Who is my hoodie?

Researchers mark birds so that they can answer a whole range of questions about individual birds that they would never be able to otherwise answer – for instance: How long do they live? Do they remain with their partners for life? Do they have one partner or more? Do they move around or stay in the one area? How far can they move?


Hooded Plovers have been marked by various researchers over time to answer the above questions and we have a great understanding of much of their population demographics, however, there are still some big questions that need answering. In particular, what is the survival rate of new fledglings to adulthood? If this is low, then this would mean we need to produce far more chicks than we currently are. If it is high, we can be confident knowing that the chicks we produce are going to feed into the population and strengthen its viability.

If you see a hoodie with a band,
please report the details to
Birds Australia.

Here’s an example of colour band info at work!


Types of bands

There are 3 main types of marking system for Hooded Plovers.

All birds that are banded have a metal band that sits around their lower leg. This band has a unique Australian Bird and Bat Banding Scheme (ABBS) number engraved on it. This number can be used to identify birds if/when they are re-captured. There is no need to try and record the engraved number (it’s impossible to read anyway unless the bird is recaptured).

Here are the rest of the details of the 3 different banding systems:

Colour bands

Colour bands are simple plastic “rings” that sit around the birds lower leg (i.e. below the knee). There can be up to 3 colour bands (in addition to a metal band) in total on a given bird. The birds are identified by the different combination of their colour bands.


Report as: Grey band over metal band lower left /no band lower right.

Report as: White over light green bands lower left

/ metal band lower right.

Colour flags

Colour flags are basically the same as colour bands bands but with a flat protrusion, or “flag”, sticking our from them to aid identification. Again there can be up to 3 colour flags on an individual bird, in addition to it’s metal band.


Report as: Orange flag over metal band lower right / yellow flag lower left.

Engraved flags

Engraved flags are similar to colour flags - i.e. they are plastic rings with a “flag” sticking out
of them. These flags are different however in that they sit on the upper leg of the bird (above
the knee), are larger than colour flags and have 2 letters engraved on them. There is only
ever 1 engraved flag per bird which can be any colour.

Reporting what you’ve seen

If a Hooded Plover is seen with bands and/or flags on their legs, it is important that this
information is reported to Birds Australia and we can then forward the details to the relevant


Report as: Red flag over metal band lower left

/ dark green over light green flag lower right.

Report as: Orange flag PP upper left.

When reporting your observation, please include:

- Observer contact information.

- Location of bird/s - longitude/latitude in decimal degrees or degrees, minutes, seconds appreciated, otherwise description of site, e.g. 250 metres west of beach access point name, suburb/town, state.

- Time and date.

- Type of tag – is it a metal band, colour band, colour flag or coloured engraved flag? All birds will have at least one metal (silver) band on their lower leg (this may appear grey).

- Colour of the band or flag.

- Position of band or flag - above or below the ‘knee’ (upper or lower leg).

- Which leg are they on? The order is so important as this will tell us ‘who’ the bird is!



Read from the body to the foot e.g. “Red flag over metal band”. All combinations are possible! Be aware that colours may fade or become tinted and birds may lose bands or flags.