Baikal Teal and Teal, Belfast Harbour RSPB Reserve, Down, January 2006 (picture: Derek Charles)

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This website compiles the occurrences of rare and scarce bird species in Northern Ireland and makes them available as PDFs.
The most recent bird report published by the (now defunct) Northern Ireland Birdwatchers Association covered the years 2007 and 2008. It included a list of rare species that required written descriptions in order to be accessed by the committee. We use this list to define a rare species in Northern Ireland.
Published records of rare birds to the end of 2008 are listed in various PDFs on this website (follow the links in the right hand column) and these will be updated from time to time with subsequent records as they become available.
Details of scarce species (to be defined arbitrarily) will include records from 2009 onwards and they will be updated periodically also.
In 2019 'The Rare Bird Report of Northern Ireland 2009-2018' was published by Derek Charles and Andrew Crory and a copy of this can be obtained from the email address on the Website.

Derek Charles and Andrew Crory.

Statistics and Abbreviations Used in PDFs

Record statistics shown in parentheses (A, B, C)
  • A: The number of Northern Ireland records before 1950.
  • B: The number of Northern Ireland records 1950 – 1999.
  • C: The number of Northern Ireland records 2000 – 2009 for rare species and 2009-2018 for scarce species.

Please note these are estimated totals and may include multiple instances of some returning birds. Many rare birds return in subsequent years so our figures are just our best estimates.


RV: Denotes a species that the editors treat as a Rare Visitor to Northern Ireland.
SV: Denotes a species that the editors treat as a Scarce Visitor to Northern Ireland.
RI: Denotes a species that the editors treat as a Rare inland migrant to Northern Ireland. Most of these species are strictly coastal or pelagic.



Scientific nomenclature and species order within record groupings follows version 9.1 of the IOC World List:
Gill, F. & Donsker, D. (eds.) 2019. IOC World Bird List. Available from