bird image

Upland Sandpiper, Termoncarragh, Mullet Peninsula, Co. Mayo. 20 October 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 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.

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January Banner

This month's banner image shows a view of the North Slob taken from the Tower Hide looking east towards the Raven Point. Taken by Stephen McAvoy it shows some of the pools adjacent to the Interpretive Centre as well as part of the protective sea-dyke separating it from Wexford Harbour to the right. The slobland was reclaimed from the sea during the 1840s and nowadays consists of both the Wexford Wildfowl Reserve and privately owned farmland. The North Slob is a wintering ground of international importance for many migratory waterfowl, especially the Greenland White-fronted Goose. To date it has added Lesser White-fronted Goose, Western Sandpiper, Isabelline Shrike, Paddyfield Warbler and Pine Bunting to the Irish List as well as recording such rarities as Tundra Swan, Tundra Bean Goose, Snow Goose, Black Brant, American Black Duck, Blue-winged Teal, Red-crested Pochard, Ferruginous Duck, Lesser Scaup, Night Heron, Glossy Ibis, Montagu’s Harrier, Crane, Little Ringed Plover, Upland Sandpiper, Stilt Sandpiper, Temminck's Stint, Marsh Sandpiper, Long-billed Dowitcher, Gull-billed Tern, Whiskered Tern, Alpine Swift, Great Grey Shrike, Woodchat Shrike, Short-toed Lark, Red-rumped Swallow and Barred Warbler.

Provisional List

The most recent Provisional List available is to December 2014.

Appendix Lists

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

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