The BBC today reports about a Manx Shearwater, a pelagic bird, that is believed to be the oldest wild bird in the United Kingdom:

Manxie, who is at least 51, has been coming back to Bardsey Island off the Gwynedd coast every year for half a century.

Ornithologists have also discovered a veteran Razorbill which has broken a previous record for long-life. This bird is at least 42 years old.

According to an article from CNN, an ornithologist judged that given its known age and its winter migration cycle which takes in Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay, it is estimated that the bird has traveled 500,000 miles, or the equivalent of a return trip to the Moon. This was in 2002.

Manx Shearwater (Puffinus puffinus) can be found on both sides of the Atlantic ocean. This species is more common in Europe but also frequents Newfoundland and New England. UK ornithologists are able to keep track of these aged avians because the birds are banded, or in British vernacular, ringed.  Just how old can a Manx shearwater get?

Mr Howlett (of the Bird Observatories Council) added: “Sixty or 70 years of age (for the bird) might be reasonable, it would be really one to get to.

The oldest wild bird ever found (not counting unconfirmed sightings and records) was a Royal Albatross that nested in New Zealand and was named Grandma. The bird was at least 53 years old when it went missing. Ancient mariners, indeed.

Written by Mike
Mike is a leading authority in the field of standardized test preparation, but he's also a traveler who fully expects to see every bird in the world. Besides founding 10,000 Birds in 2003, Mike has also created a number of other entertaining but now extirpated nature blog resources, particularly the Nature Blog Network and I and the Bird.