Is It Legal to Have a Pet Parrot?

Is It Legal to Have a Pet Parrot?

Are you considering the possibility of owning a pet parrot but unsure if it’s legal to do so?

Maybe you just found a pet parrot you love so much and would love to keep but you are scared or worried that it just might be against the law to do.

So, is it really legal to keep a parrot as a pet?

Generally, it is legal to have a pet parrot in most countries of the world, especially the common species. However, other countries consider it illegal to own or keep certain species of parrots as pets.

To best find out what the law in your area is, contact your local animal control agency.

Is It Legal to Have a Pet Parrot?

To answer this question…yes, it is generally legal to have a pet parrot. However, certain regions, countries, and even states of the world have placed a ban or degree of restrictions on the ownership of certain species of parrots.

This means that there is no universal law prohibiting you from having a pet parrot, but whether it is illegal or not would depend on the country or state you live in.

For instance, the rules regulating pet ownership in the UK or USA are different from the applicable laws in India or Canada.

This, therefore, means that to better understand this topic, you need to understand the law that applies to your specific region, country, or state.

It is almost impossible to cover all the countries of the world and their legal position in this article.

However, I’ll do my best to cover the regions where parrot ownership and legality have been an issue.

Some of these regions include the U.S, the UK, Canada, and India.

Are Parrots Legal in the U.S?

Parrots are legal in the U.S and they are owned by many pet owners. However, there are restrictions from one state to another as certain species are considered illegal or banned.

The Quaker parrot, for example, is illegal in California and many other states.

Quakers are banned in many states because they are considered dangerous due to their aggressive nature and are known to bite humans.

Parrots are legal in all 50 states and each state has different laws regarding exotic pets’ ownership.

While some states require permits, others do not.

Some states allow only one pet per household, while others allow multiple pets.

Many states have no restrictions on owning common parrots.

So, to best find out what the law in your area is, contact your local animal control agency.

Generally, the United States has strict laws regulating pet ownership.

Lots of exotic animals have been made illegal to own in the United States probably in a bid to stop illegal trading.

Others animals were prohibited to prevent them from becoming pests to the local environment.

Luckily, even though parrots also fit the definition of “exotic” animals, most varieties are still legal to own.

With regards to wild parrots in America, in some states, you are not allowed to keep native species of wild parrots and those species which are on the list of endangered parrots.

However, other states like Colorado, Maine Kansas, New York, New Jersey, Vermont, Hampshire, Virginia, and Ohio, allow you to keep parakeets and other parrots like Quaker parrots as pets.

Is It Legal to Keep Pet Parrot in the UK?

It is legal to keep a pet parrot in the UK as you can buy common species such as the budgies and cockatiel without a license or paperwork. However, while some of the more common parrots are easy to buy in pet stores unrestricted, some parrot species require certification as proof of ownership.

Several parrot species such as the African grey are on Appendix 1 of the CITES list. So you will need an Article 10 Certificate for Commercial Use to own these parrots.

You can get this certificate through the government. 

You might be risking an avoidable fine or jail term if you fail to apply for the relevant license or paperwork before going for any of the parrots on the CITES list.

This makes it important for you to check whether your parrot is on the CITES list before buying him or keeping him as a pet.

Some of the parrots you might need a license for in the UK include Macaws, Amazon Parrots, African Grey Parrots, Cockatoos, Red-and-Blue Lory, and Conures (Golden, Blue-throated).

The UK government specifically forbids its citizens to own a wild bird, its eggs, or its nest unless it can be proven that it was taken or killed legally. This includes some rarer species of parrots.

According to the UK guidance on keeping wild birds or animals, “taken legally” means the parrot was:

  • Taken under license
  • taken from the wild and kept as it’s unfit to be released
  • Killed or found dead accidentally

As it generally relates to wild animals, the UK government states that citizens are allowed to own one without a license if it’s:

  • Been bred in captivity
  • Taken from the wild before June 10, 1994
  • Taken from the wild outside of a European Union country or the UK
  • An exempted species that appear on the EC Habitats Directive
  • A European protect species legally taken before October 31, 1981

This means that as long as UK citizens buy a parrot from a reputable source that obtained or bred the bird using legal means, you can legally own the parrot without a certificate, license, or paperwork.

Is It Legal to Have a Pet Parrot in Canada?

