To create a new list, you first need to be logged in. Having logged in, select 'Create New List' from the My Lists menu.

Before entering the species on your list, you need to specify what type of list it is. This enables comparisons with other lists of similar types. Lists are defined based on a number of characteristics, which you are asked to choose between.


This enables you to specify the region your list refers to. Having selected a region, it is important to stick to that region for the purposes of fair comparisons. If you later enter records from outwith your selected region, the records will not be automatically rejected by BUBO Listing, but expect to get some hassle from fellow listers!

Your options include:

  • World - self-explanatory really! 
  • Western Palearctic - as defined by the Birds of the Western Palearctic, broadly Europe, North Africa and parts of the Middle East  (roughly south and east to Kuwait).
  • Britain - all records from the island of Britain, plus associated islands but excluding the whole island of Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.
  • Britain & Ireland - all records from Britain and Ireland are allowed, plus any from the Isle of Man. Traditionally, however, the Channel Islands are not included in such lists.
  • County - all records from a given county - see below.
  • Site - all records from a given site - see below.


If you select 'County' as your region, you will have the further option of choosing which county you want your list to apply to. There are few more contentious listing issues than the boundaries of different counties. We do not intend to be overly restrictive initially in specifying such boundaries; local listers will have betters ideas on this than us. In time, we would look to including guidance on boundaries drawn up by teams of local county listers. Note that we have included a number of non mutually exclusive 'counties' (e.g. Avon and Somerset). If you want to create a list for a county that appears not to be available, please Contact Us and we will try to include it.


If you select 'Site' as your region, you will have the further option of choosing which site you want your list to apply to. Whilst we have initially included a small number of well-known sites, the number of possibilities are obviously very high. If you want to include a list for a given site, then please contact us and we will add it to the system. As with counties, the boundaries of sites for listing purposes are not necessarily clear-cut and we may invite contributions from keen site-listers advising on recommended boundaries for comparative purposes.


This enables you to specify the time period over which your list operates. The options are Life and Year.

  • Year: If you have selected 'Year' as the period for your list, you will then need to select which year your list refers to. Records submitted for the selected year on dates outwith the span of that year will not be accepted.


For the purposes of comparing one list with another, it is important that all lists in question have the same species available to them. It is pointless to compare a list that splits Pied Wagtail Motacilla (alba) yarrellii and White Wagtail Motacilla (alba) alba, say, with one that does not. With this in mind, we require all lists to be based on one of a small number of 'authorities', or base-lists. The authorities currently in use can be viewed by clicking here.

Obviously, the lists from the different authorities are frequently updated and we will reflect these updates within BUBO Listing as soon as possible after they are announced. However, we recognise that many birders will wish to include certain new birds on their lists in advance of official acceptance by the relevant authority. In cases where feel the future acceptance of a species seems almost certain and without controversy (e.g. Canada Warbler in Ireland in 2006) we will add such species to the base lists in advance of their official acceptance, although they will be flagged as 'provisional'.

We often add notes to certain species to clarify listing issues; these notes are our own opinions, and are not necessarily endorsed by the authorities themselves.

If you spot any errors with any of the base lists, or have a different authority you think should be included within BUBO Listing then please Contact Us.

Self-found lists

Whilst we anticipate that most lists submitted to BUBO Listing will contain any birds recorded, including those twitched after being found by another observer, we also recognise that many birders are keen to record lists of species found by themselves only. As the all-bird/self-found characteristic for a list is selected in conjunction with the other list characteristics above (region, period, authority), this means that one can submit self-found county lists, self-found year lists and so on.

The definition of whether a bird can be considered 'self-found' or not is one that has been discussed many times in the past and there are various sets of 'rules' publicised where the different issues concerned have been considered. BUBO Listing does not currently recommend any of these rules, any we may in future produce our own guidelines in discussion with BUBO Listers. We feel, however, that simplicity is best. In short, if you come across a bird without having acted on prior information concerning the whereabouts of that specific individual of that species, we feel it can be considered self-found. This is perhaps too simplified to be clear under every circumstance, but it should do as a good start.

