Rarities Committees

In order that an entirely accurate archive of records of rare and scarce species is maintained it is clearly important to apply consistent standards to the acceptance of such records. This is ensured through a system of assessment of written descriptions of the circumstances of the occurrence and of the bird itself. Those who make use of our reports in the future must have confidence that all published records have been scrutinised and considered acceptable by the birding community of today.

A three-tier system of record assessment exists:

British Birds Rarities Committee (BBRC) assesses records of extreme rarities, in a British context. The full committee contains ten voting members of which at least nine must vote in favour of a record for it to be accepted.

A list of species currently considered by BBRC can be found at BBRC list

Scottish Birds Records Committee (SBRC) assesses records of birds rare in a Scottish context but not sufficiently rare to be assessed by BBRC. The committee consists of seven voting members of which at least six must vote in favour.

A list of species currently considered by SBRC can be found at SBRC list

Moray & Nairn Rarities Committee (MNRC) assesses slightly less rare Scottish species and all other local rarities. The committee consists of five voting members of which at least four must vote in favour for a record to be accepted. Current membership of MNRC is Martin Cook, Roy Dennis, Duncan Gibson, Bob Proctor and Dave Pullan.

The following species are currently on the MNRC list:

Bewick’s Swan Bean Goose American Wigeon
Green-winged Teal Garganey (not ad.M) Ring-necked Duck
Ruddy Duck (not ad.M) Surf Scoter (not ad.M) Balearic Shearwater
Leach’s Petrel Red-necked Grebe Black-necked Grebe
White Stork Spoonbill Bittern
Great White Egret Little Egret Honey-buzzard
Rough-legged Buzzard Hobby Spotted Crake
Corncrake Crane Avocet
Little Ringed Plover American Golden Plover Temminck’s Stint
Pectoral Sandpiper Buff-breasted Sandpiper Red-necked Phalarope
Grey Phalarope Long-tailed Skua Sabine’s Gull
Ring-billed Gull Black Tern
Roseate Tern Turtle Dove Nightjar
Hoopoe Wryneck Green Woodpecker
Red-backed Shrike Great Grey Shrike Golden Oriole
Bearded Tit Shore Lark Pallas’s Warbler
Yellow-browed Warbler Reed Warbler Icterine Warbler
Lesser Whitethroat Firecrest Nuthatch
Rose-coloured Starling Bluethroat Black Redstart
Yellow Wagtail Richard’s Pipit Water Pipit
Common Rosefinch Hawfinch Lapland Bunting


Other species recorded for the first time in Moray & Nairn, and not on BBRC or SBRC lists, are also assessed by MNRC.

If you find a rare species in Moray & Nairn, please complete a record form for the relevant committee (downloadable below) and pass the form to  the recorder (Martin Cook) who will forward it to the committee.

BBRC Rarity description form

SBRC Rarity description form

MNRC Rarity description form

Records of species on the lists of BBRC, SBRC or MNRC will only appear in Birds in Moray & Nairn following acceptance of the record by the relevant committee. It must be stressed, however, that the failure of a record to be accepted by a committee does not imply disbelief of the observer, or that the observer is mistaken in the identification; simply that not quite enough evidence has been assimilated by the observer in the time or conditions available.