BirdTrack logo

Project partners

British Trust for Ornithology logo
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds Logo
BirdWatch Ireland logo
SOC logo
WOS logo

Project partners

British Trust for Ornithology logo
BirdWatch Ireland logo
SOC logo
WOS logo

Scarce birds in BirdTrack

An important aspect of BirdTrack is to provide supplementary information on some of the scarcer species in Britain and Ireland. Many species are monitored well by existing surveys such as the BTO/JNCC/RSPB Breeding Bird Survey and by periodical surveys like Seabird 2000 and the recent Nightjar survey. Others are difficult to survey well due to the habitats they occupy, their low breeding density and their secretive nature!

There is a range of species for which birdwatchers' records could easily and usefully add to our knowledge of population status. We hope to build up an annual picture of their distribution in Britain and Ireland, which would provide a good stop-gap between national Atlas projects. Records gathered through BirdTrack will also contribute casual records to the next British and Irish Atlas Project. It’s a rather time consuming job to search through all the county bird reports for records of Hawfinch so a map on the web will be of great value. Sites are mapped at a 10 km level, so the exact location of these scarce species will not be revealed.

For sensitive rare breeding birds we will not be producing any maps but we would still welcome your records for the database. The Rare Breeding Birds Panel acts as a secure depository of sensitive information on the breeding of rare birds in the UK and welcomes such records. View the list of species monitored by the RBBP.

The species we are particularly interested in receiving records for are shown in the table below. We would prefer to receive these records as part of a complete list rather than one-off casual records as frequency of occurrence on lists removes most of the influence of variation in recording effort. However, if you do record these species when you are not making a list then we would be keen to receive those records too. Wherever possible please record counts for these species. For some species on the list like Hawfinch, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Willow Tit and Kingfisher we would like to receive records from throughout the year. These are generally sedentary species so year-round records would be of great value. For other species we are mostly interested in records from the breeding season, for example breeding Golden Plover, Pochard and Great Crested Grebe. These species have a widespread distribution throughout the non-breeding season and these populations often include birds from abroad.

Over time we hope to use information from BirdTrack to monitor the populations of some scarce birds. By submitting your species lists regularly to BirdTrack throughout the year you will be contributing to our understanding of the distribution of these scarce species and ultimately their conservation.

Further reading: Rare Breeding Birds Panel

Table: Scarce species of particular interest to BirdTrack

Egyptian Goose
Spotted Crake
Short-eared Owl
Little Ringed Plover
Ringed Plover
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker
Golden Plover
Rock Pipit
Ring Ouzel
Cetti's Warbler
Red-breasted Merganser
Grasshopper Warbler
Dartford Warbler
Ruddy Duck
Common Sandpiper
Wood Warbler
Mediterranean Gull
Common Quail
Rock Dove
Pied Flycatcher
Golden Pheasant
Rose-ringed Parakeet
Bearded Tit
Little Grebe
Barn Owl
Willow Tit
Great Crested Grebe
Little Owl
Crested Tit
Tawny Owl
Water Rail
Long-eared Owl

Rare and scarce birds

Recording year by migration season

Related content