Image description

British Bird Council

Advice On Records & Documentation


Please see the advice below concerning the use of documentation and records for your birds

It is advisable to keep and retain accurate breeding records.

When the breeding season is over, please complete and return to us your breeding report form, including details of birds that were not ringed for whatever reason, as this could safeguard you.

We would also welcome any information on breeding and ringing problems

Please see our Downloads Page for all latest documentation,

including a Breeding Record and Proof of Captive Breeding forms                Dowloads

Comment From Our Chairman

Dear Member


In the light of recent prosecutions the Council, at it’s AGM, agreed to take further positive action to assist breeders and offer further advice in connection with selling or exchanging of any birds.

We have always stressed the importance of records and although the Act does not specifically require records to be kept, it is implicit in the current legislation that there has to be some burden of proof on bird keepers that the birds, and their parents, were legally in captivity at the time of breeding, as has been shown in recent cases before the courts. A Breeding Records Form has been produced for all species to assist you; it can be altered to your own fashion and should be retained for future reference.

Any species not listed on schedule 3 when offered for sale, sold or purchased requires proof of breeding documentation. This need not be a complicated arrangement and we have produced a simple form which could be used to assist you.

This form could be altered to your own fashion.  Documentation is not a requirement for the sale of Schedule 3 species. 
However, purchasers are advised to satisfy themselves that the bird is captive bred and correctly closed ringed. 
If in doubt you are advised to obtain a dated receipt with details of seller and ring ID numbers.  Gifts do not require proof of breeding documents but you are advised to obtain a cover from the doner.


There is also guidance available from Natural England on a recently published draft document which members may not be aware of and we have copied the guidance below. This guidance is for use with non schedule 3 species.

We are still in discussions with DEFRA and it is very much work in progress on the whole issue of schedules, rings, licensing and other areas affecting possible changes to the act but as with many government department’s time does not seem to be of
the essence!

There is also a move under foot to have a judicial review of the 1981 Act which presently puts the burden of proof on the keeper of the bird to prove it is legal, rather than on the prosecution to prove that it is illegal. A group of likeminded individuals and organisations have been asked to support and contribute to this initiative and the Council delegates agreed to provide whatever support we could.

We hope you find the information contained in this letter positive and helpful and we would like to reassure members that we have, behind the scenes, been working hard on your behalf in discussions with all the regulatory bodies and will continue to do so and that we put the interests of all aviculturists first and foremost.

Yours sincerely

Chris Boyce


Guidance on documentary evidence of captive breeding from Natural England.


Persons intending to rely on the general licence must be able to demonstrate that birds are legally held and captive bred, and are advised to – only purchase birds from breeders who are able to satisfactorily demonstrate that they are complying with the
relevant regulations , to confirm in so far as they are able, the bird’s identification and age are correct, to check that the bird is correctly ringed and to always obtain signed and dated written documentary evidence of captive breeding from the breeder. Documentation should cite the bird’s species, ring number and any other identification mark, hatch date, along with similar
details for the parent birds and the breeders contact details.

British Bird Council @ 2019