Raptor persecution

Sadly the illegal killing of birds of prey - also known as raptor persecution - is a continuing problem in the UK.

What is bird crime?

Raptor persecution is the shooting, trapping and poisoning of birds of prey. All wild birds are protected by law, yet buzzards, red kites, peregrines and other iconic species continue to be killed, often in connection with land managed for gamebird shooting. For rare hen harriers, this is having a devastating effect on their entire UK population. In a nature and climate crisis, this cannot go on.

Read our latest report

The RSPB's 2020 Birdcrime report was released in October 2021 and reveals a shocking insight into these crimes, including where they occurred, why it is happening, and what needs to change in order to secure a better future for birds of prey. There were 137 confirmed incidents in 2020: the highest total since recording began in 1990.

Arthur the hen harrier

Our previous reports

Produced by the RSPB's Investigations Unit, Birdcrime is the only comprehensive guide to known offences against birds of prey in the UK. You can read previous years' reports here.

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An online interactive hub of all raptor persecution incident since 2007

Raptor persecution - mapped

Our interactive Map Hub is the most complete, centralised set of known raptor persecution incidents in the UK.


It shows where confirmed incidents have taken place, and reveals raptor persecution blackspots. Use filters to view by year, or narrow it down by persecution type – eg poisoning, shooting, trapping.

A close up of someone being arrested for wild bird crime

Report a crime

You play a vital role in helping end raptor persecution and bring those responsible to justice. Many investigations begin thanks to a phonecall or email from a diligent member of the public, like you, reporting a potential crime.

Stop the killing

The RSPB employs a dedicated Investigations team, who work day and night gathering evidence and assisting with police investigations. Your support is vital. If you as outraged as we are about raptor persecution, help us combat it by making a donation to the team.