Systematic List of Rare Birds

Systematic List of Rare Birds
Systematic List of Rare Birds in Word Format
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This is a list (including some rare races) for which 20 or fewer records can be traced. Firsts for Suffolk plus BBRC rarittes with less than 25 UK records when found are highlighted. All national rarities have been accepted by BBRC.


QUAIL Coturnix coturnix

Two records.

1994    23rd May

2004    2nd May

BLACK BRANT Branta bernicla nigricans

One record of a bird flying past with Dark-bellied Brent Geese. Others have possibly been overlooked.

2014    13th October

PALE-BELLIED BRENT GOOSE Branta bernicla hrota

18 records of birds flying past amongst flocks of Dark-bellied Brent Geese. Others have possibly been overlooked.

1989    22nd November

1991    28th September

1994    23rd October

1997    14th January

            3rd November

2006    9th October

2011    16th September

2012    28th May

            31st May

            17th December

2013    two 11th November

            20th November

2014    7th May

2017    two 30th December

2019    19th September

2020    28th November

2021    13th November

            4th December

RED-BREASTED GOOSE Branta ruficollis

Two records, one of a bird flying past with Brent Geese that was known to be wintering on the nearby estuary and another in 2015 whose origin is open to speculation. Others of suspect origin are included in the escapes report.

2000    17th January

2015    30th September

WHOOPER SWAN Cygnus cygnus

17 records of birds in flight over the area.

1982    6th November

1985    two 4th January

2002    two 19th October

2004    four 28th January

2007    five 16th December

2008    five 13th December

2009    seven 3rd November

2010    24th November

2011    six 29th October

            three 7th November

            13th December

2017    4th October

2019    two 27th October

            28th October

2020    six 30th November

2021    seven 21st December

            one 24th December

MANDARIN DUCK Aix galericulata

One record

2021    three 31st July

EGYPTIAN GOOSE Alopochen aegyptiaca

15 records.

2004    6th May

2006    3rd April

2010    4th December

2012    three 31st March

2013    two 19th April

            13th September

2015    two 31st March (one a hybrid with a domestic goose)

2017    two 10th February

            2nd December

2020    two 4th June

2021    four 5th February

            seven 12th September

            ten 20th September

            14 25th October

2022    two 28th January

GARGANEY Spatula querquedula

Nine records of birds flying past.

1990    13th April

1992    8th April

            9th November

1997    two 4th May

2002    7th May

2004    10th September

2005    4th June

2011    6th August

2016    16th September


One record of a bird flying south close inshore.

1990    5th September

SMEW Mergellus albellus

12 records either associated with cold weather movements or autumn passage.

1985    18th January

            22nd January

1989    16th November

1991    10th February

            eight 11th February

            three 12th February

1992    27th October

1997    9th January

            4th November

2004    22nd January

2010    three 10th February

2011    three 25th October

NIGHTJAR Caprimulgus europaeus

Seven records.

1981    7th October

1982    6th September

1983    20th August

1990    8th June

1992    4th September

1996    6th to 7th September

2007    6th September

ALPINE SWIFT Tachymarptis melba

Two records.

1991    11th July

2002    6th June

PALLID SWIFT Apus pallidus

Three records. A "swift sp." on 2nd November 2008 was probably this species but could not be confirmed. One 31st October 2011 was rejected by BBRC.

2022    25th October

YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO Coccyzus americanus

One record.

1989    25th October

SPOTTED CRAKE Porzana porzana

One record of a bird in the scrub by the cottage gate.

1993    27th September

COOT Fulica atra

11 records, with the second probably dying up river before being washed up on the riverbank. The February & December records are all associated with severe winter weather conditions.

1980    18th September

1985    29th January (dead)

1987    four 1st February

            2nd April

1990    25th July

1991    11th February

            14th February

            18th February

1994    15th October

2009    22nd December

2011    29th October

CRANE Grus grus

Five records of 15 individuals in flight.

1988    three 29th October

1990    four 8th October

2002    six 12th September

2010    one 15th March

2021    one 25th March

LITTLE GREBE Tachybaptus ruficollis

Six records, including two picked up dead on the riverbank that had probably died up river before being washed up on site and one found in Hamilton Road, Felixstowe and released on the river during the same cold winter weather of February 1991.

