An official account of all species that have been recorded and reported by birdwatchers and naturalists in the Poole Harbour area since records began.

The data for this list has been extracted from various sources, but George Greens 'The Birds of Dorset', Mansel-Pleydell's Birds of Dorsetshire, Naylor’s reference manual of rare birds and the back catalogue of Dorset bird reports have provided most information. Data is currently still being researched and records will be updated accordingly.

You can view this information in two different ways. Our alphabetical list provides information on the status of each species within the harbour, finder dates and names, photos and favoured locations. By clicking on the Systematic List button you will be presented the full Poole Harbour systematic list which includes status of species, pending records and historical accounts.

To date, 333 species have occurred and have been accepted within the Birds of Poole Harbour boundaries. A further 11 distinct subspecies have also been seen. In addition, we have two species/subspecies which have been recorded, but are awaiting acceptance by the appropriate records panel.

There are a handful of historical records, for which there is currently insufficient information to allow their inclusion onto the Poole Harbour list, but are believed to be genuine records. They are listed at the end of the list.

Finally, there are a number of feral or escaped species that have been recorded within the Birds of Poole Harbour boundaries. They are included for completeness, but are not included on the Poole Harbour list.

We would be interested in hearing details of any species that do not appeared on this list.

The Birds of Poole Harbour systematic list is a PDF which you can view by clicking on the button below. It was last updated on December 2019.

Full Poole Harbour Systematic List

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Latin Name

Coturnix coturnix


Rare Visitor

Site And Records Information

Rare visitor to the harbour. This species is prone to large variations in its annual occurrence in Britain. Whilst annual in Dorset there has not been a Poole Harbour record for more than 20 years. However a very vocal bird at Hartland between June 1st and July 1st 2021 was most welcome.

Reportedly the species used to breed many years ago.
1 in spring 1970 at Hartland Moor for 9 days.
1 on 25th July 1987 at Keysworth
1 on 15th Aug 1988 at Studland
4 calling males in 1989 at 4 sites in the “Poole Basin”. It is impossible to know now if these were actually in the Poole Harbour recording area. 1989 was the best ever year for this species in the County.
1 on 28th Sep 1992 at Goathorn
1 on Arne Moors singing 24th May 2016
1 on 15th Jun 1993 at Hartland Moor1 on July 6th 2019 sound recorded flying over the Piddle Valley at night (P.Morton)
1 on Godlingston Heath 7th June 2020
1 from June 26th – July 1st 2021 at Hartland Moor acid grassland site (G.Hayman and M.Wood)
1 at Ballard Down on 7th June 2021
1 in Lower Piddle Valley, Wareham Common 8th June 2022

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