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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 consider carefully the risks of disturbance before reporting sightings on social media, including this website, unless the sites are well-known and protected. If in doubt please contact me at  If entering records on BirdTrack consider marking them as “sensitive”. In addition, please avoid publicising locations of nests of other species that could be vulnerable to disturbance. And if you are lucky enough to find something really rare that might be breeding, please also avoid publicity, at least until protective measures, where practicable, have been put in place.

We do want records of scarce breeding species as well as of commoner species, including as much breeding evidence as possible for all species. Providing breeding evidence is really important for conservation purposes. We receive all BirdTrack data including breeding evidence provided that you have authorised the BTO to pass us your records.

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, we can actually make a difference to nesting success if we know that a breeding attempt is in progress and can liaise with the farmer, so please report sightings to the RSPB Stone-curlew Project Team and for Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers, for which a long-term project is underway to monitor breeding success, please inform Ken Smith at

Many thanks.

Mark Mallalieu
SOS Recorder and Chair of Scientific Committee