Distribution Britain 420 (-33.6%) Ireland 176 (-36.5%)
Numbers breeding: Britain 700 Ireland 1,300
European status: 160,000 (1% in Britain and Ireland) British population trend: assured but may be declining
How likely are you to record it? 5 squares (0.1%) Ranked 162= 
These are very difficult birds to record and even worse to prove breeding they have amazing black balls of fluff for young chicks. The best bet is to hear them 'sharming' (calling) in the evening or at night like a stuck pig! In the 19th century they were breeding everywhere save the Northern and Western Isles and the eggs were regularly collected for the table. But, in Britain but not so much in Ireland, the birds thinned out and disappeared from many areas with increasing drainage. There were further losses between the Atlases but crepuscular birds, like this, may have been under-recorded. This is one of the species that needs further study by enthusiasts, using the newly formulated census techniques now available, to find out what is actually happening. Many breed in protected areas and at least these have reasonable prospects.
Jenkins, R. 1999 BTO News: 221, 7.
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From The State of the Nations Birds
Copyright © 2000 by Chris Mead