Longevity records

Listed below is a table detailing all known longevity records pertaining to all species of which the group has ringed 25 or more since 1959. The British-ringed records are also available from the British Trust for Ornithology website.

Some of the WWRG-ringed species have had few recoveries and so no significant longevity has been noted. Where a Wash-ringed bird holds the British record, the details appear in italics.

British Ringed
Wash Wader Group Ringed
Species Ring Number Years Months Ring Number Years Months
Oystercatcher SS58540 (controlled by WWRG) 40 1 SS88071 36 8
Golden Plover 20772773 12 0 DN77939 6 5
Grey Plover DR33258 25 1 DR33258 25 1
Lapwing DS30355 21 1
Ringed Plover NV68817 21 11 BV85945 19 8
Whimbrel EK92102 24 1
Curlew FV67501 32 7 FA10051 29 11
Black-tailed Godwit EF9083 (previously controlled by WWRG) 23 5
Bar-tailed Godwit DS66917 33 11 DS66917 33 11
Turnstone XS56243 20 0 CC88754 19 2
Knot CE25745 27 3 CK68568 24 0
Ruff CC91720 9 0 CE33211 6 7
Curlew Sandpiper BV70618 14 10
Sanderling BB52147 17 7 BB52147 17 7
Dunlin NS64038 19 3 NR32469 18 11
Purple Sandpiper NV03868 15 2 BV89291 11 11
Little Stint KR8— 3 11
Common Sandpiper NV54164 14 0
Spotted Redshank DR28508 7 5 DR28508 7 5
Greenshank DR70162 16 0 DR96000 5 11
Redshank DR74213 20 1 P10010 & DN20546 17 0
Snipe XC34292 16 0

It is noteworthy that, for some of the species that we catch regularly, the longevity records are still being beaten fairly frequently – pointing to the fact that, for these species, expected maximum life spans have not yet been established. This was particularly true of Oystercatchers since, it seems, a good number of birds still survive since increased numbers were ringed following the advent of rocket/cannon-netting in 1967; birds over 30 years old continue to be caught or recovered fairly regularly, and in 2010 the first 40+ year old bird was captured – the first British-ringed wader to reach this landmark age.

On the other hand it is particularly noticeable that the longevity record for a Wash-ringed Redshank has remained at 17yr 0m since 1976; the first to achieve this was P10010, a bird originally caught in the group’s first-ever catch on 18/08/59, and only the 10th bird ringed by the WWRG! The second to make it to 17 years was just 9 days older than the first when it was controlled in 2004. P10010 held the national longevity record from 1976 until it was beaten elsewhere by an 18yr 5m old recovery in 1993 with the record then being extended to 19yr 10m in 1995 and 20yr 1m in 2007. Such long-standing records would suggest that we have established the normal maximum life expectancy for Redshank; any living over 17 years being exceptional. This also looks to be the case for Knot (27yr 3m), Sanderling (17yr 7m), Dunlin (19yr 3m) and Turnstone (20yr 0m), all of which have longevity records that have seldom changed, if at all, in fifteen years or more, despite significant numbers being caught from the 1960’s through to the 1980’s.