1986    5th October

1991    11th February (dead)

            12th February (released) presumed same 13th

            20th February (dead)

1992    9th November

2016    17th September

SLAVONIAN GREBE Podiceps auritus

Ten records although four of these probably of the same bird.

1984    14th November

1992    15th November

2011    three 12th November

2014    10th & 19th January, 1st & 3rd February (presumed same)

            25th November

2016    5th January

            21st March

BLACK-NECKED GREBE Podiceps nigricollis

Ten records, including a flock of eight flying south close inshore. The March to August records were of summer plumaged birds sitting on the sea.

1994    eight 30th September

1995    14th April

1996    7th April

2002    11th August

2005    23rd March

2010    14th July

2014    13th August

2016    5th October

2017    2nd February

2022    13th November

STONE CURLEW Burhinus oedicnemus

Six records.

1989    19th August

1998    2nd May

2012    10th April

2018    14th April

2019    3rd April

2020    22nd May


One record.

2012    11th June

KENTISH PLOVER Charadrius alexandrinus

Three records of birds “obtained” pre 1930’s, dates not known, plus three recent records.

2008    female 20th January

2016    male 2nd June

2023    male 18th May

DOTTEREL Charadrius morinellus

11 records.

1984    two 20th to 23rd May

1990    1st May

1997    24th September

2002    16th August

2007    two 5th May

2008    25th May

            7th to 18th September

            13th September

2011    23rd August

2013    two 24th August

2014    22nd April

TEMMINCK’S STINT Calidris temminckii

Three records of four birds, the 1984 bird seen on the beach and the others in flight.

1984    17th May

2001    15th May

2004    two 15th May

BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER Calidris subruficollis

One record of a bird that landed on the reserve for less than a minute.

2016    12th September

MARSH SANDPIPER Tringa stagnatilis

One record of a bird flying south over the reserve during a large passage of Swallows.

1998    19th September

WOOD SANDPIPER Tringa glareola

12 records of birds in flight over the area.

1982    9th August

1986    7th September

1987    21st June

            25th August

1995    10th September

2002    17th August

2009    7th August

2013    three 24th August

2016    4th August

2019    27th July

            5th August

2020    15th August

SABINE’S GULL Xema sabini

Twelve records of eleven individuals. All juveniles except the 1991 bird which was an adult or first summer bird.

1987    16th October

            18th October

            20th October

1991    31st August & probably same 3rd September

1996    19th September

2004    2nd October

            27th October

2007    24th September

2008    1st November

2016    5th October

            7th October

GULL-BILLED TERN Gelochelidon nilotica

Four records of five birds.

1991    28th May

1997    two 1st May

2005    14th June

2023    30th April

WHISKERED TERN Chlidonias hybrida

One record.

1995    12th June

PUFFIN Fratercula arctica

19 records but described previously as “rare passage” so others may exist. The 2011 records were all records of birds flying north on three consecutive days.

1988    30th October

1990    20th April

            15th October

2007    11th November

2010    11th November

2011    7th November

            8th November

            9th November

2012    20th September

2017    20th November

            29th November

            13th December

            14th December

2018    11th November

2019    9th November

            15th November

2021    21st October

            18th November

            23rd November


One record of a tide line corpse. The bird was of the race indicus that was presumably ship assisted and died long before it was thrown overboard from a ship in the docks.

1993    17th February (dead)

STORM PETREL Hydrobates pelagicus

Seven records of eight individuals including two old records of birds dead at the lighthouse and one released having boarded a ship.

1883    two September (dead at lighthouse)

1985    30th October

1989    2nd November (released)

1998    25th October

2006    24th May

2013    31st December

2019    20th September

CORY’S SHEARWATER Calonectris borealis

Five records.

2003    12th October

            13th October

            two 14th October

2011    9th October

2023    17th September


Two records, the first of an individual scavenging behind a trawler coming into the river mouth.

1990    22nd September

2011    16th September

BALEARIC SHEARWATER Puffinus mauretanicus

Four records

2008    3rd February

2010    6th September

2013    6th February

2019    23rd August

BLACK STORK Ciconia nigra

One record flying south into Essex.

