Colour Mark Recording

This document describes a standard way of recording colour marks (combinations of colour rings, colour rings with enscriptions, multi-coloured rings, leg flags, neck collars, wing tags, nasal tags and saddles...).  Many thanks to Alain Fosse for putting together this web page to better show the use of the coding standard (link). Some of the text is in French and English.

See illustrations of colour marks on the web site produced by Holmer Vonk :

Colour codes


R = red

W = white

G = dark green

L = light green (lime)
N =black (niger)

M = metal ring

Y = yellow

P = pale blue

O = orange

C = dark pink (carmine)

K = light pink

B = dark blue

U = brown

V = violet/mauve/purple

S = grey/silver

A = other metal ring

1. Legs

11. Rings

111. Which leg (L = gauche/left, R = droit/right)

112. Position on the leg either above or below the tarsal joint (B = tarse/below, A = tibia/above)
we have 

LB = left tarsus
LA = left tibia
RB = right tarsus
RA = right tibia
The leg codes are separated by a semicolon

?B = tarsus (side unknown), ?A = tibia (side unknown)

113. in order of height from the top down the colours are separated by commas

114. If there is an inscription then following the colour ring code another colour code gives the colour of the inscription followed by the code enclosed within parentheses (bars around the ring are shown by the "/" character).



115. two colour rings

2 = two colour striped rings (top colour given first)
3 = two colours side-by-side (top colour given first) 



12. Leg flags

F = flag

See for example


Copyright: Hugh Insley

13. large rings

131. simple
T = tall, the ring made twice the height of a normal ring 


132. wasp rings
= #, and within parentheses coded values for the width of the bands :
1 = narrow, 2 = wide, 0 = no band (the character before the parentheses indicates the colour of the bands).
= LAM;RBY#N(111) = LBM;RBY#N(102)

2. Neck

NC = neck collar


3. Wing

RW = right wing tag
LW = left wing tag
example : RWO,B;LWN,W = right tag with orange at the front and blue at the back, left tag black and white

4. Bill

NS = nasal tag or saddle
example : NSRB(QQ) = red saddle with blue "QQ" 

see pictures:

[Q] = square [R] = rectangle [T] = triangle [C] = circle
[H] = hexagon [O] = octagon [S] = star

example : NSR[Q],G[C] = red square tage in the right and green circular tag on the left

5. Sighting uncertanties

Colour mark observations can be difficult and some details cannot always be seen. An incomplete sight record may still be of value.

In this case a question mark can be used to indicate some uncertainty in colour or even position :

?B = tarsus (side not noted), ?A = tibia (side not noted)

LBO?(AHT) =  colour of the enscription not discerned

alaIPMR Home