Conserving the Nature of America
Press Release
List of Protected Migratory Bird Species Updated by Service

November 1, 2013


Division of Public Affairs
External Affairs
Telephone: 703-358-2220

Updates and revisions to the list of bird species protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) were announced today by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Species on the list are governed under migratory bird hunting and permitting regulations that affect the possession, transportation, sale, purchase, exportation and importation of protected species. 

“It is important for the Service to keep the list of migratory birds current because of our obligation to comply with our international treaties for the protection of migratory bird species, ” said Jerome Ford, Assistant Director for Migratory Birds. 

Reasons for changes to the List of Protected Migratory Birds Species include a need to add species based on new taxonomy and new evidence of occurrence in the United States or its territories, to remove species no longer known to occur within the United States, and to change species’ names to conform to revisions to bird taxa of North America, published by the American Ornithologists’ Union. This has resulted in a net addition of 19 species, bringing the total number of species on the list 1,026. Eighteen of these were previously – and will continue to be -- protected by the MBTA. The wrentit (Chamaea fasciata) is new to the list and will now receive protection because it has been classified as a member of a family protected under the MBTA. 

The Service is the primary federal agency responsible for managing migratory birds. Federal migratory bird regulations, including the list, implement the MBTA of 1918, which in turn implements treaties with Canada, Mexico, Japan and Russia. An accurate and up-to-date list of species protected by the MBTA is essential for public notification and regulatory purposes. All species included on the list are federally protected. Take, possession and other uses of bird species on the list are governed by federal regulations. The final rule can be found online at:

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