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Environmental Treaties and Resource Indicators (ENTRI) -- Full Text

Summary of the "International Convention for the Protection of Birds" is available from the UNEP Register of International Treaties and Other Agreements in the Field of the Environment.

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Paris, 18 October 1950

The Governments signatory to this Convention,

Realizing the danger of extermination which threatens 
certain species of birds and concerned about the numerical 
decrease in other species, particularly migratory species; 

Considering that, in the interests of science, the 
protection of nature and the economy of each nation, all 
birds should as a matter of principle be protected;

Have recognized the need to amend the International 
Convention for the Protection of Birds useful to 
Agriculture, signed in Paris on 19 March 1902, and have 
agreed on the following provisions:

Article 1

The purpose of this Convention is to protect birds in the 
wild state.

Article 2

With the exceptions specified in articles, 6 and 7 of this 
Convention, protection shall be given:

a) to all birds, at least during their breeding season, and 
to migrants, during their return flight to their nesting 
ground, particularly in March, April, May, June and July;

b) to species which are in danger of extinction or are of 
scientific interest. throughout the year.

Article 3

With the exceptions specified in articles 6 and 7 of this 
Convention, the import, export, transport, sale, offer for 
sale, giving or possession of any live or dead bird or any 
part of a bird killed or captured in contravention of the 
provisions of this Convention, during the season in which 
the species concerned is protected, shall be prohibited.

Article 4

With the exceptions specified in articles 6 and 7 of this 
Convention, the removal or destruction of nests under 
construction or in use and the taking or damaging, 
transport, import or export, sale, offer for sale, purchase 
or destruction of eggs or their shells or broods of young 
birds in the wild state, during the season in which a 
particular species is protected and particularly during its 
breeding season, shall be prohibited.

Nevertheless, these prohibitions shall not apply, on the 
one hand, to eggs lawfully collected and accompanied by a 
certificate establishing either that they are to be used 
for propagating or scientific purposes or that they come 
from captive birds and, on the other hand, to lapwing eggs, 
solely in the case of the Netherlands, where exceptional 
local conditions have already been recognized.

Article 5

  With the exceptions specified in articles 6 and 7 of this 
Convention, the High Contracting Parties undertake to 
prohibit the methods enumerated below as being of such a 
nature as to result in the mass killing or capture of birds 
or to cause them unneccessary suffering.

  However, in countries where such methods are at present 
permitted by law, the High Contracting Parties undertake 
gradually to introduce into their
legislation measures designed to prohibit or restrict their 

a) snares, bird-line, traps, hooks, nets, poisoned bait, 
stupefying agents, blinded decoy-birds, 

b) decoy-ponds with nets, 

c) mirrors, torches, and other artificial lights,

d) fishing nets or tackle for the capture of aquatic birds,

e) magazine or automatic sporting-guns holding more than 
two cartridges,

f) in general, all firearms, other than shoulder arms, 

g) the pursuit and shooting of birds from motorboats in 
inland waters and, from 1 March to 1 October, in 
territorial and off-shore waters,

h) the use of motor vehicles or air-borne machines to shoot 
or drive birds,

i) the offering of rewards for the capture or killing of 

j) the right of unrestricted shooting and netting shall be 
regulated throughout the year and suspended during the 
breeding season on the sea and along the banks and coasts,

k) all other methods designed for the mass capture or 
killing of birds.

Article 6

If, in a particular region, one species is found to be 
jeopardizing the future of certain agricultural or animal 
products by damaging fields, vineyards gardens, orchards, 
woods, game or fish or threatening to destroy or simply 
diminish one or more species whose conservation is 
desirable, the appropriate authorities may issue individual 
permits, lifting the prohibitions established in articles 2 
and 5 in the case of that species. It shall, however, be 
unlawful to purchase or sell birds killed in this manner or 
to transport them outside the region where they were 

If national laws contain other provisions designed to 
reduce the damage caused by certain species of birds in 
such a way as to assure the perpetuation of those species, 
such provisions may be maintained by the High Contracting 

In view of the special importance of economic conditions 
in Sweden, Norway, Finland and the Faroe Islands, the 
appropriate authorities in those countries may make 
exceptions and permit certain derogations from the 
provisions of this Convention. If Iceland should accede to 
this Convention, it shall be entitled to enjoy the benefit 
of such derogations upon request.

No measures shall be adopted in any country of such a 
nature as to cause the complete destruction of the 
indigenous or migratory species referred to in this 

Article 7

Exceptions to the provisions of this Convention may be 
permitted by the appropriate authorities in the interests 
of science and education, the propagation and breeding of 
game birds and falconry, depending on the circumstances and 
provided that all necessary precautions are taken to 
prevent abuses. The provisions concerning transport 
contained in articles 3 and 4 shall not apply to the United 

In each country, the prohibitions enumerated in article 3 
shall not apply to the plumage of species of birds which 
may be killed there.

Article 8

Each Contracting Party undertakes to prepare a list of 
birds which may lawfully be killed or captured in its own 
territory, subject to compliance with the conditions laid 
down in this Convention.

Article 9

Each Contracting Party shall have the right to draw up a 
list of species of indigenous and migratory birds which may 
be kept in captivity by individuals and shall establish the 
permissible methods of capture and the conditions in which 
birds may be transported or kept in captivity.

Each Contracting Party shall regulate trade in the birds 
protected by this Convention and take all necessary 
measures to limit the expansion of such trade.

Article 10

The High Contracting Parties undertake to consider and 
adopt measures to prevent the destruction of birds by 
hydrocarbons and other causes of water pollution, by 
lighthouses, electric cables, insecticides or poisons or by 
any other means. They shall endeavour to educate children 
and the public in order to convince them of the need to 
preserve and protect birds.

Article 11

In order to alleviate the consequences of the rapid 
disappearance of suitable breeding grounds for birds as a 
result of human intervention, the High Contracting Parties 
undertake to encourage and promote immediately, by every 
possible means, the creation of water or land reserves of 
suitable size and location where birds can nest and raise 
their bodies safely and where migratory birds can also rest 
and find their food undisturbed.

This Convention shall be ratified and the instruments of 
ratification shall be deposited with the Ministry of 
Foreign Affairs of the French Republic, which shall notify 
their receipt to all States that have signed and acceded to 
the Convention.

Any State not a signatory to this Convention may accede 
thereto. Accessions shall be notified to the Ministry of 
Foreign Affairs of the French
Republic, which shall inform all the States that have 
signed and acceded to the Convention accordingly.

This Convention shall enter into force on the ninetieth day 
following the date of deposit of the sixth instrument of 
ratification or accession. For each State ratifying or 
acceding to the Convention after that date, it shall enter 
into force on the ninetieth day following the date of 
deposit by that State of its instrument of ratification or 

This Convention shall supersede, between the countries 
which ratify or accede to it, the provisions of the 1902 
International Convention.

In Witness Whereof, the undersigned, duly authorized by 
their respective Governments, have signed this Convention.

Done at Paris, on 18 October 1950.