Rare species

In order to restrict the list of species to use for the new list, you may elect to include all rare species as well, or just the common ones. If you only have a small number of rare species to enter then we recommend you choose to exclude rare species at this stage: this will make initial list entry quicker, and you can easily add the rare species afterwards via the 'Add Species to List' option.

Entering list records

BUBO Listing provides two methods for entering the initial records onto a new list. These are:

  • Create from scratch: this will display a checklist style entry form where you can 'tick' all the species recorded, and enter additional details
  • Copy from existing list: if you already have at least one list in the system then you can use this option to quickly create a new list, copying over records from the existing list.

Creating a list from scratch

Once you have decided on the characteristics of your list and clicked 'Create List', you will then be able to set out which species you have recorded. The initial data entry page is restricted to the species accepted by the 'authority' you have selected (see above). To further aid the eye, species are also shown in bold if they are rare species.

For quick inputting of your list, you can simply tick the boxes next to the species names on the list, then click submit when you are done (although see below for rare species). Note that you will be able to go back and edit individual species on the list at any stage if you don't get round to finishing inputting all species in one go. However the batch entry is the fastest way to input records, so we recommend entering as much as you can initially.

For greater interest, particularly for people comparing between lists, we strongly request that you add a date and location against as many species as possible. Whilst this may often be your first date you recorded a species for that list, it doesn't necessarily have to be. For example, not many British birders can pinpoint the date of their first Blackbird Turdus merula! In that case, why not just put down any date when you've recorded it (e.g. look out of the window and then add today's date!) Additionally, we include the facility for you to add a few notes about a given record if you wish to make a specific point concerning it.

NB: We require a date and location to be entered for any species classified as 'rare', to make list comparison more interesting and to reduce the chance of inputting errors.

NB 2: Please be careful when entering a large list because your changes will only be saved once you hit 'Save records'. For example, most browsers use keyboard shortcuts and it can be all too easy to use one my mistake. For example, Ctrl-W closes the window (without warning) - very annoying if after entering a long list you were aiming for Shift-W to record your final record of Reed Bunting Emberiza schoeniclus at Wells Woods!

Sensitive records: whilst the practice of egg-collecting is now carried out by relatively few people in Britain, all keen listers know that it remains a potential threat to be aware of and any sources of information are likely to be perused by egg-collectors looking for information. Therefore, we would appeal to all listers to be sensible about the submission of details for rarer nesting species. We would recommend that if you wish to add a record of a rarer nesting species from the breeding season, but have any concerns about the information being made public, you should make the location suitably vague (e.g. give just the county, or even leave it at "Site undisclosed"). It may also be that even giving the date could provide clues as to the location of a rare breeding species, as the egger could see which other sites you had visited on the same date and thus narrow their search.

If you are at all concerned about the wisdom of the record being made public, therefore, please tick the 'sensitive record' box on the inputting form and this will mean that the date and location of the record will not be visible to anyone else viewing the lists. The managers of BUBO Listing will not disclose sensitive records to third parties; we are already used to dealing with sensitive records through other work. However, we would certainly encourage the submission of such records to the Rare Breeding Birds Panel, either through your county bird recorder, or directly to the RBBP secretary.

Over and above the recommendations of listers, the managers of BUBO Listing reserve the right to conceal dates and locations of any species from other listers viewing the site.

Creating a list by copying an existing list

For this option you need to first choose the existing list you wish to copy, from the dropdown list shown. You may also elect to include or exclude rare species from the copy. Click 'Create List' to start. As well as being prompted for a confirmation before the copy is performed, you can choose whether to copy all species details (i.e. date, location, comments and sensitive status) or just the species itself. For example, if you are creating a county list based on your Britain life list, and you know that most of your first county records were not the same as the ticks on your Britain life list, you will find it quicker to just copy the species itself. If you had done most of your birding within the county and therefore a large proportion of county ticks were actually British lifers as well, you would be better off copying all species details. Whichever option you choose, you will then have less manual edits to do via 'My Lists'.

