(noun) Any bird species a birder takes deliberate steps to see or attract. In effect, target birds are “targeted” to become additions to a birder's life list, yard list or other categories where they choose to note species.
A target bird may be any species, but it is typically a rare or unusual bird, or one only found in an area for a trip or tour. For backyard birds, a target species may be a bird that is notoriously difficult to attract to feeders, even if it is locally common. Birders may go to extraordinary lengths to see a target bird, often booking extensive travel, hiring guides, choosing tours or opting for specialized foods for birds based on the likelihood of seeing or attracting the bird. When birders travel, they may have multiple target birds for a single trip, tour or hotspot.
Birding festivals and other events may have a spotlight bird and often choose a species that will be a target for many guests. This is a way to promote unusual birds in the area and help encourage better attendance. Endangered birds and endemic birds are also popular target species.
If a birder continually misses seeing the target bird, it is likely that the species will become a nemesis bird for that individual.
Photo – Swallow-Tailed Kite © Artur Pedziwilk