Colour code

The birds in this project are ringed with a barcode ring (also called zebra ring or wasp ring) in combination with 1 or 2 rings without engraving. The barcode ring is always on the lower leg. There are one or two colour rings on one of the remaining positions. When there are two colour rings they are always on the lower leg. Otherwise there is always only one ring per part of the leg.

The short notation for the colour code contains the following 4 successive elements:

  1. The letters of the colours of the barcode ring (two letters: first the base colour and then the colour of the inscription)
  2. Bar code of the barcode ring (3 digits, 19 possibilities)
  3. Letter(s) indicating the colour(s) of the small colour ring(s) (1 letter per ring)
  4. Positions of the rings (1 digit, 6 possibilities)

Example OB210G1. This bird has a barcode ring on the lower left leg that is orange with a thick black bar on top, a thin bar in the middle and no bar at the bottom. In addition it carries a small green ring on the upper left leg.

A detailed description can be found in Waderttrack

It is impossible to enter a colour code using wildcards for lost or unseen rings. Please draw the ring. The position of the metal ring and (incomplete) information on the code on the metal ring may provide valuable information on the identity of a bird.

letters to indicate colours (Beware: these are different from the usual/standard indications)

  • B = Black
  • C = dark blue (Marine)
  • G = Green (both for dark and light green)
  • O = Orange
  • R = Red
  • W = White
  • Y = Yellow

Barcode rings can have bars in the colours black, white or red. Example: OB means an orange ring with black bars.


On every barcode ring there can be 1, 2 or 3 bars. The bars can be placed on top, in the middle of at the bottom. On each position there can be no bar (code "0"), a narrow bar (code "1") or a wide bar (code "2"). Example: inscription code 210 means thick bar on top, a thin bar in the middle and no bar at the bottom.

positions of the rings

The various rings can be placed in different ways on the various leg parts. Each combination has a digit to identify it.

  • 1 = small colour ring left upper leg + barcode left
  • 2 = small colour ring left upper leg + barcode ring
  • 3 = small colour ring(s) left lower leg + barcode right
  • 4 = small colour ring(s) right lower leg + barcode left
  • 5 = small colour ring right upper leg + barcode left
  • 6 = small colour ring right upper leg + barcode right
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