Bird keeper licences

Some native birds bred in captivity can be kept as pets as long as you have a licence.

White headed Pigeon (Columba leucomela)Native birds are protected by law so if you want to keep a native bird as a pet you’ll need a licence from the Office of Environment and Heritage (National Parks and Wildlife Service).

Forty-one native birds bred in captivity can be kept as pets without a licence.

Protecting native birds

Taking native birds from the wild or release unwanted birds, even those species that don’t require a licence to keep, is against the law (National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974).

Illegal killing and trapping has contributed to the decline of many native Australian bird species. Local extinctions can be caused by taking animals from the wild, or even your backyard. Dumped birds can spread disease and may starve or be killed by predators.

Licensing helps us:

  • protect our unique bird species and their ecosystems
  • keep animals safe
  • abide by NSW laws.

Get the right licence

Native birds that can be kept as pets are each classed as Companion, B1 and/or B2 for the purposes of licensing. A different type of licence is needed for each class of bird. The right licence for you will depend on how many birds you want to keep and which species of bird you want.

Type of licence needed

Companion Animal Keeper Licence

With this licence you can keep only one native bird as a pet that has been bred in captivity. If you want to buy and keep more than one native bird you will need to change to a Native Animal Keeper Licence. Birds covered by the Companion Bird Keeper Licence have basic keeping requirements and are readily available in captivity from a licensed pet shop or breeder.

Who can apply

  • people aged 16 years and over
  • parent or guardian of children under 16.

Which birds can be kept

Choose your bird

Buy your bird

Licence cost and duration

  • costs $50, less for pensioners
  • lasts 5 years before needing renewal.

Apply

  • online
  • by telephone with the NSW Government Licensing Service (Service NSW): 13 77 88.

Please allow enough time for your application to be assessed. You will be contacted if further information is needed to complete the assessment.

Record keeping

  • Keep a record of when you buy your bird (including supplier’s details, your details and date of purchase) to demonstrate that it has been legally obtained.
  • You do not have to submit records to the Office of Environment and Heritage for animals kept under a Companion Animal Keeper Licence.

Conditions

Renewals

Type of licence needed

Native Animal Keeper Licence, B1 Basic Bird

With this licence you can keep more than one bird that has been bred in captivity as a pet. You can add another class of animal if you want to also keep a frog or other kind of native animal as a pet.

Birds covered by the Native Animal Keeper Licence have basic keeping requirements and are readily available in captivity from a licensed pet shop or breeder.

Who can apply

  • people aged 16 years and over
  • parent or guardian of children under 16.

Which birds can be kept

Choose your bird

Buy your bird

Licence cost and duration

  • $63 per class for 2 years
  • discounts available for pensioners and online applications.

Apply

  • online
  • by telephone with the NSW Government Licensing Service (Service NSW): 13 77 88.

Please allow enough time for your application to be assessed. You will be contacted if further information is needed to complete the assessment.

Record keeping

  • keep an electronic record book or paper record about your animal/s
  • record when you buy your bird(s) (including the supplier’s details, your details and date of purchase), plus all births, deaths and disposals
  • lodge records with OEH in April each year.

Conditions

Renewals

To upgrade your licence to a more advanced licence you must:

  • be aged 18 years or over
  • have held a Companion or Basic Bird Class 1 (B1) licence for at least 2 years
  • birds kept under an advanced (B2) licence must be from the same group (species) as those you’ve kept under a Companion or Basic B1 licence. For example, to be granted a B2 licence for keeping finches, you must first have kept finches under a Companion or B1 licence.

Class B2 licence

Birds classed as B2 may be rare and are more difficult to keep than Companion or B1 class birds. These birds are not traded by pet shops and can only be obtained from specialist bird breeders.

See birds marked B2 in the NSW Native Animal Keepers’ Species List.

Licence upgrade cost and duration

  • $120 per class for 2 years
  • discounts available for pensioners
  • lodging your application does not guarantee approval of an advanced class licence, further information may be requested by Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH).

Apply

Please allow enough time for your application to be assessed. You will be contacted if further information is needed to complete the assessment.

Record keeping

  • keep an electronic record book or paper record about your animal/s
  • record when you buy your bird(s) (including the supplier’s details, your details and date of purchase), plus all births, deaths and disposals
  • lodge records with OEH in April each year.

Conditions

Renewals