Thank you very much for your interest in the work of the Emirates Bird Records Committee. If you are preparing to submit a Rare Bird Report (RBR), a full list
of the species currently requiring descriptions, a blank RBR pro-forma and an example of a completed form can be found below. Decisions on all submitted records are also available below.
- Species requiring descriptions
- Blank Rare Bird Report can be downloaded here: Download RBR
- Example of a completed Rare Bird Report: Example of a completed Rare Bird Report
The EBRC have implemented a regular assessment timetable, with three assessment periods throughout the year.
Sep - Nov records: circulated early Dec, with decisions published in January.
Dec - Mar records: circulated early Apr, with decisions published by end of April.
Apr - Aug records: circulated early September, with decisions published by the end of September.
Obviously, we are happy to receive records at any time but what we are going to try to guarantee is that we publish decisions 3 times a year, at the times noted above. This means that if you have any submissions outstanding, we would be grateful to receive them before the end of Nov / Mar / August so that we can include them in the next batch for assessing at the start of the following month.
Rare Bird Report decisions from the EBRC:
- 2015 onwards
- 2010 up to and including 2014
- 2003 up to and including 2009
- up to and including 2002
- Note: all records marked Not submitted! will not appear in the UAE Bird Database nor on the Club 300 page unless photos are available and leaves no doubt of the identity or until formally submitted and Accepted by the EBRC.
The EBRC exists so that ornithologists and interested amateurs can use the UAE records as a reliable reference, knowing that they are supported with documentation and that they have been carefully screened. For this reason alone the EBRC strive to be as fastidious as possible in judging records.
The list of rare birds to be reported to the EBRC generally complies with the following guidelines;
Less than 20 accepted records exist.
Some difficult-to-identify species like Lesser Spotted Eagle, Little & Baillon's Crake and Hume's Whitethroat will stay on the list longer.
For species not on this list, and if one member of the EBRC feel that evidence should be provided for a particular record, then the observer is contacted and asked for a Rare Bird Report to be submitted.
CONSTITUTION for the EBRC
Voting Committee members are nominated by the serving Committee on the basis of their expertise in bird identification in the UAE and other relevant regions, and their willingness to play a role in maintaining the UAE bird records.
Non-voting Committee members generously donate their time to fulfill other vital roles such as maintaining the UAE bird records database, publicizing the work of the EBRC and advising on policy matters.
Oscar Campbell - Abu Dhabi (Chairman, voting member)
Mark Smiles - Dubai (Secretary, voting member)
Neil Tovey - Kuwait (voting member)
Simon P. Lloyd - Dubai (voting member)
Huw Roberts - Al Ain (voting member)
Tommy Pedersen - Dubai (Bird Recorder, non-voting member)
Peter Hellyer - Abu Dhabi (non-voting member)
Ahmed Al Ali - Sharjah (non-voting member)
Assessment of Records
Records are judged on their separate merit. Decisions are a considered opinion as to whether a particular record carries enough evidence to reliably support the identification and do not represent an assessment of the observer. Non-acceptance does not usually mean that the Committee believes the observer was mistaken; rather that Committee considers that the evidence presented is insufficient to establish the identification beyond reasonable doubt. However, in addition to the evidence submitted, observer experience of the species, or potential confusion species, sometimes informs a decision.
A number of species occurring as vagrants to the UAE are extremely similar to congeners and / or involve subspecies or populations from regions of the Palearctic that are not well studied by ornithologists. Observers submitting records of such species are advised that only extremely detailed, well-documented records that have been compiled from in-depth observations are likely to reach the required standard.
For any record to be accepted, all members of the EBRC need to assess it and vote, and a 4:1 decision has to be reached. All votes are maintained on file and are strictly confidential.
The Committee would like to receive records as soon after the original sighting as possible, ideally within 4 weeks. The ‘field description’ should be based on field-notes taken during the observation or very soon afterwards, preferably written without reference to identification literature. Such literature can be referred to elsewhere in the RBR, for example in the section for characters used to eliminate similar species. Please include any field-sketches made, however rudimentary; these are often invaluable.
The Committee reserves the right to ask for additional information on any record, including scan-ins or photocopies of original field notes.
Resubmitted records are compared to the original, to ensure that they only include information overlooked at the time of writing the original. Information that contradicts the original or detail added retrospectively, such as drawings done several weeks after the original sighting, will not be considered; nor will subsequent experience of the species.
Advice on decisions
Decisions on all submitted records will be posted here as soon as they have been voted on, listing the species, date and location.
An observation will be classified as one of either:
- Accepted. Placed in Category A.
- Accepted (D). Escape not ruled out. Placed in Category D.
- Accepted (E). Definite escape. Placed in Category E.
- Not proven. Insufficient evidence for acceptance.
Decisions may take a few months to reach, particularly during migration periods. The location of the UAE means that we receive many records of difficult-to-identify or less well known species/genera than would be expected in western Europe for example, so many reports require detailed research and consideration before a verdict can be made. This may include referral to experts in the UK, Europe, Africa, Asia or elsewhere in the Middle East. Additionally, all Committee members have extensive work/family/non-birding commitments which can slow the process of assessing records. However, the EBRC will endeavor to publicize all decisions within 6 months of receiving RBRs.
Submission of photographs as Records
The circulation of individual photographs is a good way to help resolve many identification issues. However, problems can arise in cases where identification is based on minute or potentially variable details that may not be accurately captured by a photograph; in such cases only sharp, high resolution images will be judged as record of a rare bird if submitted without a full RBR, and should at least be accompanied by brief details of the sighting, including date, time, location, weather and observer(s).
Images of poorer quality are still useful and can be included in an RBR to supplement the written description. The description should highlight any discrepancies between the photograph(s) and how the bird(s) appeared in the field.
All photos submitted to uaebirding.com & its Forum may be included in RBRs, unless otherwise requested.