‘Unusual’ birds in the ACT – August 2020 List

If you see one of the ‘unusual’ birds listed below, please report it on an ‘Unusual’ bird form.
The following is the Rarities Panel’s August 2020 list of ‘unusual’ birds in the ACT.

There are many additional species which could be considered ‘rare’. Those which are particularly easy to identify, such as Regent Honeyeater, Caspian Tern and Red-necked Avocet, or for which there are more than 10 probably independent occurrences in the previous 10 years are not included in the list.

Please report observations of these on the ‘COG Observation Record’, or an ‘Unusual Bird’ form and/or contact rarities@canberrabirds.org.au for clarification.

List of Unusual Birds in the ACT (August 2020)

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Common Name Latin Name Notes
Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata
Brush Bronzewing Phaps elegans
Diamond Dove Geopelia cuneata Reporting not required for “Bibaringa”
Bar-shouldered Dove Geopelia humeralis
Brown-capped Emerald Dove Chalcophaps longirostris
White-throated Nightjar Eurostopodus mystacalis
Spotted Nightjar Eurostopodus argus
Black-eared Cuckoo Chalcites osculans
Black Bittern Ixobrychus flavicollis
Bush Stone-curlew Burhinus grallarius Reporting not required for Mulligans Flat and Goorooyaroo
Banded Lapwing Vanellus tricolor Reporting not required for COG AoI outside ACT
Australian Painted-snipe Rostratula australis
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos
Little Buttonquail Turnix velox Reporting not required for TSR 48
Powerful Owl Ninox strenua
Barking Owl Ninox connivens
Osprey Pandion haliaetus
Square-tailed Kite Lophoictinia isura
Turquoise Parrot Neophema puchella
Little Lorikeet Glossopsitta pusilla
Purple-crowned Lorikeet Glossopsitta porphyrocephala
White-cheeked Honeyeater Phylidonyris niger Reporting not required for JWNR
Blue-faced Honeyeater Entomyzon cyanotis
Black-chinned Honeyeater Melithreptus gularis
Pied Honeyeater Certhionyx variegatus
Black Honeyeater Sugamel niger
Crimson Chat Epthianura tricolor
Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater Acanthagenys rufogularis
Little Wattlebird Anthochaera chrysoptera
Regent Honeyeater Anthochaera phrygia
Singing Honeyeater Lichenostomus virescens
Yellow-plumed Honeyeater Ptilotula ornata
White-fronted Honeyeater Purnella albifrons
Grey-crowned Babbler Pomatostomus temporalis
Australasian Figbird Sphecotheres vieilloti
Black-faced Monarch Monarcha melanopsis Reporting not required for Tallaganda
Apostlebird Struthidae cinerea
Pink Robin Petroica rodinogaster
Tawny Grassbird Megalurus timoriensis
Red-whiskered Bubul Pycnonotus jocosus


In compiling this list, the COG Rarities Panel considered records only from the previous 10 years. This list primarily contains species for which there have been fewer than 10 endorsed records of clearly separate individuals or groups over this time. Where a bird or group of birds has been seen in roughly the same location for an extended period, that has been counted as a single occurrence.

This list is selective – there are many additional species which might be considered ‘rare’ on any number of grounds, including those that occur naturally in very low numbers. Included on the list are relatively rare species that present identification challenges, such as the female Black Honeyeater, and the Pink Robin. The Panel has excluded from this list species rare in the ACT that are particularly easy to identify, such as the Red-necked Avocet and Bell Miner. Nor has the plethora of possible shorebirds which might appear at Jerrabomberra Wetlands NR been included, though unusual bird reports are encouraged for all but the Sharp-tailed Sandpiper.

This list self-evidently excludes species not yet recorded in the ACT but which might turn up at some time in the future: an unusual bird report is required for any bird that does not appear in the most recent COG annual bird report or on the list of ACT birds on the COG website. Clarification can be sought from rarities@canberrabirds.org.au if in doubt.

The Panel has included in the list one species whose continued existence might be threatened by the January 2020 fires – the Brush Bronzewing. It has also included for the first time the Little Lorikeet.

To keep the list of ‘unusual’ species to a reasonable length, birds that have not been recorded in over ten years have been excluded; should they reappear, of course, an unusual bird report would be required. Several other species have been dropped from earlier versions of the list as they are now being recorded more frequently, for example Pied Butcherbird, Musk Lorikeet, Red-backed Kingfisher and Azure Kingfisher.


An unusual bird report must be completed for the species here mentioned, then provided to and endorsed by the COG Rarities Panel before the record will be published as an accepted record in any formal COG publication. A form is available on the COG website for this purpose (canberrabirds.org.au/observing-birds/frequently-asked-questions/unusual-birds/). The Panel will also accept as a report an eBird record with a full description of the observation. It particularly welcomes photos or sound recordings in support of the observation.

COG Rarities Panel, August 2020