bird image

American Coot, Termoncarragh Lake, Co. Mayo. 16 November 2010
(Neal Warnock)

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.

The Northern Ireland Birdwatchers' Association Records Committee (NIBARC) performs a similar role in Northern Ireland and the two committees work together to maintain a comprehensive record of birds found on the island of Ireland.

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May Banner

This month's banner image, taken by Tony Lancaster, shows the view from Great Saltee Island looking north-east towards Little Saltee Island and the south Wexford coast, which is about three miles distant. The Neale family have owned Great Saltee Island since the 1940s and their island residence can just be seen in the foreground to the left beside the ruined gable end. A bird observatory was maintained on Great Saltee Island between 1950 and 1964 with reports published annually in the Irish Bird Report. In addition to its reputation for attracting spring migrants the southern and western sides of the island have steep cliffs, which are important for breeding seabirds. To date it has added Lesser Grey Shrike, Red-rumped Swallow, Greenish Warbler, Nightingale, Bluethroat, Siberian Stonechat, Grey-headed Wagtail, Tawny Pipit, Olive-backed Pipit, Red-throated Pipit, Buff-bellied Pipit and Black-headed Bunting to the Irish List as well as recording such rarities as Bittern, Little Bittern, Baillon's Crake, Montagu's Harrier, Stone Curlew, White-rumped Sandpiper, Great Snipe, Scops Owl, Little Owl, Alpine Swift, Little Swift, Bee-eater, Roller, Wryneck, Red-backed Shrike, Woodchat Shrike, Short-toed Lark, Woodlark, Dusky Warbler, Western Bonelli's Warbler, Barred Warbler, Subalpine Warbler, Aquatic Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Rufous Bush Robin, Black-eared Wheatear, Ortolan Bunting and Little Bunting.

What's New - May 2016

1. The most recent Provisional List available is to January 2016. Please note that from January 2016 the monthly Provisional List will be available as a PDF only.
2. New Reference Lists for Sandgrouse and Twite, Linnet & Redpolls are available through the Gallery Notes page.

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