Wild birds: licence to sell captive bred live wild birds

Get a general licence to sell captive bred live wild birds (licence GL18).


Licence to sell captive bred live birds (GL18)

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This general licence lets you sell captive bred live wild birds.

Any bird sold under this licence must have been bred in captivity - its parents must have been in lawful captivity when the egg was laid. You need documents to prove this.

You don’t need to apply for this general licence but you must meet its conditions and follow its instructions.

Birds you can’t sell under this licence

You can’t sell any bird on annex A of Council Regulation (EC) No 338/97 unless you have an article 10 certificate.

You also can’t sell:

  • mute swans
  • ruddy ducks
  • Egyptian geese

Birds that don’t need a close ring to be sold under this licence

Most captive birds sold under this licence need to be close rung, but there are some exceptions.

You don’t need to ring:

  • pintails
  • American wigeons
  • shovelers
  • common teals
  • blue-winged teals
  • wigeons
  • mallards
  • garganeys
  • black ducks
  • gadwalls
  • white-fronted geese
  • greylag geese
  • pink-footed geese
  • snow geese
  • lesser white-fronted geese
  • bean geese
  • ring-necked ducks
  • pochards
  • tufted ducks
  • scaups
  • brent geese
  • goldeneyes
  • long-tailed ducks
  • Berwick’s swans
  • whooper swans
  • harlequin ducks
  • velvet scoters
  • common scoters
  • surf scoters
  • smews
  • hooded mergansers
  • goosanders
  • red-breasted mergansers
  • red-crested pochards
  • Steller’s eiders
  • eider ducks
  • king eiders
  • shelducks

Wild birds you don’t need a licence to sell

You don’t need a licence to sell captive bred birds fitted with a close ring from an authorised supplier if they’re:

  • blackbirds 
  • bramblings 
  • bullfinches 
  • buntings, reed 
  • chaffinches 
  • dunnocks 
  • goldfinches 
  • greenfinches
  • jackdaws 
  • jays 
  • linnets 
  • magpies 
  • barn owls
  • redpolls 
  • siskins 
  • starlings 
  • song thrushes 
  • twites 
  • yellowhammers
Published 1 January 2015
Last updated 12 March 2018 + show all updates
  1. Updated licence valid from 12 March 2018.
  2. Replaced licence with new version issued 1 January 2018
  3. Replaced licence with new version issued 1 January 2017
  4. Replaced licence with new version issued 1 January 2016
  5. First published.