Estonian nightjar tracked to plate in Congo


A European Nightjar that had been ringed as part of a study in Estonia ended up being eaten by humans in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, according to conservationists.

Matsalu Ringing Centre received a report from the country about the rediscovery of a nightjar that had been ringed for monitoring purposes in Estonia. It turned out that the bird had been eaten by humans. There are apparently no previous documented cases of the species definitively ending up as a human meal.

An Estonian-ringed European Nightjar ended up forming part of a meal in Democratic Republic of the Congo, where the ring was retrieved (Frank Golding).

Triin Edovald of the Estonian Environment Agency explained that the organisation had received a photo of the ring of the bird. She said: "We receive information about birds from abroad, but usually it involves photos of live birds or finds of dead birds. However, this specific information reached us because an employee of the Belgium Institute of Natural Sciences was on an expedition in Congo and happened upon the eating of the bird, and realised that it was significant information. We only received a photo of the ring."

Some 60,000 birds are ringed annually in Estonia and the rediscovery rate is approximately 5%, with around 1,000-1,500 controls each year.