Common buzzard, Buteo buteo. ©David Whitaker. For information on reproduction rights contact the Scottish Natural Heritage Image Library on Tel. 01738 444177 or

Birds: licences to control predatory species

Licences can be issued to permit the control of one species of wild bird to conserve another wild bird species.

General Licence 01/2020 permits the control of certain common species to conserve wild birds in specific circumstances.

Scottish Natural Heritage can also issue individual, specific licences to control other species – including predatory protected species.

We must be satisfied that:

  • a cause and effect link exists between predation and significant declines in the population or distribution of the prey species
  • there’s no satisfactory alternative to lethal control

View information notes on common predators:

How to apply

Fill in the application form and email it to [email protected].

Download the Licence application form – to control predatory protected species for conserving wild birds

Read the Guidance for applicants – on licence applications for the control of predatory birds to conserve wild birds

Licence changes and renewals

You should get in touch if you wish to amend a licence. But check your licence conditions first: you may be able to appoint agents and assistants without having to get them named on your licence.

Find out about adding persons to a licence.

You must also remember to contact us to renew your licence. Licences aren’t renewed automatically.


If you already have a licence number, include it in the subject line of your email, or have it to hand when you call.

Licensing Team
Telephone: 01463 725 364
Email: [email protected]

Find out more

Data Protection notice