Scarce Breeding Birds

The breeding season is already underway for some birds. Please respect the special protection for species listed in Schedule 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (see list here).

For scarce breeding species in Sussex, please do not publish locations on social media, including this website, unless the sites are well-known and protected. If entering records on BirdTrack consider marking them as “sensitive”. As a guide, the SOS recommends this approach for Honey-buzzard, Goshawk, Marsh Harrier, Stone-curlew, Long-eared Owl, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Peregrine, Woodlark, Grasshopper Warbler, Dartford Warbler and Tree Sparrow. In addition, please avoid publicising locations of nests of other species such as Barn Owl, Kingfisher and Nightjar that could be vulnerable to disturbance. And if you are lucky enough to find something rarer that might be breeding (are we due another pair of Black-winged Stilts!?), please also avoid publicity, at least until protective measures, where practicable, have been put in place.

Whilst we don’t want you to share on public forums the breeding locations of the species listed above, we do want records of your observations of these species, including breeding evidence. This will happen automatically for BirdTrack if you have authorised the BTO to pass us your records. Especially if you find a new potential breeding site for a scarce breeder, please do let me know straight away at to help ensure that annual coverage is as complete as possible. For Stone-curlews, please tell the RSPB Stone-curlew Project Team and for Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers, please inform Ken Smith at

Many thanks.

Mark Mallalieu
SOS Recorder and Chair of Scientific Committee