16/08/2023
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Changes issued to Norfolk description species list

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Five species have been removed from the list of description species for Norfolk, including Black-winged Stilt and Glossy Ibis.

The Norfolk Records Committee announced the news on Monday [14 August], with Northern Goshawk, Black Guillemot and Ring-necked Parakeet the other birds to be downgraded and no longer considered county rarities.


Glossy Ibis at Rockland St Mary, Norfolk, in February 2022 (Nick Appleton).

The status of the stilt and the ibis – two species typically considered as of southern European origin – is particularly telling. These, along with several other similarly distributed birds, are experiencing rapidly changing statuses as climate change accelerates. Black-winged Stilt was considered a national rarity as recently as 2016 (when it was downgraded by the BBRC to a scarcity); this year there have been several birds at four different sites in Norfolk alone.

Glossy Ibis has become even more regular in the county, with no fewer than 23 sites hosting birds in 2023 so far. This includes a flock of 14 that toured various sites from 23-25 May.


Reports of Glossy Ibis in Norfolk in 2023 (BirdGuides.com).

These changes come after Taiga Bean Goose was added to the list of description species in the county in autumn 2021 and Twite in autumn 2022 – two species that had long been considered classic Norfolk winterers.

The role of the Norfolk Records Committee is to present an accurate and reliable account of present-day bird records in the county of Norfolk. These records will ultimately become part of the county's historical archive and each year's sightings are published in The Norfolk Bird and Mammal Report by The Norfolk & Norwich Naturalists' Society.