Credit: Paul Balfe/ Creative Commons

The WBCA was enacted on October 23, 1992, to ensure that exotic bird species are not harmed by international trade and encourages wild bird conservation programs in countries of origin. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (Service) may issue permits to allow import of listed birds for scientific research, zoological breeding or display, or personal pet purposes when the applicant meets certain criteria.

The Service may approve cooperative breeding programs of WBCA-protected birds, and subsequent import permits under such breeding programs. The WBCA also encourages wild bird conservation programs in countries of origin. For example, wild-caught birds may be imported into the United States if they were produced in accordance with Service-approved management plans for sustainable use of the species.

Species Listed under WBCA 

Most bird species listed under the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) are listed under WBCA, with the following exemptions:

  • Birds native to the 50 States and the District of Columbia
  • Two parrot species: budgie (Melopsittacus undulatus) and cockatiel (Nymphicus hollandicus)
  • Birds in the following families:
    • Anatidae (ducks, swans, and geese)
    • Cracidae (guans and currasows)
    • Dromaiinae (emus)
    • Gruidae (cranes)
    • Megapodidae (megapodes)
    • Numididae (guineafowl)
    • Phasianidae (pheasants and quails)
    • Rheidae (rheas)
    • Struthionidae (ostriches)
  • In addition, permits are not required for approved captive-bred birds.

Some birds listed under the WBCA are also protected under other conservation laws and treaties. To search for certain species, use the species lists listed below:

Permit Application Forms
To find the necessary application forms, visit the Application Forms page.
If you plan on traveling with your pet bird, please visit our Travel & Trade section on Traveling With Your Pet Bird.

Federal Register Notices
The Service publishes notices of receipt of applications to approve cooperative breeding programs. We do not publish such notices for the receipt of applications for import permits under approved cooperative breeding programs. To find a notice, search by applicant name.

The Service also announces availability of other WBCA documents in the Federal Register Notices page.