The Birds Directive (formally known as Council Directive 2009/147/EC on the conservation of wild birds) is the oldest piece of EU legislation on the environment and one of its cornerstones which was unanimously adopted in April 1979 as the Directive 79/409/EEC. Amended in 2009, it became the Directive 2009/147/EC. It aims to protect all European wild birds and the habitats of listed species, in particular through the designation of Special Protection Areas (often known by the acronym SPA).
The Birds Directive is one of the EU's two directives in relation to wildlife and nature conservation, the other being the Habitats Directive. The Habitats Directive led to the setting up of a network of Special Areas of Conservation, which together with the existing Special Protection Areas form a network of protected sites across the European Union called Natura 2000. In the UK the Directive is implemented by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.