The Canadian Peregrine Foundation :: UK. Public consultation launched to review the list of registered birds
Thursday Nov. 2nd, 2006

Environmental news:

Proposals to change the list of bird species that need to be registered with Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra ) was launched yesterday by public consultation. Section 7 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 requires that certain species of birds (those listed on Schedule 4) are registered with the Government if they are kept in captivity. Registration enables the monitoring of captive bird populations and their keepers, as well as supporting the conservation of our native wild birds as required under the Birds Directive (79/409/EEC). As part of their regular review of the legislative requirements of the 1981 Act, Defra commissioned the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) to produce a report recommending which species should be listed in the future.

The report makes a number of recommendations relating to additions to and removals from the Schedule, as well as suggesting a number of options aimed at reducing the regulatory burden on bird keepers.

Defra is seeking views on these recommendations from those with a specific interest in the proposals as well as from members of the general public. The consultation period began (1st November) and closes on 16 February 2007.

The main options under consideration include: Revise the Schedule as outlined in the JNCC's report; Revise the Schedule as outlined in the JNCC's report plus remove the requirement to register captive bred birds; Revise the Schedule as outlined in the JNCC's report plus remove the requirement to register hybrids and any species not naturally occurring in the wild within the European territory of the EU; Revise the Schedule as outlined in the JNCC's report plus remove the requirement to register birds already covered by CITES documentation; Remove all species from Schedule 4

Potential changes to the current list of registrable species include: The removal of the Gyr Falcon; The addition of a number of parrot species; The retention of the Peregrine Falcon; The addition of the Ruddy Duck

To view the consultation document please visit:

Editors note:

Notes to Editors

Section 7 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 requires that all birds listed on Schedule 4 which are held in captivity are formally registered with Defra. The registration system can be used by the enforcement authorities to check the legality of birds in captivity. This provides wild birds with an extra tier of protection as it acts as a deterrent against illegal taking. Schedule 4 currently contains 59 species, of which 38 are birds of prey. There are currently around 8,500 registered birds and 2,000 keepers.

The inclusion of some parrot species on Schedule 4 would be a major change. Certain parrot species have been included for consideration as they are becoming increasingly rare in the wild, are not widely bred in captivity, and are known to be subject to illegal taking. They may therefore benefit from the additional legal protection that a possession control provides.

All birds occurring in the wild are fully protected under section 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Some species are recommended for removal from Schedule 4 as they are widely bred in captivity, and there is little evidence that they are being taken from the wild (for example, the Gyr falcon). Others (for example the Cetti's warbler) are recommended for removal because their wild populations have reached a level where they do not require the additional protection that the registration system provides.

Many of the birds listed on Schedule 4 to the 1981 Act are also protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). CITES controls the import, export and commercial use of certain endangered species. Defra acts as UK Management Authority for CITES. At present keepers of listed birds often have to complete several pieces of paperwork for Defra: i) to register the bird under Schedule 4, ii) to comply with CITES controls. One of the proposals under consideration, namely that birds will not need to be registered if they have already been issued with CITES documentation, will reduce this administrative burden.

The wild population of the peregrine falcon has recovered substantially and is expanding in range. However, the species is being recommended for retention on Schedule 4 because there is evidence that it remains subject to illegal killing, nest robbery and destruction.

In order to protect the wild population of the white-headed duck, Defra took the decision to eradicate the wild population of the non-native ruddy duck from the UK. The ruddy duck is being proposed as a potential addition to the Schedule, as a measure to enable the close monitoring of specimens held in captivity, and to identify the source of any escapes.

Schedule 4 was last reviewed in 1994 when a number of species, including the buzzard, sparrow hawk and kestrel were removed from the list.

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