Information for Ringers

EURING requires that all ringers wishing to colour-mark waders within Europe must first discuss the registration of their scheme with the IWSG Colour Mark Register. Wader ringing has a long history, and individuals of many species are long lived, so many potential permutation of rings and flags are already in use. It is essential for current and future projects that colour-mark use is coordinated to prevent duplication. We welcome discussion with ringers regarding their planned projects.


The IWSG coordinates all colour ringing of waders in Europe on behalf of EURING and the European ringing offices, and all marking in the East Atlantic Flyway. The IWSG only coordinates: the ringing offices issue permission to colour mark birds and put on GPS/dataloggers etc. You must check that the marks we approve are in accordance with your ringing licence. All schemes must be coordinated, even if you are only interested in breeding studies or local movements in a small area. The doubling up of schemes can damage important research.

Many waders breeding in Greenland and NE Canada migrate on the East Atlantic Flyway (species such as Dunlin, Purple Sandpiper, Red Knot, Ringed Plover, Ruddy Turnstone and Sanderling) which are marked there must be coordinated. This also applies to several species breeding in north Russia, outside Europe.

Application procedure

Queries about colour marking should be sent to Please note that the IWSG runs the colour ringing on a volunteer basis. That means that applications can take up to 6 weeks to process (especially during fieldwork periods), although we usually manage to issue approvals in a much shorter time.

The application form (Excel file) can be downloaded here: Application form – November 2015 version.