The copy of a list works slightly differently according to whether the new list is for the same authority as the existing list. The simple case is where the authorities are the same. In this case all species from your existing list (or only the common species if you are not including rare species in the copy) will be copied to your new list. You should then use the 'My Lists' option to update or delete all invalid records. Invalid records could include those species that you have never recorded in the new list area, or those where the species details refer to a record from a different area.

If you copying a list from one authority to another, then only those species where the taxonomic treatment is the same on both authorities are copied. If a species is different taxonomically for the new authority then it is not included on the new list. It is therefore up to you to use the 'My Lists' option to correctly enter these records (as well as updating or deleting invalid records for the new list). In order to help you complete this task, when the list has been copied you will be presented with a list of all the species on the old list that have been 'dropped' from the new list (because they don't exist under the new authority). In addition, BUBO Listing will show a list of all the additional species that are available on the new authority. We recommend that you copy and paste these lists to a text editor, e.g. Notepad, before you move on to 'Add Species to List'. This way it will be easy to ensure that you add all the additional species you have seen.

Note that you can copy any available list, so not just can authorities differ but so can regions (e.g. Britain copied to Norfolk), periods (e.g. life list copied to year list), types (e.g. all records copied to self-found records), and any combination of these (e.g. UK400 Britain life list copied to BOU Norfolk 2006 self-found year list). The only difference is the number of subsequent updates to invalid records that you will need to make.

The following two examples should make this clearer.

Example 1: Copying a BOU Britain list to a BOU Norfolk County list initially produces the following:

BOU Britain    
Mute Swan    
Bewick's Swan  30/12/2006  Slimbridge WWT
Whooper Swan  30/12/2006 Slimbridge WWT
Bean Goose 15/01/2007  Cantley RSPB 
BOU Norfolk County    
Mute Swan     
Bewick's Swan  30/12/2006  Slimbridge WWT
Whooper Swan  30/12/2006 Slimbridge WWT
Bean Goose 15/01/2007  Cantley RSPB 

Assuming you had seen Bewick's Swan but never Whooper Swan in Norfolk you would need to make the following changes to your new Norfolk county list:

  • Update the Bewick's Swan record to refer to a valid Norfolk sighting.
  • Delete the Whooper Swan record.

Your resulting Norfolk County list would be:

BOU Norfolk County    
Mute Swan     
Bewick's Swan  10/01/2007  Welney WWT 
Bean Goose 15/01/2007  Cantley RSPB 

Example 2: Copying a UK400 Britain list to a BOU Britain list initially produces the following:

UK400 Britain    
Mute Swan    
Bewick's Swan  30/12/2006  Slimbridge WWT
Whooper Swan  30/12/2006 Slimbridge WWT
Taiga Bean Goose 15/01/2007  Cantley RSPB 
BOU Britain    
Mute Swan     
Bewick's Swan  30/12/2006  Slimbridge WWT
Whooper Swan  30/12/2006 Slimbridge WWT

Note the omission of Taiga Bean Goose because of the different taxonomic treatment. For this example you would need to make the following change to your new BOU Britain list:

  • Add the Taiga Bean Goose record back as Bean Goose (its BOU taxonomic treatment)

Your resulting BOU Britain list would be:

BOU Britain    
Mute Swan     
Bewick's Swan  30/12/2006  Slimbridge WWT 
Whooper Swan 30/12/2006 Slimbridge WWT 
Bean Goose 15/01/2007  Cantley RSPB 

Further note: at first glance, the manner in which some species are dropped from lists when copying from one authority to another may seem non-sensical. For example, copying from a BOU list to a UK400 list will result in Red Grouse being dropped from the list, then Red Grouse will need to be added to the new UK400 list. Although these would appear to be the same species, the discrepancy arises because the UK400 club considers Red Grouse to be Lagopus scotica, distinct from the Willow Grouse Lagopus lagopus of continental Europe. The BOU considers British Red Grouse to be the subspecies Lagopus lagopus scotica. Such distinctions may seem unimportant in a British context. However, maintaining them is vital when considering copying lists across a wider geographical area, such as from Britain to the Western Palearctic or to the World.