Avian influenza (bird flu): how to spot and report the disease

Advice on what to do if you suspect there is an outbreak of avian influenza.

This document is part of a collection

Wild bird surveillance

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) carries out year-round avian influenza surveillance of dead wild birds submitted via public reports and warden patrols.

The purpose of the surveillance and testing of wild birds is to capture information on the location and strains of avian influenza that might be prevalent in Great Britain. This data then helps government to build up a picture of the current risks, and shapes the response to this risk

Find out about recent wild bird findings.

If you find a single dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks), a single dead bird of prey, or five or more dead wild birds of any other species (including gulls) at the same place at the same time, you should report them to Defra’s GB telephone helpline: 03459 33 55 77 . It is advisable that you do not touch these birds.

Risk level

The risk of incursion of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5 infection in wild birds remains VERY HIGH (occurs often).

The risk of poultry and captive bird exposure to HPAI H5 across Great Britain remains at MEDIUM (with medium uncertainty) where biosecurity is sub-optimal, and HIGH (with medium uncertainty) where stringent biosecurity measures are applied.

Further details on the evidence which supported these decisions can be found in our risk assessments.

Effective biosecurity remains an essential part of standard animal husbandry, and is the most effective measure of disease control. Low risk of disease does not mean no risk. Bird keepers are strongly advised to apply high standards of biosecurity measures at all times to prevent and mitigate future disease outbreaks.

Game birds

We have joined with organisations involved in gamebird management to issue revised guidance on bird flu and the way it can affect the activities of gamebird rearers.


Email: (however, only report any dead wild bird findings via 03459 33 55 77)

Animal Health and Welfare 
Scottish Government
Agriculture and Rural Economy Directorate
Saughton House

Back to top