bird image

Great White Egret, Broad Lough, Co. Wicklow. 22 May 2005
(Paul & Andrea Kelly,

Irish Rare Birds Committee

The Irish Rare Birds Committee (IRBC) is responsible for maintaining a list of the birds recorded in the Republic of Ireland and in addition the inshore waters up to 30km from the nearest land or where relevant, the median point between Ireland and Great Britain. So-called 'At sea' records, i.e. records of birds outside this 30 km limit but still within the Exclusive Economic Zone which extends to approximately 370 km (200 nautical miles) offshore or where relevant, the median point between Ireland and Great Britain are assessed and published by the IRBC in the Irish Rare Bird Report (IRBR), but are excluded from the main list.

The primary function of the IRBC is the assessment of records of certain rare and scarce species. From 2004 the results are published annually in the IRBR and previously in the Irish Bird Report (IBR) from 1953 to 2003. The most recent is the 2014 report, which along with others is available for download through this website as PDFs. In addition the IRBR is included in Irish Birds, which is published by BirdWatch Ireland annually and is available from Wings, the BirdWatch Ireland online shop.

Beginning with the 2005 IRBR, the IRBC changed its method of record submission and assessment. Generally speaking many regularly occurring and apparently seldom misidentified rarities no longer require formal documentation (although there may be occasional exceptions). The full list of species affected are included in Appendix 2. Those species which continue to require formal documentation are listed in Appendix 1. For a full account of the background and reasons behind these changes click here.

The Committee, whose members work in an honorary capacity, operates under the auspices of BirdWatch Ireland. The Committee's current membership is listed here. For a short background to its origins as well as the all time list of its members click here.

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May Banner

This month's banner image was taken by John Lynch and shows a view of the northwest corner of The Gearagh, situated on the floodplain of the River Lee, about one mile south-west of Macroom, Cork. The construction of dams on the river at Inniscarra and Carrigadrohid in the 1950s created two lakes which cover an area of about five square miles extending from Inishcarra west to The Gearagh. The area surrounding the lake is a mixture of woodland, scrub and grassland that is prone to periodic flooding. The tree stumps in the picture were once part of a larger area of flooded forest and what now remains, further west in a system of river channels, is the only example of extensive alluvial forest in western Europe. The lake is an important site for wintering wildfowl, which can gather in large numbers. To date it has added Bufflehead to the Irish List as well as recording such rarities as Taiga Bean Goose, American Wigeon, Green-winged Teal, Blue-winged Teal, Ring-necked Duck, Ruddy Duck, Spoonbill, Goshawk, American Golden Plover, Long-billed Dowitcher and Lesser Yellowlegs, while nearby Dooniskey has recorded Lesser Scaup.

What's New - May'17

1. The most recent Provisional List available is to December 2016. Please note that from January 2016 the monthly Provisional List will be available as a PDF only.
2. IRBC adopt IOC World List as taxonomy authority and Irish List is amended accordingly.

Appendix Lists

For the 2005 Revised Rarity List with subsequent updates (Appendix 1), click here.

For the 2005 Supplementary Accreditation Species with subsequent updates (Appendix 2), click here.

BirdWatch Ireland

BirdWatch Ireland is the largest independent conservation organisation in Ireland dedicated to protecting Ireland’s birds and biodiversity.

BirdWatch Ireland