To migrate or not to migrate, that is the question!

The Icelandic breeding population of Oystercatchers is both resident and migratory in winter. To try and understand the trade-offs between these quite different strategies we have recently started a colour-marking programme for Icelandic breeding Oystercatchers.



We would therefore like to ask all waderologists in Western Europe to keep an eye out for colour-full Icelandic Oystercatchers. Both adults and chicks (when big enough) are ringed with two colour rings on left tarsus and a flag above another colour ring o the right tarsus (metal ring goes on either tibia and is not part of the scheme).  We really want to know where they spend the winter months to help us figure out if individuals are set or flexible in their migration strategies.

So, if you happen to see some Oystercatcher legs from this scheme, please contact us via

Thank you!


Dr Verónica Méndez Aragón

School of Biological Sciences
University of East Anglia