'World's oldest' whimbrel recorded on Shetland

London, Sept 30 (ANI): A whimbrel, ringed on a Shetland island almost a quarter of a century ago, is now believed to be oldest in world.

According to RSPB Scotland, the bird was ringed on Fetlar in 1986 and has now been identified breeding on the same island.

It also said that it was believed to be the oldest surviving ringed whimbrel in the world, more than doubling the typical 11-year lifespan.

"I first came across this bird 24 years ago during my PhD research on whimbrel in Shetland," the BBC quoted Dr Murray Grant, principal conservation scientist with RSPB Scotland, as saying.

"It was probably at least two or three years old then, as that's when these birds normally start breeding, so it is a great surprise to learn that it is still revisiting Fetlar after so long," he said.

But he explained: "My pleasure at learning of this record-breaking whimbrel is tempered by the fact that we've only found it because of our research into their population decline on Shetland.

"When I first encountered this bird there were some 80 pairs of whimbrel breeding on Fetlar, now there are probably fewer than 25.

"Sadly, it seems that this level of decline is typical of the rest of Shetland, which holds a vast majority of the UK population," he added. (ANI)

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