Fearless feathered friend flies 8,500km to KZN

13 March 2018 - 07:00 By Jeff Wicks
This ringed white stork was spotted in Karkloof after it flew over 8‚500km from Hungary.
This ringed white stork was spotted in Karkloof after it flew over 8‚500km from Hungary.
Image: Jacquie van der Westhuizen

A white stork which was ringed in Hungary last year has had a brief layover in the Karkloof in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands after a marathon flight of over 8‚500km.

The bird‚ spotted in the Karkloof conservancy last month‚ was ringed by the Hungarian bird ringing society in Nograd in June 2017. In an attempt to discover information about their migratory routes‚ hundreds of chicks are ringed each breeding season‚ mostly in European countries.

He or she was ringed in Nograd in Hungary on June 22‚ 2017 and has flown 8‚652km to where he was seen in the Karkloof.

The only place in South Africa where adult white storks and chicks are ringed is in Bredasdorp in the Western Cape‚ the sole known breeding ground in the country.

According to a post on the Karkloof Conservancy’s Facebook page‚ local birders had reached out to their Hungarian cohorts to try and understand the provenance of the bird in KZN.

“We have just received feedback from the Hungarian bird ringing society regarding the white stork. He or she was ringed in Nograd in Hungary on June 22‚ 2017 and has flown 8‚652km to where he was seen in the Karkloof‚” they said.

Bird ringing – also called banding - banding is the process whereby registered ringers permanently mark wild birds to study their life cycles‚ habits‚ populations and movements. To do this‚ metal rings marked with unique numbers are attached to the bird for identification.

According to the South African Bird Ringing Unit‚ the greatest distance between two sightings of a White Stork is 10‚114km. This was from Lading in Denmark to Alexandria Beach in the Eastern Cape.

The conservancy has asked keen birders to try and get phographic evidence of the number and send it through to the South African Bird Ringing Unit.

You can find their contact details here.


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