IRBC - The Irish List

The Irish List (as on the 31st December 2014) is available to download as a PDF document by following the link in the right-hand panel. The Irish List consists of all species which are included in Categories A, B & C (see below for a description of the Category system). The sequence and scientific nomenclature largely follows British Ornithologists’ Union (2013), with subsequent changes adopted by the IRBC recommended by the Taxonomic Sub-Committee of the BOURC (TSC) and the Taxonomic Advisory Committee of the AERC (TAC) .

New species are added to the Irish List following their publication in the Irish Rare Bird Report. Species may occasionally be removed from the list when the evidence no longer supports their inclusion. In addition, new data emerges from time to time which can recommend the spliting or lumping of existing species as well as revising the list order. Details of any changes in the Irish List are included in the Announcement pages. The most recent changes are a result of recommendations included in the 11th report of the Taxonomic Sub-Committee of the BOU (Sangster et al 2016) and the 2015 report of the TAC (Crochet et al 2015), which are outlined here.

Please note that the list includes four records which are not specifically identified, i.e. Madeiran or Cape Verde or Monteiro’s Storm-petrel, Fea's and/or Zino's Petrel, a Frigatebird species and Black Wheatear or White-crowned Black Wheatear. When known, the relevant subspecies is included in the list. Monotypic species are indicated by a dash in the 'Race' column.

National List Category System

The Association of European Rarities Committees (AERC) recommend the use of categories when compiling national lists of species. Many European rare bird committees now follow this practice including the IRBC. The following is a list of the categories in use and their significance:

  • Category A
    Species that have been recorded in an apparently natural state in Ireland at least once since 1st January 1950.
  • Category B
    Species that have been recorded in an apparently natural state in Ireland at least once up to 31st December 1949, but have not been recorded subsequently.
  • Category C1
    Species that, although originally introduced by man, have established feral breeding populations in Ireland which apparently maintain themselves without necessary recourse to further introduction.
  • Category C2
    Species that have occurred, but are considered to have originated from established naturalised populations outside Ireland.
  • Category D1
    Species that would otherwise appear in Categories A or B except that there is a reasonable doubt that they have ever occurred in a natural state.
  • Category D2
    Species that have arrived through ship or other human assistance.
  • Category D3
    Species that have only ever been found dead on the tideline.
  • Category D4
    Species that would otherwise appear in Category C1 except that their feral populations may or may not be self-supporting.
  • Category E
    Species that have been recorded as introductions, transportees or escapes from captivity.

The category breakdown of the Irish list on the 31st December 2014 was as follows:

  • Category A - 457
  • Category B -  15
  • Category C -   3
  • Total List - 475
  • Category D - 11
  • At Sea - 2

Species in Category D are not included in the main Irish List. Whenever a species is assigned to more than one category, the higher category only is included in the statistics. Category A is regarded as the highest.


British Ornithologists’ Union (BOU) 2013. The British List: A Checklist of Birds of Britain (8th Edition). Ibis 155(3): 635–676.

Crochet P.-A., Barthel P.H., Bauer H.-G., van den Berg A.B., Bezzel E., Collinson J.M., Dubois P.J., Fromholtz J., Helbig A.J., Jiguet F., Jirle E., Knox A.G., Kirwan G., Lagerqvist M., Le Maréchal P., van Loon A.J., Päckert M., Parkin D.T., Pons J.-M., Raty L., Roselaar C.S., Sangster G., Steinheimer F.D., Svensson L., Tyrberg T., Votier S.C., Yésou P. 2015. AERC TAC's taxonomic recommendations: 2015 report. Available online at [accessed August 2015].

Sangster, G., Collinson, M., Crochet, P.-A., Kirwan, G.M., Knox, A.G., Parkin, D.T. & Votier, S.C. 2016. Taxonomic recommendations for Western Palearctic birds: 11th report. Ibis 158(1): 206-212.


The Irish List

To download a copy of the Irish List in PDF format click here. Document will open in a new window.
Note: File size: 55KB

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