New species considered by the Committee

Published on 01 July 1998

It has always been the policy of the BBRC that the list of species they consider is not unchangeable. Species that have become more common are taken off the list but species can also be re-admitted if suitable circumstances arise. The development of the scarce migrant database of the United Kingdom and Ireland by Peter Fraser has allowed us to monitor fringe species in a more organised way.

Dave Britton (Peter Fraser’s predecessor as BBRC statistician) established criteria for removal of species from the list. When a species has occurred in nine out of the previous ten years and with a mean of greater than 15 birds per year BBRC considers it for removal from the list. Whether this occurs is also depends on whether it is felt that identification criteria have been sufficiently well established amongst the county panels.

There is of course no reason why the reverse process should not happen and consequently records of Savi’s Warbler (Locustella luscinioides) and Ferruginous Duck (Aythya nyroca) will be considered from 1999.
Savi’s Warbler is becoming an increasingly rare bird and singing birds are no longer turning up at the one or two traditional localities in Southern Britain. This pattern contrasts with the recent upsurge of spring records of River Warbler (Locustella fluviatilis).

Ferruginous Duck has never been considered by the BBRC because of the perception that large numbers of feral birds (in the manner of Red-crested Pochard – Netta rufina) might be occurring. However the database has shown the species to be very uncommon, and this, combined with identification problems of hybrids, suggested that it would be a worthwhile exercise to determine once and for all the species’ status in the Britain.

The importance of monitoring their occurrence in Britain is increased by the fact that both species are threatened in their normal range by habitat loss.

Please continue to send all records of rare birds to your local county recorder who will forward them appropriately. Records of singing Savi’s Warbler may also be sent to the Rare Breeding Birds Panel who are used to dealing confidentially with such records.