bird image

Red-eyed Vireo, Mizen Head, Co. Cork. 20 October 2011
(Graham Clarke,

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 2012 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.

July Banner

This month's banner image was taken by David O'Connor and shows a view looking east from Annagh towards Lohercannon (on the left), the bridge over the River Lee and the Blennerville Windmill at the head of Tralee Bay, Co. Kerry. In the background are the Stack's Mountains and windfarm. Tralee Bay is a Statutory Nature Reserve and much of its estuarine parts are designated as Special Protection Areas under the EU Birds Directive. There are extensive intertidal mudflats fringed with saltmarsh over much of the bay especially on the south-eastern part around Blennerville. The bay is very important for wintering wildfowl and waders. To date it has added Red-crested Pochard, Hudsonian Whimbrel, Temminck's Stint, Ivory Gull and Kumlien's Gull to the Irish List and recorded such rarities as Black Brant, Green-winged Teal, Night Heron, Cattle Egret, Spoonbill, Goshawk, Black-winged Stilt, Avocet, American Golden Plover, Sociable Plover, Killdeer, White-rumped Sandpiper, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Terek Sandpiper, Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs, Long-billed Dowitcher, Caspian Tern, Whiskered Tern, White-winged Black Tern, Forster's Tern, Bonaparte's Gull, Laughing Gull, Atlantic Gull, American Herring Gull, Hobby, Gyr Falcon, Red-rumped Swallow, American Robin and Red-headed Bunting.

Appendix Lists

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

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

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BirdWatch Ireland

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

BirdWatch Ireland