Please note that the information on this website regarding photographers' rights and UK law must not be regarded as authoritative. It is written in general terms with a view to increasing general everyday understanding. However it is neither intended to provide authoritative advice nor to be used as guidance in specific cases. Anyone seeking authoritative advice regarding such matters, or anyone involved in a particular legal case, must seek the advice of a suitably qualified solicitor.
In the UK many animals, birds and insects are protected by The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. This Act does not prohibit the taking of photographs of protected species, but does make it an offence to disturb the listed species when they are at their places of shelter or nests. (The photograph of the female sparrowhawk on the right was taken in a private garden.)
To photograph protected species in the locations covered by the Act it is necessary to apply for a license from the relevant authority ie English Nature, Scottish National Heritage or the Countryside Council for Wales.
Lists of protected animals, insects and birds may be found at: