As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Thursday, 19 March 2020

The Centurion Club: birds not seen in Britain for more than 100 years


There are several iconic species on the British list with just one or two records to their names, usually doused in legend, mystique and folklore. And while there hasn't been a Northern Hawk Owl or Egyptian Nightjar in a few decades, they and other extreme megas have still occurred in many a birder's lifetime – thus the chance of a future record seems at least possible. Even Macqueen's Bustard – which hasn't reached Britain since 1962 – is remotely plausible, not least because of a Belgian record from 2003 and a Swiss bird in 2008. Tengmalm's Owl is fresh proof that the ultimate of unblockings can happen!

However, in this the year 2020, there is a small group of mystical birds that haven't been recorded in Britain for more than a century. All of them are stored in a dusty and long-unopened box, labelled Category B of the BOU's British list: for species that were recorded in an apparently natural state at least once between 1 January 1800 and 31 December 1949, but have not been recorded subsequently.

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