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November 2017
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SPEA is an Environmental not-for-profit organization whose mission is to support research and conservation of wild birds and their habitats, by promoting sustainable development for the benefit of future generations.
Home  > Birdwatching > Portuguese Rarities Committee

Portuguese Rarities Committee
The Portuguese Rarities Committee, which functions as a subcommittee within SPEA, began its remit on 1st January, 1995 (from 1987 to 1994, Portuguese records were considered by the Iberian Rarities Committee). The primary function of the Committee is to adjudicate on rare or accidental bird records seen within the national boundaries of Portugal, i.e. continental Portugal, the archipelagos of the Azores, Madeira and the Selvagens, along with their territorial waters.

All observers who record rare or accidental bird species (please see below “Revised lists of bird species requiring adjudication by the PRC, for each of the greater Portuguese areas”), are invited to send to the Committee photographs and/or descriptions of the bird(s), for which they should use the record form easily accessible by clicking on “Record Form” below.

Records received are progressively incorporated into a table (please see below the “Table of Records Submitted to the Committee not yet Published”), the main objective of which is to make known the progress of each record (accepted, in circulation, etc…).

On completion of the assessment process, all records reviewed for a given year are published in the form of a report in Anuário Ornitológico, a SPEA publication (please see
We would like to stress that the non-acceptance of any particular record does not imply that the observer (or observers) incorrectly identified the bird in question but rather that, in the opinion of the Committee, the information submitted was insufficient to establish the identification beyond any doubt. In the event of more information becoming available, the Committee is always prepared to re-assess a record previously regarded as not proven on submission of the additional data.

  • News
At the present there are no news.

  • List of bird species requiring adjudication by the PRC, for each of the Portuguese regions:
The lists are based on all rare or accidental bird species observed up to 31st December, 2009, for which there is documented evidence.

  • Committee Composition
At present the committee is composed of nine ornithologists, who meet regularly to analyse records of rare birds submitted by observers.

Dominic Mitchell
Dominic is the founder and editor of Birdwatch, the largest monthly magazine for keen birders in Europe. He also blogs on, is author of several books including The Photographic Handbook of the Rare Birds of Britain and Europe, and is a former council member of the Ornithological Society of the Middle East. His birding travels include some 60 countries on all continents, but he is most at home in the Western Palearctic, and is especially fond of the Azores. Special interests include gulls, rarities and bird photography, and he also enjoys leading bird tours and private guiding. Dominic lives in London, UK, with his wife and two children.

João Tiago Tavares
Is a biologist and works in ornithology since 1999, having studied, counted and monitored birds via radio and via satellite everything from steppe birds to passerines, shorebirds passing through the North Atlantic, and more recently, birds of prey. Today he is also dedicated to communication, especially as an illustrator, having illustrated birds since 2000, in some publications. In his spare time he observes birds mainly in Southern Portugal. Outside our country, has observed birds in 13 countries on four continents.

Peter Alfrey
Peter is a Western Palearctic exploration ornithologist and most of his exploration has been focused on the Azores (passerine hunting, winter gull identification and pelagics). As a result of over 60 foreign trips, he has experience with the majority of species recorded in the Western Palearctic. He has published numerous articles and photographs in the leading European birding periodicals including Birding World, Dutch Birding, Birdwatch and Limicola and recently authored his first book. In his home country, the UK, he resides in London and is an avid local patch watcher, local writer, photographer and environmental campaigner. He holds a Masters of Science and is Managing Director of his own (partner) Environmental Mangement Company. Member of the PRC since 2009.

Pierre-Andre Crochet
Currently works as a scientist for the French CNRS (National Centre for Scientific Research), specializing in evolutionary biology, systematics and the study of biodiversity. He’s been a keen birder for more than 20 years now, with extensive field experience of European, North African and Middle Eastern species. As a birder, he’s especially interested in identification, vagrancy and the Western Palearctic bird list. He’s been visiting the Azores annually since 2005 and has now spent a total of several months there. He’s co-chairman of the Taxonomic Advisory Committee of the Association of European Records and Rarities Committees (AERC-TAC) and a member of the French Avifaunistic Committee (CAF), the BOURC Taxonomic Sub-committee (BOURC-TSC), the Egyptian Ornithological Rarities Committee (EORC) and the local rarities committee of his home area (CHR-LR).