2015    28th August

GLOSSY IBIS Plegadis falcinellus

Two records of birds in flight.

2009    6th October

2020    9th April

BITTERN Botaurus stellaris

One record of a bird flushed from the reserve and flying off south.

1997    23rd September

NIGHT HERON Nycticorax nycticorax

Two records, the first of a bird flying out to sea and the second seen & heard pre-dawn.

1996    12th August

2021    25th November

CATTLE EGRET Bubulcus ibis

Six records.

2011    2nd December

2018    26th May

2020    24th March

2023    nine 20th September

            four 8th October

            11th November


19 records of birds flying over, the first seen later at Trimley Marshes.

2004    4th June

2007    25th September

2010    24th November

2014    13th April

2016    3rd December

2017    5th October

            two 13th October

            26th October

            12th December

2018    13th October

            20th October

2019    three 5th September

2021    two 7th May

            1st August

            12th August

2022    25th March

            4th August

            14th November

2023    8th October

HONEY BUZZARD Pernis apivorus

16 records of 24 (or 27) individuals. The three additional birds in 2008 were very distant but were probably this species.

1988    15th May

1989    15th September

            two 24th September

1999    3rd October

2000    1st October

            two 15th October

2001    12th October

2008    five 13th September

            two 14th September

            one (possibly four) 28th September

2010    1st September

2013    29th April

            15th May

2014    11th September

2020    16th May

2023    3rd Spetember

MONTAGU’S HARRIER Circus pygargus

Seven records, five records of “ringtails” plus males in 2005 & 2011.

1977    13th August

1995    9th May

1999    19th May

2003    14th May

2005    26th May

2011    26th April

2012    10th May

RED KITE Milvus milvus

15 records, including one from a re-introduction project.

1988    20th March

2000    23rd March

2001    19th May (wing tagged from Chilterns re-introduction scheme)

2003    21st March

2006    1st August

2009    25th July

2010    2nd March

2013    29th March

2015    two 25th March

2017    13th March

2018    23rd April

            25th April

2020    13th March

2022    two 17th March

            12th June

BLACK KITE Milvus migrans

One record. Another was seen over the dock in the distance 2022.

2016    26th July

WHITE-TAILED EAGLE Haliaeetus albicilla

One record.

2015    23rd March


Two records, the first flying south and the one the following day flying in off and inland.

1994    26th October

            27th October

DARK-BREASTED BARN OWL Tyto alba guttata

One record of a juvenile that presumably hitched a lift to Felixstowe on a ship from the near continent. Recent analysis of photographs taken at the time does not conclusively prove the identification.

1997    11th June

SNOWY OWL Bubo scandiacus

Two records. The 2001 bird was present for several weeks in the area but was only known to be in the recording area on the date below. The 1885 record is of a bird shot at the lighthouse that existed in those days.

1885    9th February (shot)

2001    25th October

TAWNY OWL Strix aluco

One or three birds. It is conceivable that the 1995 records could also refer to the long staying bird.

1989    7th October intermittently to 19th January 1994

1995    21st March

            2nd, 16th & 27th August (presumed same)

HOOPOE Upupa epops

Seven "recent" records although another sighting of two to three birds present during the days of army occupation in the last century (late 1940’s/1950’s) is undocumented. The 1992 bird moved north to the area around Sangamo’s factory until 14th.

1987    1st September

1988    28th to 29th April

1992    11th to 12th September

2009    15th April

2018    19th October

2019    23rd June

2023    4th May

BEE-EATER Merops apiaster

Eight records.

2002    21st July

2004    2nd May

2005    20th June

2008    5th June

9th July

2014    6th May

2019    two 24th Jun

2022    18th June       


Nine records. One 4th October 1993 had been ringed Fagbury Cliff  30th August.

1983    13th August

1984    14th February

            8th September

1985    14th October

1987    15th September

1990    14th September

1993    22nd June

            3rd August

            4th October

RED-FOOTED FALCON Falco vespertinus

Four records, the first a first year male that spent several hours feeding on site.

1992    30th May

2007    28th June

2015    16th June

2019    13th September

GREAT GREY SHRIKE Lanius excubitor

19 records. All of the 1984 birds moved inland soon after they were seen as did the individuals in 1991, 1993, 2001 & 2015. The 2007 bird also moved inland soon after it stopped raining that day.

