American Herring Gull, Dingle, Co. Kerry. 8 April 2004
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 Rare Birds Committee (NIRBC) 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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This month's banner image, taken by Tony Lancaster, shows a panoramic view of Tory Island and the north coast of Donegal from the island's lighthouse tower looking southeast. In the foreground is Lough Ahooey and West Town with East Town behind. Tor Mór, the tor that gives the island its name, is the highest point further back on the left. The island is mostly flat except for high cliffs situated on its eastern end. It is nine miles off the coast and 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, Scandinavian Rock Pipit, Booted Warbler, Arctic Warbler, Common Rosefinch and Yellow-breasted Bunting to the Irish List and recorded such rarities as Wilson's Storm-petrel, Black-winged Stilt, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Baird's Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, Buff-breasted 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, Rose-coloured Starling, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Richard's Pipit, Pechora Pipit, Arctic Redpoll, Ortolan Bunting, Little Bunting and Black-headed Bunting.
What's New - September'16
1. The most recent Provisional List available is to August 2016. Please note that from January 2016 the monthly Provisional List will be available as a PDF only.
2. Updated Reference Lists for Calidris waders, Gulls part 1 and Shrikes are available through the Gallery Notes page.
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 is the largest independent conservation organisation in Ireland dedicated to protecting Ireland’s birds and biodiversity.