Holarctic birds ver 5 (no longer updated)
Use West Palearctic list instead


The last version of HL 5 (April 2014)
This list is not updated any more. We recommend to use the new West Palearctic list instead.

Background and explanations

This is the web version of the official list with scientific, Swedish and English names of 2300 bird species recorded in the Holarctic region. Also the status of all species recorded in Sweden is presented (breeding, migrating, rarities), in the first column. It is the only list of this kind on the web.

It was originally compiled by the Name Committee within SOF (Swedish Ornithological Society) and printed in 1995 (as Holarktis Fåglar, eds.; Kjellén, N. & Olsson, U. Vår Fågelvärld suppl. no. 23). This printed list was adapted to the web by E. Jirle in 1996 (version 1).

On 31 Dec 2003, new taxonomic changes were implemented by the Swedish Taxonomic Committee and this web list is no longer a copy of the 1995 printed version, but the independent official web version.

The list follows the directives announced by the Swedish Taxonomic Committee (Tk in Swedish, STC in English), which cooperates with four other TCs working in Europe.  AERC-TAC homepage.

The list is updated annually with the latest decisions from STC and the Rarities Committee. All previous versions up to version 4 had footnotes (see archived version 4). In version 5, published 15 April 2014 the footnotes have been omitted. All new changes in version 5 are highlighted with red text. All reports are available as pdf:s via the link to the menu to the right; "Rapporter & dokument" (Reports & documents).

Some important points:
  • The list presents standpoints in systematics. The systematic order generally follows Karel Voous  List of Recent Holarctic Bird Species (BOU, London, 1977). Concerning the species level and taxonomy at species level in the Palearctic region the Name Committee in 1995 chose to follow Mark Beaman's Palearctic Birds – a checklist of the birds of Europe, North Africa and Asia north of the foothills of the Himalayas (Harrier Publications, Stonyhurst, 1994).  When it comes to North America (Nearctic region), the name committee followed the systematics applied by the American Ornithologists' Union (AOU), which STC not do fully.
  • The whole Arabian peninsula is included in the Palearctic region.
  • In issue 1/2013 of Vår Fågelvärld, STC expanded the deefined range of the Holarctic Region, especially in Mexico, which added 225 new species from the Nearctic Region to the list, and 23 from the Palearctic region.
  • In version 5 the order of the columns has been changed so the scientific name comes first, then the Swedish and then the English name. 

For all species recorded in Sweden the status is given with letters or numbers in column 1 as follows:

B = Breeding.
b = breeding unclear/irregular.
M = Migrant (usually in great numbers).
= Regular visitor. (More than 100 records).
number = indicates the number of specimens (less than 100) of rarities. Only  records accepted by the Swedish Rarities Committee in category A-C are listed.
number* = undetermined species (2 seabirds).
(D/E:X) = number of records in category D and E (not spontaneous).



Status changes

New species for Sweden 1998 :
Blyth's Pipit, Anthus godlewskii

4 new species 1999:
Bridled Tern, Sterna anaethetus, Pacific Swift, Apus pacificus, Chimney Swift, Chaetura pelagica and Long-tailed Shrike, Lanius schach. The first for Europe (race erythronotus).

In 2000 one new species was recorded:
Zitting Cisticola, Cisticola juncidis.
One species was deleted 2000 from the Swedish list (seen only outside the limit of Swedish territorial waters);
Black-browed Albatross, Diomedea melanophris.

News from the Rarities Committee + the Club 300 List Committee:
An agreement was made 2 April 2000 to move 2 species from category D to category C;
Egyptian Goose, Alopochen aegyptiacus and Ruddy Duck, Oxyura jamaicensis.

New species 2001:
Black-browed Albatross, Diomedea melanophris. (accepted April 2002, so back again on the Swedish list)
Fea's/Zino's Petrel, Pterodroma feae/madeira (accepted April 2002, but undetermined species).
Upland Sandpiper, Bartramia longicauda.
Oriental Pratincole, Glareola maldivarium (accepted March 2004).


New species 2002:

White-winged Lark, Melanocorypha leucoptera.

Iberian Chiffchaff, Phylloscopus ibericus.


New species 2003:

Hudsonian Godwit, Limosa haemastica (accepted Nov 2003).

Grey-tailed Tattler, Heteroscelus brevipes (accepted Nov 2003).