1978    1st October

1979    15th to 18th October

1984    5th October

            6th October

            two 7th October

1991    17th October

1993    22nd October

1995    12th October

2001    9th November

2007    28th September

2013    13th to 21st October

2014    17th to 18th October

2015    12th October

            15th October

            two 19th October

2016    3rd October

            5th October

2017    30th October

2019    22nd October

STEPPE GREY SHRIKE Lanius excubitor pallidirostris

One record, the third British record. First Suffolk record.

1986    6th December

WOODCHAT SHRIKE Lanius senator

Two records of juveniles.

1977    17th to 21st August

1994    14th to 16th September

GOLDEN ORIOLE Oriolus oriolus

Five records.

1984    20th May

            31st May

1998    28th & 29th May

2005    16th May

2008    3rd June

CHOUGH Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax

One record, the only Suffolk record, although its authenticity has been questioned.

1888    two 2nd April

NORDIC/EASTERN JACKDAW Corvus monedula monedula

Six birds showing characteristics of the above. The first of a trapped bird, others have possibly been overlooked amongst migrant Jackdaws flying over.

1994    14th to 15th October

2011    29th to 30th March

2015    16th May

2018    5th March

2019    23rd October

2023    20th to 24th April

HOODED CROW Corvus cornix

Eight records. The species was formerly common on the Suffolk coast in winter so other older records may exist. The 2017 was later seen on several dates in south Felixstowe.

1981    15th May

            26th October

1985    30th October

1995    12th April

1999    17th October

2012    7th October

            11th December

2017    16th May

RAVEN Corvus corax

Four records.

1884    two 22nd June

1886    two 16th December

1993    30th October

1996    5th March

MARSH TIT Poecile palustris

Six records.

1987    20th June

2005    22nd June

2009    16th June

2014    9th September

2021    22nd June

2022    16th June

WILLOW TIT Poecile montanus

Five records.

1980    19th September

1983    25th September

1988    26th June

2000    22nd April

2009    14th June

BEARDED TIT Panurus biarmicus

Five records. Another record in September/October 1973 is proving impossible to date with any accuracy.

1887    16th February

1988    12th October

2010    15th October

2017    ten 19th October

2019    two 27th October

CRESTED LARK Galerida cristata

One record, the 20th British record. First Suffolk record.

1996    2nd & 9th October

SHORT-TOED LARK Calandrella brachydactyla

Five records.

1992    23rd to 25th September

1996    21st to 22nd May

1997    29th June to 1st July

2001    8th to 10th May

2020    15th May

RED-RUMPED SWALLOW Cecropis daurica

13 records of 14 birds.

1987    two 28th October

1994    26th October

2007    22nd April

            25th April

            1st May

2009    3rd May

2011    14th May

2012    11th May

2013    26th September

2015    7th June

2017    9th May

2018    21st April

2020    27th April

WESTERN BONELLI’S WARBLER Phylloscopus bonelli

Three records (although the first record was not assigned to “Western”, it is probably this species).

1981    13th September

1996    2nd to 25th October

2000    27th to 29th May

RADDE’S WARBLER Phylloscopus schwarzi

Six records.

1991    8th to 9th October

1995    15th October

2004    27th October

2006    10th to 12th October

2016    6th October

2020    13th October

DUSKY WARBLER Phylloscopus fuscatus

Four records. The 1987 bird was the first for Suffolk.

1987    27th October to 1st November

2001    23rd to 29th October

2004    20th October to 4th November

2014    16th to 20th November

IBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF Phylloscopus ibericus

One record. First Suffolk record.

2017    1st June

GREENISH WARBLER Phylloscopus trochiloides

Seven records, four singing males, two not singing in June and an autumn bird.

1992    28th May

1997    8th July

2009    17th to 18th September

2012    26th May

2014    27th May

2017    20th to 21st June

2023    18th June

ARCTIC WARBLER Phylloscopus borealis

Two records.

2009    1st to 2nd September

2016    20th to 21st September

GREAT REED WARBLER Acrocephalus arundinaceus

One record of one singing for three days.

2017    7th to 9th May

AQUATIC WARBLER Acrocephalus paludicola

One record.

