National Rarities


crake-little 6654Little CrakeThe BirdLife South Africa National Rarities Committee is tasked with the evaluation of records of birds which would constitute national rarities anywhere in South Africa. The Committee, which is administered by BirdLife South Africa, currently has the following members:

Trevor Hardaker (Chairman)
Adam Riley
David Hoddinott
Faansie Peacock
Etienne Marais
Phil Whittington
John Graham
Athol Marchant
David Allan

If you wish to have a record declared a national rarity, in your private capacity or through SABAP2, a formal submission must be made to the Committee by following the procedure set out below.

National Rarities Procedure
  1. Out of Range submissions generated by SABAP2 will automatically be forwarded to, an account linked to Linda van den Heever (LvdH) at BirdLife South Africa. Attached to this email will be a National Rarities Form (NRF), which is to be completed by the observer and returned directly to LvdH at
  2. The National Rarities Form (NRF) is also available for download document National Rarities Form (142 KB)  for those submissions that do not come through SABAP2. These submissions can also be sent directly to 
  3. Please complete this form, making sure to complete all applicable parts of Section A and as much supplementary information (detailed description, copies of field notes, photographs, etc) as possible.
  4. LvdH will correspond with those who submit incomplete forms and request these to be duly completed in order to be adjudicated.
  5. LvdH will record all new submissions on a spreadsheet and send this out to Rarities Committee members at the end of every calendar month.
  6. All submissions received should be adjudicated and commented on by the end of the following month.
  7. Feedback from Rarities Committee members will be collated by LvdH into a single spreadsheet and sent to Trevor Hardaker (TH) for approval.
  8. Should the committee not be in agreement, it would be up to TH to decide whether additional information is required in order to make a final decision. In such cases, the observer could be asked for additional information, the Rarities committee members could be asked for a second opinion, and/or external advice could be sought from other experts.
  9. LvdH will provide feedback to those who submitted the records within two weeks of receiving the Committee’s decisions. She will also update the record’s status, i.e. Accepted or Rejected, on the SABAP2 website.
  10. LvdH will keep records of adjudications received as well as the outcome of such records.
  11. This webpage will be regularly updated with the Rarities reports, including all records accepted during the reporting period.
  12. Rarity reports are to be published in Ornithological Observations.

Please note:
As part of the Committee’s constitution, they do not enter into debates with observers about the outcomes of their submissions. It is up to the observer to prove to the committee, beyond a reasonable doubt, that what they claimed they saw is, in fact, correct. If the committee does not feel that the evidence supports this fully, then they have no choice but to declare the record not proven.
Adjudication of locally out of range South African birds which are not nationally rare should be directed to the Chairperson of the appropriate Regional Rarities Committee or the Chairperson of the appropriate Branch of BirdLife South Africa. Adjudication of out-of-range species in neighbouring countries should be reported to the relevant regional committee in that country.


2016 National Rarities Download

BirdLife South Africa National Rarities Committee Report 2016 Download


2015 National Rarities Download

BirdLife South Africa National Rarities Committee Report 2015 Download


2014 National Rarities spreadsheet Download (17 KB)

BirdLife South Africa National Rarities Committee Report 2014 pdf Download (277 KB)


2013 National Rarities spreadsheet Download (16 KB)

BirdLife South Africa National Rarities Committee Report 2013 pdf Download (264 KB)