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British Bird Council

A Brief Guide To Buying/Selling And Exhibiting Captive Bred British And European Birds, Their Mules And Hybrids



Basically, species are divided into 3 sections:


Schedule 3 listed species                                                                      

Schedule 4 listed species                                                                      

"Non Schedule" - which covers all species not listed in 3 or 4  


All birds listed in Schedule 3 (19 commonly bred species) are required to be closed ringed for Sale and Exhibition in accordance with regulations set out in SI1220 "Ringing of Certain Birds".

The ring must have been issued by a Government appointed body, presently the BBC or IOA. Captive bred birds not ringed in accordance with regulations can be gifted (obtain and retain proof of gifting) or they can be sold or exhibited if granted special individual licences on application for Licences A20 and A21 respectively.                                                                                                                                     

Purchasers are advised to satisfy themselves that the bird/s is/are correctly ringed with a closed ring of the correct size with no signs of tampering. No documentation is required but if in doubt of your expertise obtain a receipt which lists details of seller, species and ring ID etc.   


Schedule 4 listed species may only be sold/exhibited on registration and issue of a licence and must be ringed, tagged or microchipped in accordance with regulations. 


Captive bred Non-Schedule species may only be sold, exchanged or exhibited under General licence, presently GL18 and GL14 (England) respectively and their equivalents in Scotland and Wales.    

The seller, purchaser or exhibitor must conform to the conditions and regulations set out in the licence which briefly means they have to be captive bred and correctly closed ringed in accordance with licence regulations and must presently be accompanied with proof of breeding documentation (Scotland has removed the requirement for documentation). 


A number of species mainly certain birds of prey, Falcons, Hawks, Owls etc. and cities listed species require Article 10 certificates.  Some species - mainly certain waterfowl are not required to be closed ringed.   


Hybrids (which include mules) bred from Finches and Softbills are not required to be closed ringed as they are not listed species. 


The bird species and their ring sizes can be found on our ring chart (on reverse of order form). 

The order form/ring chart and link to licences can also be found on this website



British Bird Council @ 2019