2023    30th August

PADDYFIELD WARBLER Acrocephalus agricola

One record, the 16th British record. First Suffolk record.

1988    11th June

BLYTH’S REED WARBLER Acrocephalus dumetorum

Two records.

2016    10th October

2023    15th June

BOOTED WARBLER Iduna caligata

Two records including the first for Suffolk as a previous record in ‘Watsonian’ Suffolk is listed in the national archive for Norfolk

2011    16th October

2023    18th August

MELODIOUS WARBLER Hippolais polyglotta

Nine records, all adults. The 2009 bird moved to just outside the recording area the following day.

1983    7th to 13th May

1995    31st May

1996    30th May

1997    14th June

1998    17th June

2000    27th July

2001    1st July

2009    17th May

2020    30th April

LANCEOLATED WARBLER Locustella lanceolata

One record. First Suffolk record.

1997    26th September

SAVI’S WARBLER Locustella luscinioides

One record. The validity of this record has been questioned with many observers suggesting it was actually a Grasshopper Warbler trapped on the same date.

1989    23rd April

SARDINIAN WARBLER Curruca melanocephala

One record of a male. First Suffolk record.

1994    20th May


Three records, all males. The 1987 bird was the first for Suffolk.

1987    8th to 10th June

1988    23rd to 24th April

2008    29th to 30th May


Four records of five birds, all males except for two females in 1993. The 1986 bird was the first for Suffolk. Another in August/September 2014 was just outside the recording area.

1986    25th September to 2nd October

1989    30th May

1993    two 28th May

2013    26th to 27th April

SPECTACLED WARBLER Curruca conspicillata

One record, the second British record. First Suffolk record.

1997    26th April to 2nd May


At least 14 birds.

1995    16th May

2004    3rd October

2008    22nd October

2009    4th November

2013    2nd November

2016    10th October

2017    10th October

2019    16th October

2020    3rd October

            2nd November

2021    10th October

            6th, 12th, 17th & 19th November

2022    29th & 31st October

2023    29th October

NUTHATCH Sitta europaea

Four records.

1999    2nd April

2006    25th June

2013    26th June

2014    6th June

TREECREEPER Certhia familiaris

19 records. 17 juveniles plus a spring bird. The 2003 bird showed characteristics of the nominate race C.f.familiaris.

1987    31st July to 1st August

1988    18th to 19th October

1990    3rd August

1997    14th to 15th September

2002    25th June

2003    18th October

2004    26th June

2006    4th September

2007    27th to 28th June

2009    27th June

            24th September

2010    8th to 14th April

            11th October

2011    22nd June

            4th July

2016    22nd June

            3rd July

            27th to 31st July

2017    15th to 16th June

SHORT-TOED TREECREEPER Certhia brachydactyla

One record. The first for Suffolk.

2011    24th March to 6th April


15 birds.

1993    juv 4th to 9th September

2001    12th June

            juv 16th to 17th October

2003    juv 28th September

2005    juv 7th to 8th September

2006    juv 2nd October

2012    first-summer 25th May

2018    2nd to 4th June

            3rd June

2020    9th June

2021    6th to 7th June

            9th June

            15th June

2023    2nd June

            juv 8th October

THRUSH NIGHTINGALE Luscinia luscinia

Three records. The 1984 bird was the first for Suffolk.

1984    13th to 14th May

1995    27th August to 15th September

1997    28th to 29th September

RED-FLANKED BLUETAIL Tarsiger cyanurus

Three records. The first of an adult male, the 15th British record. First for Suffolk.

1994    26th October

2011    14th November

2019    23rd March


19 birds, six in spring & 13 in autumn.

1977    9th May

            21st October

1984    5th to 7th October

1988    14th October

1990    8th October

1992    30th May

            7th June

1993    11th June

1995    12th June

1999    19th May

2002    10th September

            15th September

2005    16th to 17th October

2007    2nd October

2009    14th September

2014    15th September

2019    22nd September

2020    3rd to 5th October

            5th October

SIBERIAN STONECHAT Saxicola maurus ?

Two records of unknown race.

1979    13th October

1984    7th to 10th October

SIBERIAN STONECHAT Saxicola maurus hemprichii

One record of a first winter male, the second British record of the race hemprichii. First Suffolk record.

