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Gray Catbird added to Category A of the British List


Press Release 12th August 2002

Gray Catbird
South Stack, Holy Island, Anglesey
4th – 5th October 2001

Added to Category A of the British List

The British Ornithologists' Union Records Committee (BOURC) has added Gray Catbird Dumetella carolinensis to Category A of the British List following the acceptance of a bird seen at South Stack, Holy Island, Anglesey on 4th-5th October 2001.

The date and west coast location are consistent with natural vagrancy from North America. Another North American vagrant, a Red-eyed Vireo, was found at the same site on the 4th October. An investigation into the captive status of Gray Catbird revealed that it was unknown as a cagebird outside North America. The bird was extraordinarily elusive during its two-day stay, but was described sufficiently well to establish the identification beyond doubt. It was not photographed.

This record constitutes the sixth confirmed occurrence of the Gray Catbird in the Western Palearctic. The only other British record relates to a bird that arrived in Portsmouth, Hampshire on board the QEII cruise liner on 21 October 1998. The bird was not known to have left the ship while it was in port, and was not admitted to the official British List as its passage to Britain was human-assisted, with the bird being fed during the trans-Atlantic crossing.

There is a single record of Gray Catbird from Ireland on Cape Clear, Co Cork, on 4 November 1986, plus one from Jersey, Channel Islands, during October - December 1975. These records do not form part of the British List.

This addition brings the British List to 561 species
(Category A = 539; Category B = 13; Category C = 9).

The Natural History Museum, Tring, Hertfordshire HP23 6AP, UK
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