BBC Home
Explore the BBC

CBBC

Animals

Last Updated: Tuesday September 21 2010 15:06 GMT

UK's oldest Arctic tern bird discovered after 30 years

UK's oldest Arctic tern

A small Arctic bird recaptured 30 years after it was ringed has been named the UK's oldest tern.

It's thought the bird has flown nearly a million miles in its lifetime so far!

A ring was put on the tern's leg in 1980 when it was just a chick and it's been rediscovered on the Farne Islands, off Northumberland, north-east England.

Terns have the longest migration of any bird. They do a 44,000 mile round-trip every year from the North Pole to the South Pole.

UK's oldest Arctic tern with the National Trust's John Walton, who ringed it 30 years ago
The tern was ringed by John Walton from the National Trust 30 years ago

John Walton from the National Trust ringed the bird 30 years ago on the Farne Islands.

He said: "This bird will have flown close to one million miles, raised any number of chicks, survived predators and storms and still looks in brilliant shape."

It has a few more years to go before beating the world's oldest tern, which was 34 years old and found in America.