Yes, it is legal to own a pet parrot in Canada as they are a favorite pet in the great white north. This is however subject to certain rules and regulations.

Most bird species in Canada are protected under Canada’s Migratory Birds Convention Act (MBCA).

This law prohibits the intentional or unintentional harming, disturbance, or killing of migratory birds, as well as their nests and eggs.

There are other laws present in other jurisdictions within Canada, but none seems to have a strong resistance to anyone looking to keep parrots as pets.

In some countries, parrots are only legal for certain people.

Thankfully, this is not the case in Canada where people often adopt parrots.

It is important to keep in mind that raising a parrot in Canada involves many considerations.

Firstly, you have to make sure they have a cage and a space large enough for them to live in.

To live comfortably, parrots need quite a bit of space, regardless of their size. So, make sure they are living comfortably in that regard if you can.

Secondly, parrots go through toys quite frequently, so you’ll need to buy new ones every month or so.

Finally, even though it is legal to own parrots in Canada, you should also be mindful of what it means to own a parrot in a colder climate like Canada.

There are many different types of parrots available in Canada, including cockatoos, macaws, lovebirds, conures, and African grey parrots.

Since most countries of the world are taking extra care to protect exotic and endangered species, you may want to check with your local municipality to find out if you can legally keep a certain species of parrot in Canada.

Is It Legal to Keep Pet Parrot in India?

It is illegal to keep a pet parrot in India particularly any species that are native to India as local birds cannot be kept as pets. However, it is legal to own an exotic or foreign parrot from another country.

Any local parrot from the country is illegal for someone to cage and keep as a pet.

Those who care for such birds must either hand them over to the forest department or release them in forests, lakes, and parks.

This has been the law since 2003 after the government enacted the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.

The Act which was last amended in 2006 provides for the protection of the country’s plant species, wild animals, and birds, to ensure ecological and environmental security.

The Act lays down, among other things restrictions on hunting many animal species.

This law was simply a way to stop the exploitation of animals in the country.

This however doesn’t stop people from being parrot owners.

As touched upon earlier, any species that’s native to India is technically illegal to cage and keep as a pet.

Local parrots such as the Indian hanging parrot and the rose-ringed parakeet are just a few of the dozens of parakeet species native to India.

Since this law has been in effect since the 1970s, it doesn’t appear that it’ll change any time soon.

However, since so many people are interested in adopting a parrot of their own in the country, it’s entirely legal to adopt exotic or foreign parrots like budgies or cockatoos.

Since this law has been in effect since the 1970s, it doesn’t appear that it’ll change any time soon.

However, since so many people are interested in adopting a parrot of their own in the country, it’s entirely legal and best to adopt an exotic or foreign parrot.

Is It Cruel to Keep a Parrot?

Yes, it is cruel and potentially dangerous to keep a parrot a pet. This is because parrots (including captive parrots) are inherently wild animals that possess the same wild traits as their wild cousins living in the jungles and rainforests.

These traits can include loud vocalizations, powerful bites, and aggressive displays (as a result of the stress in captivity). 

In people’s homes and even outside aviaries, parrots tend to exhibit wild traits that don’t blend in well.

One of the most frustrating, destructive, messy, and noisy companions a person can have is a parrot, especially the larger parrots.

Consequently, the birds are more likely to be abused and neglected, and eventually re-homed, possibly with even worse guardians.

Despite this, pet stores rarely inform their customers of these facts before selling them, and parrots’ popularity as pets is threatening their survival in the wild.

To live happily, parrots need freedom.

In the wild, parrots communicate with other parrots using their loud vocalizations.

There are species of large parrots that scream so loud that you can hear them miles away.

With their shrill screams that are often repetitive and annoying, small parrots can be heard from equal distances.

Some people have complained that even the smallest parrots, such as the little budgerigar (also called a budgie or parakeet), are too loud and nerve-racking.

I know, it can be appealing to have a bird to keep you company, but buying one to keep as a pet, especially with the intention of caging all day long can be quite cruel and unfair indeed.


Although owning exotic or endangered pet parrots like the Macaws or African Grey can be a stress in most parts of the world, you generally shouldn’t have any legal issues keeping the more common species such as the parakeets and cockatoos.

So, if your region has got some really strict laws in place, it would be best to play safe by only going for the more common parrot species.

However, if you have a specific exotic or endangered pet parrot in mind, consult your local animal control agency before making any purchase or keeping that bird.  

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