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Requirements for Live Pet Birds Imported From Countries Other Than the United States

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October 6, 2011

For import purposes, the expression "pet bird" means a personally owned and cared-for bird, and applies only to species commonly known as "caged" birds, such as psittacines (birds in the parrot family), songbirds, toucans, canaries, finches, and cardinals. The expression does not apply to pigeons, doves, species of wild or domesticated fowl, or game birds.

Note 1: Due to highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), importing live pet birds from the following countries, in which that disease is considered endemic, is currently prohibited:

  • Afghanistan
  • Bangladesh
  • Bhutan
  • Cambodia
  • Chinese Taipei
  • Democratic People's Republic of Korea
  • Egypt
  • Hong Kong
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Laos
  • Macao
  • Malaysia
  • Mongolia
  • Myanmar
  • Nepal
  • Pakistan
  • People's Republic of China
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) will consider applications to import pet birds travelling with their owners from other countries. However, for countries in which HPAI is not considered endemic, but which are not considered by Canada as officially free of HPAI, additional import requirements must be met.

Note 2: The number of birds that may be imported as personal pets is always subject to the approval of the import specialist in the area of Canada where the importer resides. As a general guideline only, the number of psittacines that may be imported under the following conditions is limited to five, while the number of all other pet birds that may be imported under the following conditions is limited to 20.

Note 3: Regarding pet bird owners travelling to Mexico by land through the United States, because most of Mexico is not considered to be free of Newcastle disease, pet birds returning to Canada from Mexico travelling with their owners may not re-enter the United States by land. Alternative arrangements must be made prior to departure. For more details on re-entry into Canada, please contact your local CFIA office.

Import requirements that apply to pet birds originating from all permitted countries other than the United States

An import permit issued by the CFIA area office must accompany the birds.

Import permit application process

Consult applying to import live animals, semen, embryos, animal products and by-products, and keep the following in mind:

Before issuance can be considered, contact the appropriate import officer, request an application form, complete the form, and forward to the area office with an original signed declaration, stating the following:

  • The birds have been in your personal possession, in the country of origin, for the 90 days immediately prior to your applying for the import permit. (Proof of ownership must be provided.)
  • The birds have not been in contact with any other birds while in your possession.
  • Neither you nor members of your family have imported pet birds into Canada during the preceding 90 days.
  • You will personally accompany the birds from the country of origin to Canada.

Note: For the importation of a bird less than three days old, you must declare that you have been in possession of the mother and father for the 90 days preceding the birth of the imported bird and that both the bird's parents have the same health status. If you cannot meet these conditions, the importation of a bird that is less than three days old is prohibited.

Once in Canada, pet birds must be quarantined for a minimum of 45 days. During this time, a CFIA inspector will visit to verify that the birds are healthy and that there are no signs of disease.

Pre-approval of the quarantine is necessary (before the issuance of the import permit). Contact the CFIA Area Import Office in the province where you plan to reside to arrange for the inspection and approval of your proposed Canadian premises for the quarantine of the birds.

Upon receipt of both the above information and a report approving your premises for the quarantine of the birds, the office will be in a position to consider issuance of the import permit.

In summary, the essential conditions under which such birds are permitted to enter Canada are as follows:

  • The original import permit issued by the area office must accompany the birds to Canada.
  • The birds must be accompanied by the owner (the person to whom they personally belong) for entry into Canada.
  • The birds must be quarantined upon arrival in Canada.
  • During the quarantine period, a minimum of 45 days, it is recommended that owners treat their birds for psittacosis (ornithosis).
  • During the quarantine period, reasonable access to the birds must be provided to allow for observation, sample collection (if necessary), or any other evaluation as required. Owners must be available to provide access when necessary, and adequate contact information must be provided to facilitate arrangements for such visits.
  • The birds will not be released from quarantine until they are deemed, to the satisfaction of the CFIA, to be healthy and thus not posing a potential health risk to Canadian birds.

Additional import requirements for pet birds originating from countries not officially recognized by Canada as free of highly pathogenic avian influenza

In addition to the import permit requirements described above, the CFIA requires that an international veterinary export certificate from the central veterinary authority in the country of origin accompany the birds to Canada.

The following statements must appear on the certificate:

  • Within the preceding six months, no cases of notifiable avian influenza (NAI) have been reported in the country of origin.
  • The birds were inspected within 72 hours of shipment, and they have shown no clinical sign of infection with a virus that would be considered NAI in poultry, no clinical signs suggestive of infection by Newcastle disease virus (NDV), and no clinical signs of any other communicable disease of avian species.
  • The birds were kept in isolation that was approved by the central veterinary authority in the country of origin since they were hatched or for at least the 21 days prior to shipment and showed no clinical sign of infection with NDV or with a virus that would be considered NAI in poultry during the isolation period.
  • The birds were subjected to a diagnostic test within 14 days prior to shipment to demonstrate freedom from infection with a virus that would be considered NAI in poultry. (Identify the agent, using polymerase chain reaction [PCR] or virus isolation, as outlined in the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH; founded as Office International des Épizooties (OIE)) Terrestrial Manual; cloacal swabs are adequate.) The testing should be performed at a national veterinary services laboratory in the country of origin, and a copy of the test results must accompany the shipment.
  • The birds have not been vaccinated against NAI or NDV.
  • After due inquiry and discussion with the owner, the certifying veterinarian is satisfied that the birds to be exported will not have contact with other birds (other than those intended for export to Canada) for the duration of the pre-embarkation isolation, nor will the owner have contact with other birds.
  • The owner has been instructed that the birds are to be transported in new or appropriately sanitized containers.

Additional quarantine requirements following arrival in Canada

  • In addition to the quarantine requirements described above, post-import testing for NAI, using PCR on samples collected by cloacal swabs (or fresh feces where appropriate), must be performed 21 days after entering the approved quarantine location. The testing must be performed by a CFIA veterinarian.
  • The birds will not be released from quarantine until they test negative for NAI to the satisfaction of the CFIA.

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species

It is the importer's responsibility to determine whether the species for importation is subject to the controls imposed by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, which are administered by the Canadian Wildlife Service. Please contact the Canadian Wildlife Service for information.