A number of changes to the British List come into effect today:
British Rail Rallus brittanicus Category A
First recognised as a full species in 1948 the British Rail was found throughout the UK. Numbers declined in the 1950s and the 1960s mainly due to loss of habitat. In the 1990s it became one of the first victims of climate change, being unable to cope with the wrong kind of snow in the winter of 1991. Introduced species such as the Virgin Rail Rallus beardii, and the Network Rail Rallus trackus in the late 1990s reduced numbers even further until there were no longer any breeding British Rails in the wild. A small number of them remain in private collections which enthusiasts hope will provide the basis of a reintroduction programme, but in the current economic climate this seems unlikely.
Leyton Buzzard Buteo leytonii Category A
Sometimes known as the Leighton Buzzard, small numbers of these birds can be found in east London and the Midlands. The east London population was first recorded in the late 1880s and later identified in the 1940s as being of the race orientalis. The Midland population can be found to the south of Milton Keynes, numbers of which have slowly increased over recent years where they are often found near the M1, and perched on overhead lines.
Pillock Prunella anoraka Category A
Common British species found in a wide range of habitats, although in decline in some urban areas. Often found near railways, and other transport infrastructure as well as on nature reserves where it often gathers in large flocks. Has a distinctive tick – tick call. Known to feed on cheese sandwiches.
Norwegian Blue Cyanopsitta norvegicus Category E
Europe's only indigenous breeding parrot, small numbers of these birds lived in the Norwegian coastal woodlands. Up until the early 1960s numbers were stable; when after this time they were particularly attractive to the cage bird trade due to their beautiful plumage. Numbers in the wild suffered an alarming decline and they were considered extinct as a wild bird by the late 1960s. In captivity they were difficult birds to breed as they were known to pine for the fjords. The last known captive bird was sold by a London pet shop to a Mr Praline in a moribund state in late 1969.
The British list updates will take place from 1/4/11