Tagged Ring-billed Gull found breeding in Russia


A Ring-billed Gull that was ringed and subsequently satellite tagged in Poland has been found breeding in Russia.

The bird, known as 'Kajzerka', was located by its GPS transmissions, and was tracked down by local ornithologist Alexei Lewaszkin after contact from the Polish team monitoring the gull's movements. It transpired that Kajzerka was paired with a Common Gull on a warehouse roof in Nizhny Novgorod, and was rearing hybrid chicks.

Kajzerka the Ring-billed Gull with its Common Gull mate at the nest in Nizhny Novgorod (Alexei Lewaszkin via Facebook).

This completes the picture of Kajzerka's annual life cycle and demonstrates just how effective GPS transmitters can be in the study of bird movements.

Kajzerka was tagged in early December 2021 in north-east Poland and fitted with a transmitter. Soon after, it began to move westwards through Europe.

After wintering in Belgium, Kajzerka's spring migration began on 23 March and it was in Germany by the following day, then Poland on 25th. It was then tracked moving through Ukraine from 27th.

Since breeding in Nizhny Novgorod, Kajzerka's post-breeding movements have already begun – transmissions placed the bird near the Russian city of Vladimir, between Nizhny Novgorod and Moscow, before it continued westwards through Belarus and into Lithuania on 23 July, where it lingered near Kaunas and became the first national record of the species in the process.