bird image

American Herring Gull, Dingle, Co. Kerry. 8 April 2004
(Chris Batty)

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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April Banner

Tom Shevlin took this month's banner image showing a view from Great Saltee Island past Little Saltee Island towards the south coast of Wexford, about three miles off. Nowadays much of Great Saltee Island is covered in bracken and brambles, however there are some trees and overgrown gardens around the ruins of the old farmhouse visible in the picture and around the island home of the Neale family the owners of Great Saltee since the 1940s. A bird observatory was in operation on the island between 1950 and 1964 with its reports, edited by Major Robert F. Ruttledge and John Weaving, published in Irish Bird Reports. Since the late 1970s annual ringing of seabirds and migrants has been carried out. In addition to its considerable reputation for attracting spring and autumn migrants the southern and western sides of the island have steep cliffs that host breeding seabird colonies. To date it has added Lesser Grey Shrike, Red-rumped Swallow, Greenish Warbler, Nightingale, Bluethroat, Siberian Stonechat, Grey-headed Wagtail, Tawny Pipit, Olive-backed Pipit, Red-throated Pipit, Buff-bellied Pipit and Black-headed Bunting to the Irish List as well as recording such rarities as Bittern, Little Bittern, Montagu's Harrier, Stone Curlew, White-rumped Sandpiper, Great Snipe, Little Owl, Alpine Swift, Bee-eater, Roller, Wryneck, Red-backed Shrike, Woodchat Shrike, Short-toed Lark, Woodlark, Dusky Warbler, Western Bonelli's Warbler, Barred Warbler, Subalpine Warbler, Aquatic Warbler, Rufous Bush Robin, Black-eared Wheatear, Ortolan Bunting and Little Bunting.


What's New - April'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