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Little Ringed Plover, Ballycotton, Co. Cork. 31 August 2011
(Richard T. Mills)

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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January Banner

This month's banner image shows a view of part of the estuary, surrounding fields and dwellings at Rosscarbery Bay, Cork. The picture was taken from the western side of the bay looking northeast by Mark Carmody. A causeway that is part of the main Clonakilty to Skibereen road divides the bay. North of the causeway is a lagoon whereas the area between it and the sea is a shallow tidal estuary with extensive mudflats. A pool edged with reed beds is separated from the estuary by a secondary causeway on the northwest corner of the bay. The hinterland consists mainly of farms, woods and private residences. To date the general area has recorded such rarities as Cattle Egret, Spoonbill, American Golden Plover, Semipalmated Sandpiper, White-rumped Sandpiper, Baird's Sandpiper, Stilt Sandpiper, Lesser Yellowlegs, Bonaparte's Gull, Laughing Gull, Caspian Tern, Bee-eater and Woodlark.

What's New - January'17

1. The most recent Provisional List available is to November 2016. Please note that from January 2016 the monthly Provisional List will be available as a PDF only.
2. Updated Reference List for Storm-petrels is 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