bird image

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 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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July Banner

This month's banner image was taken by Tony Murray and shows an aerial view from the west of Our Lady's Island Lake and the south coast of Wexford as far as Kilmore Quay. The lake is a sedimentary lagoon about 2.5 miles long, which is separated from the sea by a sand and gravel bar. It is surrounded by cultivated fields and farmland although there is an area of freshwater swamp at Ring Marsh just to the east. The area is designated as an SPA, with breeding Sandwich, Common, Arctic and Roseate Terns as well as a significant Black-headed Gull colony. It is the site of the first breeding record of Mediterranean Gull in Ireland during 1996 and still supports a small colony. The small island of Inish along with its prominent Monterey Pine to the right, hosts the largest number of breeding terns. The National Parks and Wildlife Service maintain a presence at the lake undertaking ongoing survey and wardening work. In addition, the area is renowned for its ability to attract vagrants from far afield. To date it has added Pied-billed Grebe, Lesser Yellowlegs and Wilson's Phalarope to the Irish List and recorded such rarities as Blue-winged Teal, Ferruginous Duck, Great White Egret, Glossy Ibis, Spoonbill, Black Kite, Northern Harrier, Montagu's Harrier, Crane, Stone Curlew, Black-winged Stilt, Avocet, American Golden Plover, Little Ringed Plover, Temminck's Stint, Least Sandpiper, White-rumped Sandpiper, Baird's Sandpiper, Stilt Sandpiper, Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Spotted Sandpiper, Short-billed Dowitcher, Gull-billed Tern, Whiskered Tern, American Black Tern, White-winged Black Tern, Elegant Tern, Forster's Tern, Bonaparte's Gull, Wryneck, Hobby, Short-toed Lark, Barred Warbler and Rose-coloured Starling.

What's New - July 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. Updated Reference Lists for Larks is available through the Gallery Notes page.
3. Finder's accounts of the first Irish records of American Herring Gull and Lesser Crested Tern 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