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Red-eyed Vireo, Loop Head, Co. Clare, 7 October 2006
(Killian Mullarney)

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.

September Banner

This month's banner image shows a view of Tory Island taken from the base of Tor Mór looking west. Taken by Aidan G. Kelly it shows West Town to the left and the lighthouse in the distance. The island is mostly flat except for high cliffs situated on its eastern end. It is nine miles off Bloody Foreland on the Donegal coast. It is frequently subjected to severe Atlantic storms, leaving much of it devoid of cover except in the vicinity of the villages. A bird observatory was maintained on the island between 1958 and 1965. Following its closure, the island did not get much attention for some years, however more recently it has once again become a popular autumn destination for birders. To date it has added Caspian Tern, Arctic Warbler, Booted Warbler, Collared Flycatcher, Scandinavian Rock Pipit, Common Rosefinch and Yellow-breasted Bunting to the Irish List and recorded such rarities as Northern Eider, Wilson's Storm-petrel, Black-winged Stilt, American Golden Plover, Baird's Sandpiper, Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Snowy Owl, Wryneck, Red-backed Shrike, Great Grey Shrike, Short-toed Lark, Red-rumped Swallow, Greenish Warbler, Radde's Warbler, Barred Warbler, Paddyfield Warbler, Blyth's Reed Warbler, Rose-coloured Starling, Bluethroat, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Richard's Pipit, Pechora Pipit, Arctic Redpoll, Ortolan Bunting, Little Bunting and Black-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