Getting an animal keeper's licence to keep birds

Find out more about the type of native birds you can keep in NSW and the licence you require.

What sort of licence do you need?

You do not need a licence to keep certain species of bird, but if you wish to keep other bird species you must get a licence from the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) before obtaining any bird. These licensing systems allow OEH to monitor which species are being kept, bred and traded amongst enthusiasts.

People who hold a licence can obtain protected birds from other people who are licensed, or through licensed fauna dealers (pet shops). There are three classes of bird keeper licences:

Class 1 licence

A Class 1 licence authorises you to keep most of the common species that are easy to look after and can be traded by licensed pet shops. A person with just a basic knowledge of the needs of birds should have no difficulty maintaining these species.

Some of the birds that can be kept under a Class 1 licence are:

  • crimson rosella
  • turquoise parrot
  • double-barred red-browed finch
  • Major Mitchell's cockatoo.

An applicant must be over 16 years of age to apply for a Native Animal Keepers’ Licence. If you are under 16 years of age and interested in keeping native animals as pets, the licence application must be in the name of your legal parent or guardian.

Companion bird keeper's licence

If you want to keep just one bird as a pet, you may be able to apply for a companion bird keeper's licence. The bird must be one of the species covered by a Class 1 licence (see above).

Class 2 licence

You will need a Class 2 licence if you want to keep species that are difficult to keep and are not traded by pet shops. These species can only be obtained from specialist bird breeders. A large commitment of time and experience in keeping birds is required to successfully maintain these species.

The species that can be kept under Class 2 licences include:

  • wrens
  • silvereyes
  • honeyeaters
  • ducks.

The holder of a Class 2 licence can also keep Class 1 species. A Class 2 licence is available only to people over the age of 18 years with at least 2 years' proven experience of keeping birds in aviaries.


Apply for a native animal keeper licence.

See the NSW Native Animal Keepers' Species List (PDF 956KB) to find out which native birds you can keep as a pet.

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Page last updated: 20 May 2016