From the start of 2018, the British List as accepted by the British Ornithologists’ Union Records Committee (BOURC) follows the taxonomic decisions of the International Ornithological Committee (IOC). As a result, BUBO Listing has aligned all lists based on the BOU authority with this new approach. Full details of the changes are available from the BOU, including a complete new 9th edition of the British List. However, as far as BUBO Listers are concerned, the key changes are as follows:

  • Bean Goose is split into Taiga Bean Goose Anser fabalis and Tundra Bean Goose Anser serrirostris. In general, most birds from the two regular wintering flocks in the Yare Valley (Norfolk) and Slamannan Plateau (Central) can be assumed to be Taiga Bean Geese. Periodic influxes of Bean Geese elsewhere more typically feature Tundra Bean Geese, although this is not a 100% clear distinction. BUBO Listing will prompt you to consider which subspecies your previous Bean Geese list entries refer to.
  • Fea’s Petrel (as was) is no longer on the British List, given the decision to split it into the two species Fea’s Petrel Pterodroma feae and Desertas Petrel Pterodroma deserta. To date, no British records of Fea’s Petrel have unambiguously ruled out Desertas Petrel (and very few have ruled out Zino’s Petrel). Therefore, those birders lucky enough to have experienced the thrill of a passing Pterodroma will sadly see their lists reduce by one.
  • Hudsonian Whimbrel is no longer considered to be a separate species and is now treated as a subspecies of Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus hudsonicus. Therefore, this species is removed from all BOU lists within BUBO Listing.
  • Least Tern Sternula antillarum is split from Little Tern Sternula albifrons. The only accepted British record is of a bird regularly returning to Rye Harbour between 1983 and 1992 (and presumed the same bird in Essex in 1991). If you saw this bird, you can now add it to your lists.

Daurian Shrike 111026 Lanius isabellinus

  • Isabelline Shrike is split into Daurian Shrike Lanius isabellinus and Turkestan Shrike Lanius phoenicuroides (called Isabelline and Red-tailed respectively by IOC). ‘Isabelline Shrikes’ are almost annual, with over 100 recorded in Britain to date. It is thought that Daurian Shrike is the more regular of the two, but most birds have not yet been officially accepted to the level of the new species; presumably the BBRC may consider further assessment of previous records to see how many can be assigned one way or another. BUBO Listing will prompt you to consider which subspecies your Isabelline Shrike list entries refer to.
  • Two-barred Greenish Warbler Phylloscopus plumbeitarsus is split from Greenish Warbler Phylloscopus trochiloides. There have been five accepted records to date: Gugh (1987),  Holkham (1996), Bryher (2003), Filey (2006) and Papa Westray (2016). If you saw any of these individuals, you can now add the species to your lists.
  • Stejneger’s Stonechat Saxicola stejnegeri is split from Siberian Stonechat Saxicola maurus. The only accepted records to date are from Portland in 2012 and from Landguard and Spurn in 2016. If you saw any of these individuals you can now add the species to your lists.
  • Eastern Yellow Wagtail Motacilla tschutschensis is split from Western Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava. There are four accepted British records to date, from Fair Isel (1909), Colyford - Devon (2010), Out Skerries (2011) and St Mary’s (2016). If you saw any of these individuals you can now add them to your lists.

These changes mean that the British List now stands (as of 1st Jan 2018) at 614 species, with 596 in Category A, 8 in Category B and 10 in Category C. As ever, BUBO Listing also maintains a small number of ‘pending’ species of particular interest, where a number of birders will have seen the species in question but where a decision has not yet been reached. At the time of writing, there are five pending species on BUBO’s BOU list: Dalmatian Pelican, Lammergeier, Elegant Tern, Eastern Orphean Warbler and Red-winged Blackbird. These will be upgraded or removed as and when decisions are published on their status.