London Natural History Society The place for wildlife in London

London Natural History Society - The place for wildlife in London

LNHS Recorders

A full list of the LNHS recorders for different taxonomic groups (or geographic areas for birds) can be found on the Who We Are page and contact details can be found on the Contact Us page.

House Sparrows SQUAREThe Story of the Cockney Sparrow

Once upon a time the House Sparrow was so common in London that it was chosen for the logo of our Society, as the most typical London bird that everyone would be familiar with. Then suddenly, a few year ago, it seemed to have gone from most of London's streets and gardens.

In fact recent House Sparrow surveys and research in London carried out by LNHS, the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), and the RSPB have provided up-to-date distribution data and shown that there are patches where they still seem to be doing well, but distribution is fragmented, and in much of central London they have virtually gone. In 1925, 2,600 were counted in Kensington Gardens; in 2001 just 8!

This story illustrates the importance of keeping species records - otherwise significant changes in abundance or distribution patterns would be missed - and it shows that common species need to be recorded as much as rare ones. Keeping species records is one of the fundamental principles of ecology and conservation. Without data on how a species is doing and where it is distributed, we cannot plan how to conserve it.

What is biological recording?

Biological recording is the scientific study of the distribution of living organisms, biological records describe the presence, abundance, associations and changes, both in time and space, of wildlife.

Click here to visit to learn more 

Recording in London

During its long history, members of the Society have recorded the effect upon our region's wildlife of the huge urban expansion of London, which initially led to habitat loss and severe air pollution. From the 1950s onwards clean air legislation brought respite from pollution, but London's wildlife faced new challenges, especially in the periphery of our area, from the intensification of agriculture, and the introduction of toxic pesticides.

We now see new changes in the diversity and distribution of wild species at the same time as a changing climate. But are all these changes in wild populations really caused by climate change? There can be many reasons why a species expands its range, or increases or declines in numbers. Answering questions like this is one reason why the on-going collection of species records is more important than ever.

London Bird Atlas CoverMapping distribution

In recent decades the Society has published a number of distribution atlases, partly based on records compiled by members. These were major publications that give us important baseline data against which to monitor future changes in species distribution.

Anyone can submit biological records - you don't need to be a scientist or an ecological consultant (you just need to be confident that you have the skills to identify the species that you are recording). In fact, it is volunteers and amateur naturalists that contribute the vast majority of species occurrence records to UK biodiversity databases.

Here at the LNHS, we support local recorders to find, identify and record a wide variety of species across the LNHS recording area, whic is a 20 mile, or 32 km, radius centred on St. Paul's Cathedral in central London.

towns insert0001We've created three maps of the LNHS Recording Area to assist London recorders. Clicking the hyperlinked map titles below will open the map in a new browser window; to return to this page, close the window. All maps are printable.  

We support recording in London through a range of events and recording initiatives, with designated recorders for a wide range of species groups.

Our designated recorders are always happy to receive biological records and offer guidance to new and existing recorders.

Contact details for Recorders can be found on the Contact Us page,

How do I submit records to the LNHS?

The preferred submission record varies by taxonomic group (as does the type of additional information collected alongside the who, what, where and when). If you are recording a specific group, please see the recommendations provided by the designated LNHS recorder below: 

London Bird Club Section

Botany Section

  • Vascular Plants: Contact the LNHS Recorder for guidance (see the Contact Us page for details)
  • Vascular Cyptograms (Ferns & Allies): Contact the LNHS Recorder for guidance (see the Contact Us page for details)
  • Bryophytes (Mosses & Liverworts): Contact the LNHS Recorder for guidance (see the Contact Us page for details)
  • Lichens: Contact the LNHS Recorder for guidance (see the Contact Us page for details)
  • Fungi: Contact the LNHS Recorder for guidance (see the Contact Us page for details)

Ecology & Entomology Section

For casual records, we recommend the following:

  • Birds: See our Recording Birds page for details of the various LNHS-approved submission pathways

  • All other groups: Submit the records through the LNHS iRecord activity and they will be passed on to the relevant recorder

You can learn more about biological recording and the LNHS iRecord activity throughour 'LNHS iRecord' virtual talk below.



Data Protection

Your records may include personal data as they show where you were on a particular date.  The LNHS’s Privacy Notice explains how and why we use people’s personal data and your rights in relation to that data.  It explains that records may be passed on to other organisations in order to further our natural history and conservation objects.  Please read the Privacy Notice before submitting records to us.