1993    11th September

AMUR STONECHAT Saxicola stejnegeri

One record of a first winter male, the second British record. First Suffolk record.

2016    6th to 7th October

ISABELLINE WHEATEAR Oenanthe isabellina

Two records, the 19th & 22nd British records.

2001    21st September

2005    4th October

DESERT WHEATEAR Oenanthe deserti

One record of a first-winter male, the 15th British record. First Suffolk record.

1987    20th to 24th October

PIED WHEATEAR Oenanthe pleschanka

One record of an adult male.

2015    2nd to 3rd November

SPANISH SPARROW Passer hispaniolensis

One male. The ninth British record. First Suffolk record.

2012    24th August, 1st to 2nd, 6th & 10th to 14th September

BLACK-HEADED WAGTAIL  Motacilla flava feldegg

One record, the fourth British record. First Suffolk record.

1985    30th June

GREY-HEADED WAGTAIL Motacilla flava thunbergi

At least 18 individuals.

1987    29th April

1989    14th May

1992    four 30th May three to 31st & one to 1st June

            3rd to 4th June

1994    two 15th September one to 16th

1995    17th to 18th September

1998    17th May

1999    6th to 7th May

2005    1st to 2nd May

2007    30th May

2011    10th to 11th May

2013    6th September

2014    26th May

2018    11th June

CITRINE WAGTAIL Motacilla citreola

One record of an adult female.

2008    29th August

RICHARD’S PIPIT  Anthus richardi

11 records of 12 birds.

1977    24th to 26th September

            22nd October

1980    20th to 24th October

1988    21st October

1994    3rd October

            two 16th November

1996    30th October

1998    29th September

2000    15th October

2011    1st October

2020    3rd October

BLYTH’S PIPIT Anthus godlewskii

One record, the sixth British record. First Suffolk record.

1994    4th to 10th November

TAWNY PIPIT Anthus campestris

14 records.

1979    13th October

1980    21st September

1982    16th September

1989    12th to 19th September

1991    28th May

1992    22nd to 25th August

1993    16th September

1994    16th October

1997    6th August

2004    10th September

2009    24th September

2011    24th September

2012    6th May

2018    30th August

RED-THROATED PIPIT Anthus cervinus

Four records. Others flying over have possibly been overlooked.

2011    13th September

2013    29th October

2014    23rd September

2017    27th to 30th September

WATER PIPIT Anthus spinoletta

Three records.

1978    1st April

2003    17th April

2019    21st April

NORTHERN BULLFINCH Pyrrhula pyrrhula pyrrhula

One record of a male. Others may have been present in the past but were not documented. A Bullfinch 17th November 2014 was possibly this race based on its call.

2002    7th to 9th November

TRUMPETER FINCH Bucanetes githagineus

One record, the eight British record.

2005    21st to 26th May.

COMMON ROSEFINCH Carpodaceus erythrina

16 birds including adult males in 1996 & 2004. The only definite juvenile was the bird trapped in 2002.

1995    8th June

1996    8th July

1997    21st & 24th July

2001    26th August

2002    12th September

2004    14th August

2006    17th September

2008    29th May

            4th June

2010    25th May

2014    27th May

2018    31st May

2020    two 2nd June

2023    18th May

            18th to 19th June

LITTLE BUNTING Emberiza pusilla

Six records.

1986    10th October

1987    19th October

2006    18th to 19th October

2012    24th April

2018    17th October

2020    two 29th October

RUSTIC BUNTING Emberiza rustica

Two records.

1992    3rd October

2008    23rd to 24th September


Two records, although the second individual was an adult male & showed signs of incarceration and was probably a wild bird transported into Europe by man. The 1993 bird was the first for Suffolk.

1993    4th September

1999    12th August

WHITE-THROATED SPARROW Zonotrichia albicollis

One record

2014    19th June

LARK SPARROW Chondestes grammacus

One record, the first British record. First Suffolk record.

1981    30th June to 8th July


Compiled by Nigel Odin, Landguard Bird Observatory, View Point Road, Felixstowe, Suffolk, IP11 3TW.


Updated & revised January 2024

We are located at:

Landguard Bird Observatory

Viewpoint Road 


IP11 3TW




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