African grey and Timneh grey parrots – CITES Appendix 1


African and Timneh grey’s are now on Appendix 1 of CITES, so if you’re selling your pet you’ll need an Article 10 certificate. Find out what ownership evidence you can provide to DEFRA if you don’t already hold a certificate.

If you own an African or Timney grey parrot you may be aware that they were added to Appendix 1 (Annex A in Europe) of CITES on 4th February 2017.

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What are the grey parrot CITES changes?

CITES is an international agreement put together by countries across the world, to control the trade in endangered species, flora and fauna.

It is split into Appendices I, II, III (Annex A, B, C and D in Europe), with the most endangered species of animals and plants being on Appendix I (Annex A).

The changes mean that if you want to use your bird for commercial purposes, including breeding from a pair to sell the chicks, you’ll need the bird/s to be accompanied by an Article 10 Certificate.

According to DEFRA commercial use is defined as: “the purchase, offering to purchase, acquisition for commercial purposes, display to the public for commercial purposes, use for commercial gain and sale, keeping for sale, offering for sale and transporting for sale.”

What is an Article 10 Certificate?

There are two types of Article 10 certificates; Transaction Specific certificate and a Specimen Specific certificate.

The Transaction Specific certificate is valid for one sale and if you’re selling your bird, you should show it to the buyer. It proves that the bird was legally acquired.

A Specimen Specific certificate accompanies the parrot for the rest of its life. So you will need to pass the certificate to the person you are selling the bird to, who will keep it. If they choose to sell the pet on, the certificate will go with the bird.

The new CITES updates has caused some distress among existing parrot owners, due to the concern they may not be able to prove they legally acquired the bird prior to the regulation coming into force on 4th February 2017.

What bird ownership evidence can I provide for CITES?

According to DEFRA if you can provide documentary evidence that you acquired your pet prior to 4th February 2017, then you can be granted an Article 10 certificate. The list of evidence should be achievable for most pet owners, and isn’t as daunting as it seems.

Your bird will also need to be permanently and uniquely marked. This can be either with a closed ring – this can only be fitted as a chick. Or through micro chipping.

DEFRA recommends that can provide:

  • A DNA certificate or micro chipping certificate
  • Written confirmation from the vet with the date the bird was first registered with the practice by the applicant
  • Pet insurance documentation dating prior to 4th February 2017. ExoticDirect would be happy to supply you with this free of charge if you no longer hold it.
  • If adopted through a rescue organisation, a signed and dated copy of the paperwork
  • Signed declaration from the previous owner/seller declaring the bird’s origin and date of acquisition
  • If purchased privately, copies of email trails, receipts, invoice, log book/stock lists/breeders’ records

Taken from DEFRA, with thanks.

You don’t need to provide all of the above, but as much of it as possible can help with your application.

You can also provide other supporting evidence, that helps prove ownership prior to 4th February 2017, should you so wish.

You can download a CITES Article 10 application form here.

Pet bird owners not intending to sell and evidence

Even if you’re not intending on selling your bird in the future, it’s important you still collect evidence of when you acquired your bird.

This is because there may be a point in the future where you’re no longer able to care for your pet.

If you have the relevant evidence in place, it’ll mean that you’ll be able to find a suitable home more easily.

With the new regulation in place, it’s likely most pet buyers will want to see evidence that the bird was legally acquired, and may view a bird sale with no supporting evidence suspiciously.

So it’s best to be prepared.

I’m buying an African/Timneh grey, do I need a CITES certificate?

If you’re buying an African or Timneh grey parrot you won’t need to apply for a certificate. But you will need to see the pet seller’s certificate or be given the certificate.

If you already own a Grey, and don’t intend on selling it, you don’t need a certificate, and the regulation doesn’t affect you. However, if you ever want to sell your bird, you will need a certificate.

How much does a CITES certificate cost?

An Article 10 certificate costs £31 (as of October 2018). This is the fee for one certificate for one parrot.

How long does it take for a CITES certificate to come through?

You should expect to receive a response from DEFRA within 15 days of them receiving your application.

Do you need a CITES Article 10 certificate for a Blue and Gold Macaw?

No, you don’t need an Article 10 licence for Blue and Gold macaws as the species is currently listed on Annex B.

However it is advised that you keep documentation that proves the bird was acquired legally, for proof if ever challenged.

This will also be useful should you need to apply for an export or import licence if moving the bird out of the EU, as the evidence will prove lawful ownership.

Can you give an African/Timneh grey parrot away as a gift?

Yes, you can, as long as there’s no financial transaction involved.

Do you need an Article 10 to sell a pair of parrots?

If the parrots are listed on Appendix 1 (Annex A in Europe) then you will need a separate Article 10 licence for both birds.

Get a quote to insure your parrot for up to £5,000 of vet fees, death and theft.

Tamara Labelle
26 Oct 2018

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