To create a new list, you first need to be logged in. Having logged in, select Create New List from the My Lists menu.

Before entering the species on your list, you need to specify what type of list it is. This enables comparisons with other lists of similar types. Lists are defined based on a number of characteristics, which you are asked to choose between.


Your list can be for anywhere in the world, from the entire World to large regions such as the Western Palearctic or ABA Area, smaller regions such as Britain (the island) or combined Britain and Ireland, an individual county or state such as Norfolk or Texas, or individual sites, for which you can create your own.

You can type in the name of the location to select from matching ones, browse the location tree and select one from there, or right-click on an existing one in the tree to add a new site below that.

When location is chosen you can then simply click the Create List button to create the list and start entering records, but there are some further options if required.

List period

This enables you to specify the time period over which your list operates. The options are Life (default) and Year. If you select Year, you will then need to select which year your list refers to.

List type

Whilst most lists will be for the default of All records, i.e. any (wild) bird, there are other specialist types of lists that birders like to keep, e.g. self-found lists, and you can select from many options for list type.


For the purposes of comparing one list with another, it is important that all lists in question have the same species available to them. It is pointless to compare a list that splits Pied Wagtail Motacilla (alba) yarrellii and White Wagtail Motacilla (alba) alba, say, with one that does not. Hence, we require all lists to be based on an 'authority', or base-list. The recommended authority is the default and listed first but you can select a different one for the location if required.

Entering list records

BUBO Listing provides two methods for entering the initial records onto a new list. These are:

  1. Create from scratch: this will display a checklist style entry form where you can tick all the species recorded, and enter additional details
  2. Copy from existing list: if you already have at least one list in the system then you can use this option to quickly create a new list, copying over records from the existinglist.

Rare species

In order to restrict the list of species to use for the new list, you may elect to show just the common ones rather than including all rare species as well (which is the default).

Click the Create List button to create your list and then start entering species from scratch, or copying from an existing list.

Creating a list from scratch

The data entry page is restricted to the species accepted by the authority you have selected. Species are also shown with an R to indicate that they are rare, and an i for information which can be viewed if you hover over the name.

For quick inputting of your list, you can simply tick the Seen? boxes next to the species names. However, for greater interest, particularly for people comparing between lists, we strongly recommend that you add a date and location (and maybe comments) against as many species as possible. Whilst this would ideally be for the first date you recorded the species for that list, it doesn't have to be. You can just type directly in each field and information will be saved immediately.

Note that we require a date and location to be entered for any species classified as rare, to make list comparison more interesting and to reduce the chance of inputting errors. As soon as you tick a rare species, a popup will prompt you for these additional details. (You can use the popup for all species if you prefer by clicking the edit icon at the end of each species row.)

You can also tick the Sensitive? box for a species, so that the details of the records will not be made available to anyone. Please use this for rare breeding birds for example: see below for further discussion.

Creating a list by copying an existing list

For this option you need to first choose the existing list you wish to copy, from the dropdown list. You may also choose to include or exclude rare species from the copy. Click the Create List button. You will then be prompted to confirm, and can also choose what details to copy: you can copy full details (i.e. date, location, comments and sensitive status) or just the species itself. For example, if you were creating a Norfolk county list based on your Britain life list, and you know that most of your first county records were not the same as the ticks on your Britain list, it would be quicker to just copy the species itself. If you had done most of your birding within the county and therefore a large proportion of county ticks were actually British lifers as well, then copying all species details would work better. When the records have been copied and the new list created, you should use My Lists to update or delete all invalid records. Invalid records could include those species that you have never recorded in the new list area, or those where the species details refer to a record from a different area.

Copying lists can be quite confusing if the authorities for the existing and new lists are different, and this is explained further below.



Obviously, the lists from the different authorities are frequently updated and we will reflect these updates within BUBO Listing as soon as possible after they are announced. However, we recognise that many birders will wish to include certain new birds on their lists in advance of official acceptance by the relevant authority. In cases where feel the future acceptance of a species seems almost certain and without controversy (e.g. Canada Warbler in Ireland in 2006) we will add such species to the base lists in advance of their official acceptance, although they will be flagged as 'provisional'.

We often add notes to certain species to clarify listing issues; these notes are our own opinions, and are not necessarily endorsed by the authorities themselves.

