November to 15 December 2010 was ringed by Kevin Jolliffe. This was accepted by SBRC as the first record for Seychelles. What was almost certainly the same individual as it bore a ring, was present atLa Promenade, Mahé 28 December 2010 to 6 April 2011.
Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola One ringed by Kevin Jolliffe at Cousine on 22 October 2009 was recovered at Cousine on 26 October 2010.
Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres 1. An adult ringed on Cousin on 24 December 1978 (ringer given as "E.G.I.") was found "freshly dead shot" on 24 October 1980, 40 km from Makhachkala, Dagestan, Russia, a distance of 5,360 km from the ringing site.
2. A first year ringed by John Phillips on Cousin on 3 November 1982 was recovered as an adult on 10 August 1986 on the Lower Sarysu River, 100 km north-east of Kyzl-Orda Town, Chimkent, Kazakhstan, a distance of 5,332 km from the ringing site, by CS Waller. A further ring was added prior to release.
3. This same bird (as in 2 above) was found "freshly dead shot" on La Digue on 15 November 1988 by Professor E.I. Gavrilov.
4. An adult ringed by Tony Diamond on Cousin on 21 March 1975 was shot on 14 September 1975 at Bandar Farahnaz (Gilan), Iran by FB Argyle.
Sooty Tern Onychoprion fuscatus Chris Feare has now ringed over 24,000 Sooty Terns in Seychelles since 1972. Over half of these were ringed on Bird Island, with significant numbers also on Desnoeufs, Aride and Cosmoledo, and others on African Banks, Farquhar and Récif. A relatively small number of these have been recovered away from Seychelles (see below) but during searches on Bird Island between 1995 and 2010, over 3,000 of these ringed birds have been re-caught. Some of these were birds originally ringed in 1972-73, and in 2006 sixteen 33-year-old birds were caught. These resightings indicate that Sooty Terns in Seychelles are generally very faithful to their breeding colonies but human disturbance and changes in food distribution sometimes stimulate adults to switch colonies. On Bird Island, birds ringed on Desnoeufs, African Banks, Aride, Récif and Cousine have now been recorded. One bird ringed as an adult on Bird in 1994 was re-trapped nesting in 1999 on Desnoeufs and then found again breeding on Bird in 2000. In 2010, six new birds that had been ringed on Desnoeufs were seen for the first time on Bird Island, suggesting increased disturbance on Desnoeufs. A Sooty Tern ringed as a chick by Gerard Rocamora at Desnoeufs on 15 July 2000 was recovered by George Marie on 16 June 2016 as a breeding adult. On 20 July 2020, Sophie Morel reported finding a ringed Sooty Tern at Bird Island; it had been ringed 26 years ago in June 1994 as an adult of at least 5 years, making it a minimum of 31 years of age.
Away from Seychelles, recoveries are as follows:
1. A pullus ringed by Chris Feare on Bird Island on 17 July 1973 was found on 13 January 1974 as an adult dead, floating in Edith River, Northern Territory, Australia by R Kendray, over 8,000 km from its ringing site.
2. A pullus ringed by Chris Feare on Bird Island on 8 September 1997 was recovered on 18 July 1998 at Kottayam, south-western India, a distance of 2,759 km from the ringing site, by Reji K Joseph.
3. An adult ringed by Chris Feare on Bird Island on 27 June 1994 was recovered on 27 October 1994 at Chilaw, on the western coast of Sri Lanka, 3,001 km from the ringing site, by WHM Rajarathna.
4. An adult ringed by Chris Feare on Desnoeufs on 25 June 1996 was caught on a ship, apparently attracted to its lights at night, at 4°43’N, 53°4’E (off Somalia), 1,210 km from Desnoeufs, on 20 February 2002. The bird was thought to be sick but was released the next day.
5. An adult ringed at Aride by Chris Feare/Elaine Gill/Peter Carty on 30 June 1995 was recovered on 13 May 2011 (therefore likely to be at least 22 years old) at Anawilundawa Puthlam, Sri Lanka, a distance of 2,985 km. The bird was sick (fowl cholera, also known as avian pasturellosis Pasteurella multicoda,bacteria were isolated) and later died.
6. A juvenile , fitted with a ring and a satellite transmitter in August 2019, was found 5 km inland, 40 km north of Mumbai, India on 27 July 2020. The bird was emaciated and died two days later.
7. One ringed as a chick unable to fly on 1 September 2019 was recovered at Kerala, India on 8 August 2020.
In addition to these birds that were ringed in Seychelles, a bird ringed as a chick on 19 December 1961 on Raoul Island, Kermadec Group, in the Pacific northeast of New Zealand (29º15’S, 177º55’W), was found breeding on Aride island on 30 June 1995. This 34 year old bird had moved 13,750 km from its natal site where the population has declined markedly due to rat and cat predation.
Geolocators recovered from Bird Island Sooty Terns have revealed four concentrations of the Indian Ocean used by birds during migration, (i) the Bay of Bengal and waters around Sri Lanka, (ii) an area straddling the Chagos-Laccadive ridge to the north-east of Seychelles, (iii) an are straddling the 90-east ridge to the south-east of Seychelles, and (iv) an area south of the Comores in the north of the Mozambique Channel. One individual made a particularly long distant migration: after foraging on each side of the Ninety East Ridge, itvisited the Banda Sea between Borneo and New Guinea at the border of the Pacific Ocean and returned to Bird Island for a new breeding attempt after travelling 65718 km. Sensors on the geolocators confirmed that during the non-breeding season Sooty Terns have little or no contact with either sea water or land, spending the vast majority their time airborne.
Bridled Tern Onychoprion anaethetus 1. An adult ringed by Tony Diamond on Cousin on 22 May 1973 was caught and released on 13 May 1974 by Jae Kyu Kim of Korea, a fisherman, off Pemba Island.
2. A nestling ringed by on Cousin on 23 August 1984 (ringer unknown) was found "dead with an injury" on 25 October 1984 by Mario Ricci on African Banks.
3.An adult found on 29 June 2012 at Cousin Island was ringed when age at lest one year at La Saline, Cousin on 6 July 1994. The age of at least 19 years is a record for this species.
Roseate Tern Sterna dougallii 1. A bird ringed by KW Smith on Bird Island on 13 July 1998 was recovered on 10 August 1986 on Denis Island, a distance of 48 km from the ringing site, by C Sarginson in an exhausted condition, unable to fly with a tick on one foot.
2. On 7 June 2008 Robbie Bresson found a ringed adult exhausted on the beach on Bird Island. It weighed only 60 g (normally 90-130 g) and died. It had been ringed on Aride by Jaime Ramos.
Acknowledgements: Thanks are due to all ringers credited in the individual entries and to the British Trust for Ornithology for the supply of information held in their records.