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Red-eyed Vireo, Mizen Head, Co. Cork. 24 October 2011
(Ciaran Cronin,

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 2013 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 Rarities 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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August Banner

This month's banner image shows a view of Loop Head and its lighthouse in Co. Clare. The picture was taken from the Kilbaha road looking southwest by Victor Caschera. The headland is situated at the western extremity of the county making it very exposed to the elements. The Shannon Estuary lies to the south and the Atlantic Ocean to the west and north. The lighthouse was established as far back as 1670 making it one of the oldest on the west coast of Ireland. The present building and outhouses can be clearly seen along with the rather featureless fields that surround it. On the northern side of the headland are steep cliffs, which host breeding Guillemots, Razorbills and Kittiwakes. About five miles distant back along the north Clare coast is the renowned sea-watching site of the Bridges of Ross. To date it has added Dark-eyed Junco and Common Yellowthroat to the Irish List as well as recording such rarities as Blue-winged Teal, Wilson's Storm-petrel, Spotted Crake, American Golden Plover, Wilson's Phalarope, Kumlien's Gull, Wryneck, Hobby, Red-eyed Vireo, Golden Oriole, Short-toed Lark, Red-rumped Swallow, Pallas's Warbler, Paddyfield Warbler, Siberian Thrush, Nightingale, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Richard's Pipit, Red-throated Pipit and Black-headed Bunting.

Provisional List

The most recent Provisional List available is to July 2015.

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