County Description Species

National Rarities

Descriptions of national rarities should be sent to the County Recorder who will forward them to the BBRC for appraisal. These descriptions should be submitted on BBRC forms that are available from the County Recorder and on the CBWPS and BBRC websites. Please enclose copies of field notes and photographs where possible.

County Rarities

This is for species that do not fall within the criteria for national rarities but are still rare enough at a county level to require verification before being accepted into the county database. The identification of most county rarities is quite easy for experienced observers and consequently we have tried to keep the list of Group A species requiring a full description to a minimum. However, new species are regularly being “downgraded” by BBRC, so the list grows. A full review is carried out regularly by the county rarity committee and the species requiring a description in either Group A or B may be significantly amended.

Descriptions are not required for sightings of Group B species, provided the bird or birds have been seen by three experienced observers who are known to the Rarities Committee the names of whom should be included when details of sightings are submitted. Alternatively a clear photograph may suffice. These arrangements have been introduced to eliminate the need for unnecessary descriptions of easy’ rarities, without compromising the integrity of the county records. In some cases, the County Recorder may require descriptions for other species, for example if reported for an unusual date or location.

County rarities (Groups A and B below) are in bold blue in the daily sightings pages and often elsewhere. 

Group A – Species requiring a full description

Bean Goose Rough-legged Buzzard Dusky Warbler
Black Brant Golden Eagle Lesser Whitethroat (except curruca)
American Wigeon (female/juv) Black-winged Stilt Icterine Warbler
Surf Scoter American Golden Plover Blyth’s Reed Warbler
Black Grouse White-rumped Sandpiper Marsh Warbler
White-billed Diver Red-necked Phalarope Arctic Warbler
Wilson’s Petrel Long-tailed Skua Bluethroat
Night Heron White-winged Black Tern Yellow Wagtail (not flava/flavissima)
White Stork Roseate Tern Citrine Wagtail
Honey Buzzard Caspian Gull Olive-backed Pipit
Black Kite Red-footed Falcon Twite
White-tailed Eagle Penduline Tit Common (‘Mealy’) Redpoll
Montagu’s Harrier Greenish Warbler Lesser Yellowlegs
Goshawk Pallas’s Warbler Any unusual subspecies
Radde’s Warbler

Group B – Species not normally requiring a description, provided the bird(s) has been seen by at least three experienced observers who are known to the Rarities Committee – please submit names of observers with the record details.


Bewick’s Swan Dotterel Richard’s Pipit
Pink-footed Goose Temminck’s Stint Shore Lark
Snow Goose Buff-breasted Sandpiper Short-toed Lark
Egyptian Goose Pectoral Sandpiper Red-rumped Swallow
Ruddy Shelduck Black Guillemot Wood Warbler
American Wigeon (male) Sabine’s Gull Siberian Chiffchaff tristis (See note below)
Green-winged Teal Ring-billed Gull Barred Warbler
Red-crested Pochard Kumlien’s Gull Melodious Warbler
Ring-necked Duck Little Owl Waxwing
Smew Long-eared Owl Rose-coloured Starling
Ruddy Duck Alpine Swift Nightingale
Quail Bee-eater Red-breasted Flycatcher
Leach’s Petrel Lesser Spotted Woodpecker Tree Sparrow
Cormorant (sinensis) Ring-necked Parakeet Scandinavian Rock Pipit littoralis
Purple Heron Golden Oriole Hawfinch
Glossy Ibis Red-backed Shrike Common Rosefinch
Spotted Crake Great Grey Shrike Serin
Corncrake Woodchat Shrike Ortolan Bunting
Common Crane Hooded Crow Cirl Bunting (outside core range)
Grey Partridge Bearded Tit Little Bunting
Stone Curlew Plus any uncommon races


Change log:

  • Grey Partridge (away from the known release site) added 1st Jan 2018
  • Yellow-legged Gull removed 1st Jan 2018
  • Great White Egret and Cattle Egret removed as County Rarities 1st Jan 2019
  • Update from BBRC 1st April 2019 – relating to all records from 01/01/19
  • Arctic Redpoll and Subalpine Warbler (all sp) Re-instated as BBRC species from Group A
  • Lesser Yellowlegs and Arctic Warbler downgraded from BBRC species to County assessed species
  • Lesser Scaup and Kentish Plover upgraded to BBRC description species from Groups A and B respectively 27/04/20 (effective from Jan 1st 2020)
  • Siberian Chiffchaff no longer a description species from Oct – March inclusive (normal winter period) as of 01/01/21