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Species, sequences and names

All species in Categories A, B and C of the British List that have occurred in the Outer Hebrides (up to the end of 2019) have been included. With some exceptions, only records that have been accepted by OHRC, SBRC or BBRC are included. If not the case then this has been clearly stated. Initials of observers for birds on all three lists are given and it should be noted that the species under consideration are often amended by the three committees. The Pending, Incomplete and Unproven records for 2017-2019 are followed by some of the more interesting records for other years.

The taxonomy and nomenclature follows the latest British List (January 2018). There have been major transitions in the application of evolving species concepts and DNA-based phylogenies. An index is provided on pages ***-***.

The British (English) vernacular names of species are followed by the agreed IOC World Bird List international English name where this is different. The Gaelic name as used in The Birds of Scotland is also given.


The status summaries aim to provide background information and cover the period up until the current report. They do not necessarily apply throughout the entire area for every species. The term ‘Uists’ refers to the island chain from Berneray in the north, south through North Uist, Grimsay, Benbecula and South Uist to Eriskay while the ‘Outliers’ are defined as the islands of North Rona, Sula Sgeir, Flannan Isles, Shiant Islands, St Kilda (the term refers to Hirta/Dun/Soay), Gasker, Haskeir Island, Monach Islands, and from Pabbay to Mingulay and Berneray. The term ‘Stornoway Castle Grounds’ refers to most of the area bounded by the A859, the A866 and the River Creed, ‘Stornoway harbour’ includes Goat Island, the term ‘North Ford’ usually includes the area through to Tràigh Eachkamish (and sometimes Kirkibost Island), and ‘South Ford’ the area from Creagorry and Carnan through to near the Hebridean Jewellery shop, and sometimes the area east of Gualan. Balranald NR includes Lochs Scarie/Grogary/nam Feithean, Aird an Rùnair and Beinn a’ Bhaile. Island abbreviations where given after place names are not repeated if used earlier in the species yearly summary. Only Stornoway (Castle Grounds, harbour and landfill site) is not followed by the appropriate island abbreviation (LE). Offshore the recording area extends to up to three nautical miles; observations from ferries and boats in the Minches come under the appropriate island heading (the recording area extends to the mid-point between the island in question and the Highland or Argyll areas on the mainland side).

The following definitions have been used within the status summaries:

Abundance Breeding pairs Non-breeding (birds)
Abundant 10,000+ 25,000+
Common 1,000-9,999 2,500-24,999
Fairly common 100-999 250-2,499
Uncommon 10-99 25-249
Scarce 1-9 (not necessarily breeding annually Less than 25 (not necessarily appearing annually)
Rare Under 25 records
Very rare <Five or fewer records


 BA Barra
 BE Benbecula
 BN Berneray
 ER Eriskay
 GR Grimsay
 HA Harris
 LE Lewis
 NU North Uist
 SU South Uist
 VA Vatersay
 AON Apparently Occupied Nests
 AOS Apparently Occupied Sites
 AOT Apparently Occupied Territories
 BBS Breeding Bird Survey
 BBRC British Birds Rarities Committee
 BOURC British Ornithologists’ Union Records Committee
 BTO British Trust for Ornithology
 IOC International Ornithological Congress
 LNR Local Nature Reserve
 NR Nature Reserve
 OHRC Outer Hebrides Records Committee
 RSPB Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
 SBRC Scottish Birds Records Committee
 SNH Scottish Natural Heritage
 SRMS Scottish Raptor Monitoring Scheme
 URSG Uist Raptor Study Group