Rare breeding birds in the UK in 2017

Published on 09 December 2019 in Main articles

Mark Holling and the Rare Breeding Birds Panel

Abstract This report documents the status of rare or scarce native birds that were recorded breeding, or showed signs of breeding, in the UK in 2017. It was a particularly memorable year for rare breeding birds. A pair of Night Herons Nycticorax nycticorax in Somerset was the first ever confirmed breeding in the UK; Cattle Egrets Bubulcus ibis nested at four sites; there were six pairs of Black-winged Stilts Himantopus himantopus (a new record total); and the highest-ever totals for Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia (29 pairs), Eurasian Bittern Botaurus stellaris (191 booming males and/or nests found) and Little Egret Egretta garzetta (1,476 pairs) were reported. Three pairs of European Bee-eaters Merops apiaster nested in Nottinghamshire, although poor weather when the young were in the nest eventually led to all the chicks being deserted. Other species reaching their highest-ever totals include Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus, White-tailed Eagle Haliaeetus albicilla and Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta, and there were also high numbers (compared with recent years) of Common Scoter Melanitta nigra, Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus, Marsh Warbler Acrocephalus palustris and Savi’s Warbler Locustella luscinioides.

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Juvenile Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax, Avalon Marshes, Somerset. Alan Harris