Trends in the global trade of live CITES-listed raptors: Trade volumes, spatiotemporal dynamics and conservation implications

Connor Panter, Georgia Jones, Rachel White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The global legal wildlife trade is worth US$4–20 billion to the world's economy every year. Raptors frequently enter the wildlife trade for use as display animals, by falconers or hobbyists for sport and recreation. Using data from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora's (CITES) Trade Database, we examined trends in the global, legal commercial trade of CITES-listed raptors between 1975 and 2020. Overall 272 species were traded, totalling 188,149 traded individuals, which increased over time. Hybrid Falcons (N = 50,366) were most commonly traded, comprising more than a third of the global diurnal CITES-listed raptor trade, followed by Gyrfalcons (Falco rusticolus; N = 30,510), Saker Falcons (F. cherrug; N = 21,679), Peregrine Falcons (F. peregrinus; N = 13,390) and Northern White-faced Owls (Ptilopsis leucotis; N = 6725). More than half of wild-caught diurnal raptors were classified as globally threatened. The United Kingdom was the largest exporter of live raptors and the United Arab Emirates was the largest importer. Countries with higher GDPs (US$) imported more raptors than those with smaller GDPs. Larger-bodied diurnal species were traded more relative to smaller-bodied conspecifics. Following the introduction of the European Union's Wild Bird Trade Ban in 2005, the number of traded wild-caught raptors declined. Despite its limitations, the CITES Trade Database provides an important baseline of the global legal trade of live raptors. However, better understanding of illegal wildlife trade networks and smuggling routes, both on-the-ground and online, are essential for future conservation efforts.
Original languageEnglish
Article number110216
JournalBiological Conservation
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jul 2023


  • Birds of prey
  • Falconry
  • Global wildlife trade
  • Hybridisation
  • Owls
  • Pet trade


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