bird image

Woodchat Shrike, Rosscarbery, Co. Cork. 22 April 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 Rare Birds Committee (NIRBC) 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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December Banner

This month's banner image was taken by John N. Murphy. It shows an aerial view of the Shannon Airport Lagoon and Dernish Island on the northeast shore of the Shannon Estuary adjacent to Shannon Airport, Clare. The lagoon, which is visible to the right, began to form in the 1940s following the construction of two seawalls connecting Dernish Island to the shore. The area consists of the shallow brackish lagoon, reedbeds, salt and fresh water marshland, tidal mudflats, creeks and scrubland. A long-term study of Sedge Warblers breeding in the reedbeds has been carried on by local ornithologists. There is a bird hide on the western side of the lagoon, however it is no longer of practical use due to the encroachment of Phragmites between it and open water. The jetty connected to Dernish Island is used by tankers to discharge aviation fuel for the airport. To date it has added Savi's Warbler to the Irish List as well as recording such rarities as Blue-winged Teal, Black Kite, Avocet, Semipalmated Sandpiper, White-rumped Sandpiper, Baird's Sandpiper, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Long-billed Dowitcher, Wilson's Phalarope, Bonaparte's Gull, Laughing Gull, White-winged Black Tern, Bluethroat and Citrine Wagtail.

What's New - December'16

1. The most recent Provisional List available is to October 2016. Please note that from January 2016 the monthly Provisional List will be available as a PDF only.
2. Updated Reference List for Gulls part 2 and Terns 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