I need to travel internationally with cockatiels.

For travel it is often required to have some sort of identification attached to the animal, such as microchips or leg bands. For birds of this size the only option is leg bands.

Question: Where can I get traceable leg bands for adult parrots in the US?

There doesn't seem to be a standardized system for leg band (codes), nor any centralized database. I believe USDA only issues leg bands when birds are imported, but not for domestic birds (not 100% sure). The point is that the leg band I get should be traceable, i.e. whatever USA or foreign authority that looks at it should be able to retrieve information about the bird based on the code. What are my options?

ACS and NCS sells traceable bands for members (breeders), but my understanding is that these are closed bands only suitable for baby birds. Once the bird grows up, the band doesn't come off and it's not possible to put on a closed band, so this is not what I need. (I might have misunderstood something though.)

Update: Based on further research, this question boils down to:

  • Which reputable organizations in the USA offer open and traceable leg bands? I found one so far: AFA

  • It would be useful to know what requirements EU countries typically put on leg bands, if any. While this question is more vague, from experience the USA is notorious for not adopting international standards (e.g. for USA-obtained microchips one usually needs to get a compatible microchip reader when travelling abroad...)

  • Have you consulted with your vet to see if they can provide them or a reference?
    – Critters
    Commented Dec 1, 2014 at 21:03
  • @Critters Yes, I have, but they were unable to offer help with this. They said that bands usually come from the breeder. Very few people seem to have experience with moving birds internationally.
    – Szabolcs
    Commented Dec 1, 2014 at 21:04
  • I would contact US Customs office and the customs office at the location you will traveling too. I would make sure that you communicate to customs that you intend to reimport the bird back when you return. They may not care about leaving but bringing it back could be a problem. When you solve your problem I do hope you post an answer here helping others in the future, unless someone else provides one that help you before then.
    – Critters
    Commented Dec 1, 2014 at 22:11

1 Answer 1


You say in your edit that you're travelling to the EU. It may exist slight differences between countries but to my knowledge :

  • Cockatiels (Nymphicus hollandicus) belong to the Appendice III of the so called Washington Convention or CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species). This means that you have virtually no legal obligation to import them to Europe (no CITES import certificate), or at least no more than to import a cat or a dog. Official source here (for France): http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/the-ministry-of-foreign-affairs-158/protocol/privileges/article/at-customs . I think you don't even need to band birds of these two species.
  • As far as I know, open bands (as opposed to closed bands put at birth) have no legal value since captured wild birds could also be banded that way. At least, I know that birds with open bands are denied participation to contests.

I hope that helps, good luck!

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