A Quantitative Global Review of Trade in Wild Birds

A Quantitative Global Review of Trade in Wild Birds

Trade in wild birds is rapidly growing in some countries, affecting many groups of birds across various sectors or uses. However, trends and impacts of bird trade in many parts of the world remain unknown. This project therefore aims to undertake, publish and promote the conclusions of a global wild bird trade overview, whether international or domestic, legal or illegal, applying the results to guide conservation policy and practice at multiple levels.


Project Aims

  • To determine which bird species are most frequently traded, and which are consequently threatened.
  • To define and clarify the different sectors of bird trade and to assess which countries are key players.
  • To assess whether species threatened by trade are represented in relevant legislation, including IUCN Red List documentation.
  • To identify examples of sustainable trade and assess their contributions to livelihoods.
  • To assess the effectiveness of actions that have been implemented to mitigate the potential negative impacts of trade and to identify knowledge gaps.
  • To identify sectors of the bird trade that might be problematic regarding disease transmission.

Key Activities

The review will be carried out and its results applied through:

  • Expert consultation, including individuals and organisations outside the project partnership and CCI;
  • Data collection, collation and analysis including existing databases and datasets managed by project partners, such as the IUCN Red List/SIS [with the bird component managed by BirdLife], CITES trade database managed by UNEP-WCMC, WiTIS (TRAFFIC), and other trade and seizure databases;
  • Quantitative assessments of these;
  • National case studies, chosen based on preliminary results;
  • Review of mitigation measures;
  • And publications, briefings and events to promote the conclusions and outputs.

Conservation Impact

  • Improved understanding of the impacts of trade, both positive and negative, and how to effectively mitigate the negative impacts.
  • Better synchronicity of conservation policy and practice to issues regarding trade and an improved evidence base for conservationists.
  • More evidence-based public messaging on trade issues.
  • Identification of species threatened by international trade that may benefit from national or international legislation.
  • More accurate assessments of threats to species and application of Red List criteria.
  • Better focusing of conservation interventions on key trade sectors, species and countries.
  • More informed debate on the relationship between trade and pandemic disease.



  • A quantitative paper presenting the results of the review.
  • A paper on the policy and conservation implications of the work.
  • Non-technical summaries of the above for use in media and communications work.
  • End-of-project workshops to disseminate the results of the work.
  • An open-access repository of information on numbers of traded wild birds and other characteristics of trade where data are available.
  • Enhanced content of existing, relevant databases.
  • Presentation of the findings and recommendations at appropriate MEA meetings.
  • Contributions to discussions on the role of wildlife trade in zoonotic disease, the risk to human health, and the spread of non-native species.


For further information about this project please email eresha.fernando@birdlife.org

Project Overview

Type: Funded Projects
Theme: Linking people, livelihoods and biodiversity, Policy and governance
Project code: CCI-05-20-010
Start date: October 1, 2020
Status: Complete

Project team

CCI partners Involved