If you spot any errors with any of the base lists, or have a different authority you think should be included within BUBO Listing then please Contact Us.

Self-found lists and other list types

As the list type is selected in conjunction with the other list characteristics above (location, period, authority) this means that one can submit self-found county lists, self-found year lists and so on.

The definition of whether a bird can be considered 'self-found' or not is one that has been discussed many times in the past and there are various sets of 'rules' publicised where the different issues concerned have been considered. BUBO Listing does not currently recommend any of these rules, any we may in future produce our own guidelines in discussion with BUBO Listers. We feel, however, that simplicity is best. In short, if you come across a bird without having acted on prior information concerning the whereabouts of that specific individual of that species, we feel it can be considered self-found. This is perhaps too simplified to be clear under every circumstance, but it should do as a good start.

Sensitive records

Whilst the practice of egg-collecting is now carried out by relatively few people in Britain, all keen birders know that it remains a potential threat to be aware of, and any sources of information are likely to be perused by egg-collectors looking for information. Therefore, we would appeal to all listers to be sensible about the submission of details for rarer nesting species. We would recommend that if you wish to add a record of a rarer nesting species from the breeding season, but have any concerns about the information being made public, you should mark it as sensitive. This will mean that the details (location, date, and comments) of the record will not be visible to anyone else viewing the lists. The managers of BUBO Listing will not disclose sensitive records to third parties; we are already used to dealing with sensitive records through other work. However, we would certainly encourage the proper submission of such records, such as to your local ornithological recording society, or organisations such as the Rare Breeding Birds Panel in the UK.

Over and above the recommendations of listers, the managers of BUBO Listing reserve the right to themselves conceal details of any record if they consider this appropriate.

Copying lists between different authorities or regions

If you copying a list from one authority to another, then only those species where the taxonomic treatment is the same on both authorities are copied. If a species is different taxonomically for the new authority then it is not included on the new list. It is therefore up to you to use My Lists to correctly enter these records (as well as updating or deleting invalid records). In order to help you complete this task, when the list has been copied you will be presented with a list of all the species on the old list that have been 'dropped' from the new list (because they don't exist under the new authority). In addition, BUBO Listing will show a list of all the additional species that are available on the new authority. These will also be emailed to you.

Note that you can copy any available list, so not just can authorities differ but so can regions (e.g. Britain copied to Norfolk), periods (e.g. life list copied to year list), types (e.g. all records copied to self-found records), and any combination of these (e.g. BOU Britain life list copied to IOC Western Palearctic 2022 self-found year list). The only difference is the number of subsequent updates to invalid records that you will need to make.

The following example should make this clearer.

Example: Copying a BOU Britain list to a BOU Norfolk County list initially produces the following:

BOU Britain   BOU Norfolk County
Mute Swan     Mute Swan    
Bewick's Swan 30/12/2021 Slimbridge WWT Bewick's Swan 30/12/2021 Slimbridge WWT
WhooperSwan 30/12/2021 Slimbridge WWT WhooperSwan 30/12/2021 Slimbridge WWT
Bean Goose 15/01/2022 Cantley RSPB Bean Goose 15/01/2022 Cantley RSPB

Assuming you had seen Bewick's Swan but never Whooper Swan in Norfolk you would need to make the following changes to your new Norfolk county list:

  • Update the Bewick's Swan record to refer to a valid Norfolk sighting.
  • Delete the Whooper Swan record.

Your resulting Norfolk County list would be:

BOU Norfolk County
Mute Swan    
Bewick's Swan 10/01/2022 Welney WWT
Bean Goose 15/01/2022 Cantley RSPB

Further note: at first glance, the manner in which some species are dropped from lists when copying from one authority to another may seem non-sensical. For example, copying from a BOU list to a UK400 list will result in Red Grouse being dropped from the list, then Red Grouse will need to be added to the new UK400 list. Although these would appear to be the same species, the discrepancy arises because the UK400 club considers Red Grouse to be Lagopus scotica, distinct from the Willow Grouse Lagopus lagopus of continental Europe. The BOU considers British Red Grouse to be the subspecies Lagopus lagopus scotica. Such distinctions may seem unimportant in a British context. However, maintaining them is vital when considering copying lists across a wider geographical area, such as from Britain to the Western Palearctic or to the World.