Changes to the British List (16 June 2023)

The British Ornithologists’ Union Records Committee (BOURC) has accepted the following to the British List.

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The following species has been added to Category A of the British List:

Sulphur-bellied Warbler Phylloscopus griseolus
One, male, second-calendar-year or older, Lundy, Devon, 8 June 2021.

Photo (right) © Dean Jones

An interesting Phylloscopus warbler, initially identified as a Dusky Warbler P. fuscatus but showing yellowish tones, was discovered on Lundy Island in early June 2021. The prompt posting of images on the internet resulted in experienced commentators immediately suggesting re-identification as a Sulphur-bellied Warbler, a potential British first. This was subsequently confirmed with further excellent photographs and sound recordings of its song which permitted exclusion of the very similar Tickell’s Leaf Warbler P. affinis and Alpine Leaf Warbler P. a. occisinensis.

The species is a long-distance migrant and there is no indication that the species is held in captivity. There is one previous European record, from Christiansø, Denmark from 30 May to 3 June 2016 (Dutch Birding 41: 175-179).

It should be placed after Radde’s Warbler P. schwarzi on the British List.

Sulphur-bellied Warbler breeds from Afghanistan and Pakistan to south Russia, west Mongolia and central China, migrating to winter in India.

This change will be published as part of the BOURC’s 56th report due to be published in Ibis in January 2024. Upon publication of this change, the British List stands at 631 species (Category A = 613; Category B = 8; Category C = 10).

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