Captive bred birds: changing how we regulate trading in England, Scotland and Wales

Closed 24 Mar 2015

Opened 28 Jan 2015


 To protect wild birds, which can be illegally taken from the wild for commercial gain, trade in captive bred birds is regulated in England, Scotland and Wales. 

This consultation concerns commonly kept smaller birds listed on Part 1 Schedule 3 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) and does not apply to game birds. 

Schedule 3 birds can be sold if they meet certain requirements e.g. are ringed. Some birds not listed on Schedule 3 can be sold by people relying on a general licence, issued by the relevant national licensing authority, if certain conditions are met.

For other birds sale is only allowed by an individual licence issued by the relevant national licensing authority. This may happen if a bird has been bought in another EU Member State for onward sale in the UK and does not meet the requirements of the regulations for that species.  

Concerns have been raised that the current regulation of trade in these captive-bred birds needs reform, as it may restrict trade in captive-bred birds imported into the UK from other European Member States. 

This consultation provides three options which could resolve these concerns. It also asks for information on a number of other issues relating to trade in captive bred birds which will be used to inform future policy.

What happens next

This consultation contains a range of questions regarding the current way in which the trade in captive-bred birds is regulated, and the range of options we are currently considering to improve the regime.  If you would like to submit any further information related to the issues in this consultation, please send it by email to:

When this consultation ends, we will hold copies of the responses and they will be made available on request. Members of the public may ask for a copy of responses under freedom of information legislation.

If you do not want your response - including your name, contact details and any other personal information – to be publicly available, please say so clearly in writing when you send your response to the consultation. Please note, if your computer automatically includes a confidentiality disclaimer, that won’t count as a confidentiality request.



  • Charities/Voluntary Organisations
  • Environmental campaigners
  • Animal welfare campaigners
  • Operators of animal gatherings
  • Livestock show ground operators
  • Manufacturers of livestock identifiers
  • Devolved Administrations


  • Natural environment
  • Biodiversity
  • Animals
  • Animal diseases
  • Animal welfare
  • Livestock identification and movement
  • Livestock disease control
  • Rural economy and communities
  • Conservation
  • Recreational sector
  • Pets
  • Travelling with pets
  • Quarantine
  • Protecting pets from cruelty
  • Wildlife crime
  • Wildlife management
  • Protecting wildlife
  • Non-native species