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Shetland Bird Club Records Committee


A list of species requiring descriptions is given below and published in every Shetland Bird Report.  All records of local or national rarities should be submitted as soon as possible after the sighting to the County Recorder.

Download an SBCRC rarities form.

Species for which descriptions or other documentary evidence is required


National Rarities (list available at

These records are assessed by the British Birds Rarities Committee (BBRC). Full descriptions are required for these species, and they should be submitted to BBRC via the County Recorder, so a copy can be kept for the record. Description forms are available from the County Recorder. Some observers object to writing descriptions and few people enjoy writing them; however, they are invaluable in providing an archive for the future, proving to future generations that unusual occurrences were properly appreciated at the time and were not just recorded on hearsay.

Species on the Shetland List which are considered by Scottish Birds Records Committee:

Cory's Shearwater
Great Shearwater
Wilson's Petrel
Night Heron
Cattle Egret
Purple Heron
Black Kite
Montagu's Harrier
Red-footed Falcon
Stone Curlew
White-rumped Sandpiper
Lesser Yellowlegs
Yellow-legged Gull

Caspian Gull

White-winged Black Tern
Alpine Swift
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker
Woodchat Shrike
Wood Lark
Red-rumped Swallow
Radde's Warbler

Arctic Warbler
Dartford Warbler
Melodious Warbler
Red-flanked Bluetail
Citrine Wagtail
Parrot Crossbill

Species considered by Shetland Bird Club Records Committee (effective from 1st January 2017)

The SBCRC deals with a large number of local rarities each year, so in an effort to streamline the process for observers and SBCRC alike, a new 'category' of local rarity has been introduced. Species marked with an asterisk * will be circulated by the Shetland Bird Club Records Committee without the need for additional documentation based on information and photographs in the public domain, although written descriptions of these species are always welcome.

Written documentation will be required for all species in the list below if no photographs exist:

Bewick's Swan

Taiga Bean Goose

Snow Goose

Egyptian Goose

Ruddy Shelduck

Mandarin Duck

American Wigeon

Green-winged Teal

Ring-necked Duck

Surf Scoter

Smew *

Ruddy Duck

White-billed Diver

Black-throated Diver *

Eurasian Bittern

Little Egret

Great White Egret

White Stork

Eurasian Spoonbill

Glossy Ibis

Great Crested Grebe *

Red-necked Grebe

Black-necked Grebe

Honey Buzzard

Red Kite

Northern Goshawk

Common Buzzard *

Rough-legged Buzzard

Golden Eagle

Hobby *

Spotted Crake *


Little Ringed Plover

American Golden Plover *

Temminck’s Stint

Pectoral Sandpiper *

Buff-breasted Sandpiper *

Grey Phalarope *

Mediterranean Gull

Ring-billed Gull

Sabine’s Gull

Little Tern

Black Tern

Roseate Tern

Barn Owl ('pale-breasted' only - 'dark-

breasted' Barn Owl considered by BBRC)

European Nightjar

Common Kingfisher

European Bee-eater

Hoopoe *


Eurasian Jay


Coal Tit

Bearded Tit

Short-toed Lark *

Shore Lark *

Long-tailed Tit (although certain races considered by BBRC)

Greenish Warbler *

Pallas's Warbler *

Dusky Warbler *

Blyth's Reed Warbler

Marsh Warbler (autumn only)

Treecreeper (although 'Northern' Treecreeper is considered by BBRC)

Rose-coloured Starling

Dipper (British race only - 'Black-bellied'

Dipper is considered by BBRC)

Common Nightingale

Water Pipit

Olive-backed Pipit

Ortolan Bunting *

Corn Bunting

Local rarity descriptions can be fairly concise, but it is important to make sure that any ambiguity is removed from the description. Try and make sure someone else sees the bird if possible - a multiple observer record is always regarded as more reliable.

The SBCRC reserves the right to request descriptions and/or more details for species not on the above description list in certain circumstances.

We do not want to lose genuine records merely because they are unsupported by descriptions.

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