Is it legal to own a bird of prey in the UK?

Is it legal to own a bird of prey in the UK?

As part of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, if your bird is listed under section 7, schedule 4 your bird of prey will need to register. As of 2009, this Act has been reduced to cover only 9 species of bird. As well as being registered these birds must also be closed ringed or microchipped.

Birds of Prey that need to be registered:

  • Golden Eagle
  • Osprey
  • White-Tailed Eagle
  • Goshawk
  • Marsh Harrier
  • Honey Buzzard
  • Peregrine Falcon
  • Merlin
  • Montagu’s Harrier

Peregrines and Falcons will not need to be registered if you hold an Article 10 certificate for the bird, and it’s ringed or microchipped.

Buying a bird of prey

If you’re planning on buying a bird of prey, and the bird is on Schedule 4, the bird will need to be accompanied by an Article 10 certificate.

The person selling you the bird of prey should also hold a blue registration document. You’ll both need to complete various parts of it. Once complete the bottom half of the document will need to be sent by the seller to the CIT – Bristol (Centre for International Trade) and you’ll need to complete the back of the document and send it off to the CIT – Bristol.

What is an Article 10 certificate for a bird of prey?

If you’re planning on using your Schedule 4 listed bird of prey for commercial purposes, then you will need to apply for an Article 10 certificate. This is because some birds of prey are defined as endangered by CITES, meaning that all commercial movement and activity is regulated in order to protect the birds.

According to DEFRA commercial purposes includes: “the selling of, the purchase, offering to purchase, acquisition for commercial purposes, display to the public for commercial purposes, use for commercial gain and sale, keeping for sale, offering for sale and transporting for sale”. It will also need to be wearing a closed ring or be microchipped.

How to apply for a falconry licence in the UK

To use your bird of prey for falconry, you’ll need to apply for a falconry licence from Natural England.

This is free, and you will be responded to within 30 days with a decision.

The health of your bird of prey

Any captive bird of prey should be checked daily for signs of injury. You will quickly get to know your bird and recognise even the slightest deviation from the norm that may indicate illness. These are delicate creatures and any potential problem should be attended to rapidly. In order to keep potential illnesses at bay, the bird’s accommodation should be cleaned daily and any left-over food removed to prevent decay.

Be sure to take a look at our policy cover on birds of prey as vet bills can easily go into the thousands with these exotic animals.

Housing your bird of prey

Before your bird arrives, you must have their housing correctly set up. A minimum of double the wingspan of the species, the bigger the better to provide optimum comfort and minimal stress levels. Housing should be safe from predators such as cats, dogs and other animals.

The housing will be used for any time that the bird isn’t flying, during moulting season, sleeping, feeding, resting etc. This means it needs to be sheltered from the weather; rain and exposure to direct sunlight without shade in particular. It should be dry, draught-free, robust and free from contaminants such as fungus. It should be easy to clean and maintain with the daily removal of droppings and discarded food.

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