Until 1998, the British Ornithologists' Union (BOU) compiled a single List of the birds of Britain & Ireland. Following a request from the Irish Rare Birds Committee, the BOU has since then maintained a List for Britain alone (BOU 1999). This has entailed ongoing work to separate the two Lists and establish, among other things, the first acceptable records for Britain of those species and subspecies whose first British and Irish record came from Ireland. A number of these were listed in recent BOURC reports in Ibis and by Bradshaw (2003). The first Two-barred Crossbill Loxia leucoptera for Britain & Ireland was a female of the Old World race L. l. bifasciata (hereafter referred to as bifasciata), shot at Grenville, near Belfast, Co. Antrim, on 11 th January 1802 (Thompson 1849). Several of the early records were noted as having been 'White-winged Crossbills', the name by which we currently know the North American nominate race L. l. leucoptera (hereafter referred to as leucoptera). This subspecies could conceivably occur as a vagrant in Britain so, when seeking to establish the first British record of Two-barred Crossbill, it was also necessary to determine which subspecies had occurred here.
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|Published - Nov 2007