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Icterine Warbler, Cape Clear Island, Co. Cork. 10 October 2007
(Mícheál Cowming)

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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June Banner

This month's banner image shows a view from the southern tip of the Mullet Peninsula looking east across the entrance to Blacksod Bay, Mayo. It was taken from Tarmon Hill on the road from Fallmore to Blacksod Point by Dave Suddaby. The lighthouse, pier and vegetated gardens at Blacksod Point can be made out in the centre foreground, while across the sheltered waters of Blacksod Bay is the headland at Kanfinalta and further in the distance the northern edge of the Nephin mountains is visible. The Mullet Peninsula is about twenty miles long and hosts a range of habitats including sea cliffs, sandy beaches, machair, lakes and marsh land. To date the area has added American Purple Gallinule, American Golden Plover, Ring-billed Gull and Barred Warbler to the Irish List as well as recording such rarities as Tundra Bean Goose, Snow Goose, Cackling Goose, Black Brant, American Wigeon, Green-winged Teal, American Black Duck, Ring-necked Duck, King Eider, Surf Scoter, Black-browed Albatross, Wilson's Storm-petrel, Great White Egret, Glossy Ibis, Black Kite, American Coot, Little Bustard, Dotterel, Upland Sandpiper, Baird's Sandpiper, White-rumped Sandpiper, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Wilson's Phalarope, Solitary Sandpiper, Lesser Yellowlegs, Long-billed Dowitcher, Collared Pratincole, Ivory Gull, American Herring Gull, Thayer's Gull, Forster's Tern, Pallas's Sandgrouse, Snowy Owl, Bee-eater, Gyr Falcon, Red-eyed Vireo, Red-backed Shrike, Short-toed Lark, Red-rumped Swallow, Eastern Subalpine Warbler, Booted Warbler, Melodious Warbler, Cedar Waxwing, Red-flanked Bluetail, Citrine Wagtail, Buff-bellied Pipit, Hawfinch, Common Rosefinch, Arctic Redpoll, Ortolan Bunting and Blackpoll Warbler as well as a Category D record of Falcated Duck.


What's New - June 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 Divers, Sylvia warblers and Phylloscopus warblers are 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