Seabird Abstracts

A technique which may allow accurate determination of the age of adult birds

Klomp NI & Furness RW (1992) Ibis 134(3):245-249

Although many age determination techniques have been developed for four of the five vertebrate classes, none has been developed to determine the ages of adult birds. Here we report techniques, involving counting endosteal layers in the tibia, that has allowed us accurately to determine the age (in years) of 12 dead birds of species in four different families. Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis, Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis, Redshank Tringa totanus and Great Skua Catharacta skua, all of which had been ringed as chicks and so were of known ages up to 16 year old, but provided inaccurate results for one species, the Common Guillemot Uria aalge. Since other bird species have been found to possess endosteal layers and no species has yet been found to lack such layers, this would appear to be a technique of general applicability which would permit invaluable new work in both pure and applied fields of ornithology.


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