Recording rare birds
in Wales

There are two types of rare bird:

  • rare breeding species, which are reported to the Rare Breeding Birds Panel, usually via the county bird recorder. Details of county bird recorders can be found by clicking on the interactive counties map on the Home Page. You can download a list of RBBP species that breed in Wales here. Please note that a Schedule 1 licence is required to visit the nest and its environs of some species.
  • visitors to Wales, often vagrants from overseas, that are recorded by a network of county bird reports/clubs and co-ordinated by the Welsh Birds Rarities Committee  (WBRC). The WBRC (currently known as the Welsh Rarities Panel, or WRP) is a committee of the Welsh Ornithological Society.

Each area of Wales maintains a record of the birds seen, which over time has become a valuable historic record. Among these records are species that occur only occasionally and each bird report area determines whether the identification of these is correct. However, if a report of a bird is more than just locally scarce, it may go to either the British Birds Rarities Committee (for species or forms that are rare at a GB level) or to the Welsh Birds Rarities Committee.

Click here for species considered by the WBRC.

Want to know what’s around?
We publish a monthly roundup of sightings from around Wales – see the Home Page for recent reports and follow the links on the News for earlier months. WOS doesn’t attempt to provide a latest sightings service, but we suggest you visit one of the regional or county birding fora or sightings blogs, or use one of the commercial subscription services, such as or Rare Bird Alert.

Found a rare bird?
In the first instance, we recommend you contact the relevant county recorder, who will be able to advise on identification and issues relating to site access etc. Search the interactive counties map on the Home Page for contacts to county recorders.

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