Semipalmated Sandpiper, Calidris pusilla (accepted Nov 2003).


On 14 December 2003 splits and other taxonomic changes were published which resulted in 9 new species for Sweden, among them Iberian Chiffchaff.

The only Swedish record of Pallas's Gull, Larus ichthyaetus, from 1956 was rejected by the RC though.


New species 2004: Black-winged Kite, Elanus caeruleus.

At the RC meeting in April 2005 two species were deleted from the Swedish list (one old record of each species); Saker Falcon and Dusky Thrush.

New species 2005:
Amur Falcon, Falco amurensis, Great Knot, Calidris tenuirostris and Little Curlew, Numenius minutus.

New species for Sweden 2006: 0.
But an old record from 1984 of Brown Shrike, Lanius cristatus, the first for Europe, was accepted.

New species 2007: Yellow-nosed Albatross, Thalasarche chlororhynchos.

New species 2008: Pallas's Gull, Larus ichthyaetus and Cirl Bunting, Emberiza cirlus

New species 2009: American Bittern, Botaurus lentiginosus and Yellow-browed Bunting, Emberiza chrysophrys.
 In December 2009 STC published report no. 3, resulting in two new species on the Swedish list: Red-throated Thrush, Turdus ruficollis (1 record, 2001) and Green Warbler, Phylloscopus nitidus (1 record, 2003).

New species 2010: Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler, Locustella certhiola, Song Sparrow, Melospiza melodia and Grey-necked Bunting, Emberiza buchanani.

New accepted species 2011: Dusky Thrush, Turdus eunomus and Chestnut-eared Bunting, Emberiza fucata. The only record off Red-throated Thrush, Turdus ruficollis, from 2001, was rejected though.

4 new accepted species 2012: White-winged Scoter, Melanitta deglandi ssp. stjenegeri, Black-faced Bunting, Emberiza spodocephala, Short-billed Dowitcher, Limnodromus griseus and American Cliff Swallow, Petrochelidon pyrrhonota.

10 Dec 2012 STC published taxonomy report no. 4, which resulted in one new species for Sweden; Eastern Stonechat, Saxicola maurus.

11 April 2014 STC published taxonomy report no. 5, resulting in one new species for Sweden: Turkestan Shrike, Lanius phoenicuroides.

The total number of accepted cat. A-C (= spontaneous) species in Sweden  is consequently 506 (includes two undetermined* seabird species and one extinct; Great Auk).

Anderson, B. and Svensson, L. 2003. Holarktis fåglar. Ny forskning förändrar den officiella listan. Vår Fågelvärld 62 (8): 6–12.
Anderson, B., Jirle, E. and Svensson, L. 2007. Förändringar i listan över Holarktis fåglar - Rapport nr 2 från SOF:s taxonomikommitté. Vår Fågelvärld 66 (1): 14–21.
Breife, B., Hirschfeld, E., Kjellén, N. and Ullman, M. 2003. Sällsynta fåglar i Sverige. SOF, Stockholm.
Fromholtz, J., Anderson, B., Jirle, E., Lagerqvist, M., Svensson, L. och Tyrberg, T. 2014. Förändringar i listan över Holarktis fåglar. Rapport nr 5 från SOF/BirdLife Sveriges taxonomikommitté. Vår Fågelvärld 73 (2): 36–45.
Fågelåret 2002 (supplement to Vår Fågelvärld) and the following annual issues – Fågelåret 2011.
Jirle, E., Svensson, L. Fromholtz, J. and Tyrberg, T. 2010. Förändringar i listan över Holarktis fåglar. Rapport nr 3 från SOF:s taxonomikommitté. Vår Fågelvärld 69 (6): 38–46.
Kjellén, N. and Olssson, U. 1995. Holarktis fåglar. Vår Fågelvärld suppl. nr. 43. SOF, Stockholm.
Svensson, L., Tyrberg, T., Fromholtz, J. and Jirle, E. 2012. Förändringar i listan över Holarktis fåglar. Rapport nr 4 från SOF:s Taxonomikommitté. Vår Fågelvärld 71 (6): 41–47.

Sveriges fågeltaxa 2012, SOF. 
Tyrberg, T. och Jirle, E. 2013. Ny gräns för Holarktis. Rapport från SOF:s Taxonomikommitté. Vår Fågelvärld 72 (1): 42–44.

This page was updated 27 April 2014. Erling Jirle, Tk.


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