bird image

Desert Wheatear, Bray Head, Co. Wicklow. 13 November 2011
(Tom Shevlin,

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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November Banner

This month's image shows a view over part of the South Slob from the Wexford to Rosslare railway line. Taken by Victor Caschera it shows part of the main channel, adjacent reedbeds and the area known as Hopeland. Further in the distance parts of the Rosslare Back Strand can just be made out. The land was reclaimed from the sea in the 19th century and a seawall divides it from Wexford harbour. Along with the North Slob it is an important wintering site for geese and wildfowl. The South Slob is now private farmland and access is not possible without permission. To date the area has added Mandarin Duck to the Irish List and recorded such rarities as Whistling Swan, Tundra Bean Goose, Snow Goose, Black Brant, Blue-winged Teal, Red-crested Pochard, Ring-necked Duck, Ferruginous Duck, Night Heron, Squacco Heron, Cattle Egret, Great White Egret, Purple Heron, Glossy Ibis, Honey Buzzard, Black Kite, Montagu's Harrier, Crane, American Golden Plover, Lesser Yellowlegs, White-winged Black Tern, Chimney Swift, Hobby, Golden Oriole, Great Grey Shrike, Bearded Tit, Siberian Stonechat and Water Pipit as well as Category D records of Ruddy Shelduck.

Provisional List

The most recent Provisional List available is to October 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