Inside the March 2024 issue of Birdwatch


You can now read the March 2024 issue of Birdwatch as either a digital download or paper magazine. The paper magazine is available in the shops from Thursday [22 February] – or you can order online ahead of then.

What defines a species? It's a question that scientists continue to puzzle over, but there has been a general trend in recent years to recognise more and more bird species as our understanding of taxonomy improves. This is generally good news for birders, because it means more ticks on our lists. But, as the March issue of Birdwatch reveals, it's not all about splits – some currently recognised species may soon be 'lumped'. David Callahan takes a look at the British list and assesses future gains and losses.

While many of us will be eagerly anticipating our first Northern Wheatear or Sand Martin of 2024 in March, there is plenty else to look forward to this month. Our latest ID guide focuses on the similar Rock and Water Pipits, offering tips on where to look for them this month and how to tell them apart.

The English south coast is generally well birded, but there is one obvious outlier – the Isle of Wight. Greatly underwatched due to its relative isolation, the island surely boasts unfulfilled birding potential, as Steve Jones explains.

Among some of the region's most beguiling and exotic species are the sandgrouse, six of which are resident and the seventh a rare vagrant. Ed Stubbs profiles these beautiful birds.

Seabirds undertake some of the most impressive migrations on Earth, but their remote nature means these journeys can be challenging to research. In this issue, BirdLife International's Dr Joanne Morten introduces six new Marine Flyways, which can be used as a conservation tool for this vulnerable group of birds.

Additionally, we announce the winner of the 18th annual Photo of the Year competition, which was voted for by you.

There's also a comprehensive review of SWAROVSKI OPTIK's new AX Visio, an AI-powered binocular, which has been causing a stir among birders since its announcement, while our team of experts provides topical advice on photography, patchbirding, wildlife gardening and the latest ornithological revelations.

March's digital edition has plenty of bonus content, including:

  • Video of some recent splits;
  • Footage of Isle of Wight rarities;
  • Film of WP sandgrouse species;
  • Sound recordings of Rock and Water Pipits;
  • More of the latest rarities and scarcities.

The digital edition is available for PC and Mac, iPhone/iPad and Android. Sample issues are free, and subscriptions or single copies can be purchased.