British Ornithologists' Union Records Committee

British Ornithologists' Union Records Committee

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The British Ornithologists' Union Records Committee (BOURC) is the recognised national bird records committee for Britain. It maintains a list of birds of Britain. Its findings are usually published in "Ibis", the house journal of its parent body the British Ornithologists' Union.

BOURC's role and status

The committee keeps a list of birds recorded from Britain, together with separate lists for the Isle of Man and Northern Ireland.

The committee does not assess records of birds from Ireland; that task is carried out by the Irish Rare Birds Committee, which publishes its decisions in "Irish Birds". For many years, records of IRBC-assessed rarities were included in the BOURC's reports, but this ceased in 2002, at the request of IRBC. [Rogers, Michael J. and the Rarities Committee (2002) [ Report on rare birds in Great Britain in 2001] "British Birds" 95(10): 476-528]

BOURC is widely recognised as maintaining the most authoritative list of birds of Britain. [ [ The BOU website] lists the following organisations as having indicated that they regard the decisions on status and taxonomy reached by BOURC as comprising the 'official' British List: British Trust for Ornithology, Countryside Council for Wales, English Nature, Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Scottish Natural Heritage, Scottish Ornithologists' Club, Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust and The Wildlife Trusts.]

BOURC structure and personnel

BOURC has a chairman, a secretary and a number of voting members.

Taxonomic Subcommittee

The BOURC has a taxonomic subcommittee, set up to advise on taxonomic matters.


From time to time, BOURC has re-reviewed records which it has previously accepted, to ensure they are acceptable in the light of improved knowledge of the species in question.

Notable records

The Druridge Bay curlew

Following a detailed review by the British Birds Rarities Committee into the controversial identification of a curlew seen at Druridge Bay in Northumberland in 1998, which came to the conclusion that it was, as had been believed by many observers, a first-summer Slender-billed Curlew, this identification was accepted by BOURC, leading to the addition of this species to the British List. [Steele, Jimmy and Didier Vangeluwe (2002) From the Rarities Committee's files: the Slender-billed Curlew at Druridge Bay, Northumberland, in 1998 "British Birds" 95(6):279-299]


Footnotes and references


BOURC reports

* [ 23rd report (July 1996)] "Ibis" 139: 197-201
* [ 24th report (October 1997)] "Ibis" 140: 182-4 (January 1998)
* [ 25th report (October 1998)] "Ibis" 141: 175-80 (January 1999)
* [ 26th report (October 1999)] "Ibis" 142:177-9
* [ 27th report (October 2000)] "Ibis"

BOUTSC reports

* [ TSC 4th report]

ee also

* British Birds Rarities Committee

External links

* [ BOU website]

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