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Semipalmated Sandpipers, Tacumshin Lake, Co. Wexford. 24 August 2011
(Pat Lonergan)

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.

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March Banner

This month's banner image was taken by Neal Warnock and shows a view looking west over Lough Gill, Kerry. This shallow freshwater lagoon is situated on the north coast of the Dingle peninsula near Castlegregory. The sand dune system, which separates and protects it from Brandon Bay, is visible on the far side of the lake and the Brandon Mountains are very prominent in the distance. The lough is fringed with reedbeds and surrounded by rough pasture and some grassland on the inland side. It is an important wintering site for wildfowl, which can gather there in great numbers. Lough Gill is a breeding site for the rare Natterjack Toad also. To date it has added Tundra Swan, the nominate race of Bewick's Swan, to the Irish List and recorded such rarities as Lesser Scaup, Surf Scoter, Cormorant of the continental European race sinensis and Citrine Wagtail, while nearby Castlegregory has recorded Black Brant, Cattle Egret, Montagu's Harrier, American Herring Gull and Roller.

What's New - March'17

1. The most recent Provisional List available is to December 2016. Please note that from January 2016 the monthly Provisional List will be available as a PDF only.
2. IRBC adopt IOC World List as taxonomy authority and Irish List is amended accordingly.

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