Rafael Matias
Biologist, with ca. 20 years of birdwatching experience. Professionally, during the last 4 years, he has been working on seabird ecology on the Falklands and on the Selvagens Islands. He has studied birds on 3 continents with frequent trips to Chile and Guinea-Bissau. He is also a ringer with experience gathered in several countries. Special interest in the problem of introduced species. Author or co-author of scientific literature in the ornithological field, including a field guide on non-native birds in Portugal. He is also an illustrator and painter and his work has appeared in various publications. He has been a member of the PRC since 1999.

Ray Tipper
Ray is a life-long birdwatcher who left his native Britain in 1973 and spent most of the next 22 years in Hong Kong, where he was a trustee of WWF and became intimately involved with its renowned Mai Po Marshes Nature Reserve. He has wide-ranging field experience in both the Palearctic and Nearctic regions and in 1997 led his first birdwatching tour for a British bird tour company. Since then, he has led close to 60 tours on various continents. He has authored some 20 papers and articles, but is best known as a bird photographer whose work is published all over the world. Member of the PRC since 2007.

Rui Caratão
A Nature lover since a child and a birdwatcher for 20 years, Rui has wide field experience with the Portuguese bird fauna and has also birded countries as different as Turkey and South Africa. Professionally works as a field ornithologist since 1999, when he collaborated with the field works of the Atlas of Portuguese Breeding Birds (Atlas das Aves Nidificantes em Portugal) and, since then, has widen his experience all over Portugal, taking part of censuses and monitoring programmes under projects carried over by environmental consultancy companies but also in the conservation area. Rui is especially interested in the identification of Palearctic Gulls and collaborates with the Gull Research Organisation (GRO) since 2012.

  • Consultant

Colm Moore
Studied plant biology but passionate birdwatcher. Served on Irish Rarities Committee. Founder member of Iberian Rarity Committee and of PRC. Three books authored or co-authored and over sixty papers or short notes published. He has spent extended periods of time in Denmark, Ireland, Israel, Latvia and China studying birds.
Special interests: seabird migration, seabird identification and taxa below species level.

  • Table of Records Submitted to the Committee not yet Published
The following spreadsheet represents an attempt by the CPR to make available publicly details of rarities records submitted to the Committee and the stage that each record has reached in the assessment process, e.g. accepted, in circulation etc. The list below itemises all records received which have yet to be published and will be up-dated at regular intervals. As records are published in Anuário Ornitológico they will be removed from the spreadsheet. New records will be added to the spreadsheet as soon as possible after they are received.
It should be emphasised that the spreadsheet is not an official document but a working one. There may be omissions and it may contain errors. Should you detect any omissions or errors your advice would be very much appreciated. A particular area where further information may often be available of which the Committee is not aware concerns last (and sometimes even first) dates of records when sightings extend over a period. Any corrections to dates would be welcomed.
The view has also been expressed that because hitherto observers have had no way of knowing whether or not a sighting has been submitted, and there is a natural reluctance to submit ‘other people’s birds’, the Committee is not receiving records that would otherwise have been submitted. It is to be hoped the spreadsheet will go a long way towards alleviating that situation.

The spreadsheet is organised in alphabetical order by species (scientific name), the information being arranged in six columns as follows (from left to right):
- Record code (this code will be communicated to the observer (wherever possible) following receipt of a record by the CPR and should be quoted when raising queries or providing additional information in relation to that record).
- Species
- Date(s)
- Locality
- Data relative to the record (number of individuals, sex, age, photographs etc.)
- Status:
  AC = accepted
  NA = not proven

It is important to note that, in relation to records shown as accepted (AC), acceptance relates only to the species concerned and not also to any data appearing in the 'Obs' column e.g. sex, age, number of individuals etc. These are details supplied by the observer, verification of which will be published in the Committee's report in a subsequent volume of Anuário Ornitológico.

Regarding records of species considered to be non-native to Europe (or exotic, e.g. Aix galericulata, Aix sponsa, Cygnus atratus), irrespective of the acceptance of those records, their inclusion in the CPR report will depend on those species being considered to have naturalized populations in Europe (thus being included in category C6) and to other factors. Otherwise they will be published in the section dealing with non-native species in the Anuário Ornitológico.

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