What types of parrots can you legally own in the US?

What types of parrots can you legally own in the US?

Start with the Endangered Species Act from 1973

Quaker parrots are illegal to own or sell in

  • California
  • Georgia
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Hawaii
  • New Jersey
  • Pennsylvania
  • Tennessee
  • Wyoming

If you live in Connecticut you can’t sell or breed a Quaker parrot but you can own one. If you live in New York and Virginia you have to register your bird with the state.

Endangered species map

Our lawmakers feel as though they are protecting our crops and other native species of birds.


I know that crows can be big problems for farmers who may hire birds of prey to help move these invasive birds down the road.


I know a lot of falconers but I’ve never heard one say “I just got a call from a farmer who wants to move a bunch of Quaker parrots to the next farm.”


If you’re traveling with your quaker parrot across the country and you pass through states that prohibit Quakers they will give you a pass as long as the bird “leaves the state” within 48 hours.


Some states have outlawed quakers (aka monk parakeets) out right and must be totally avoided.


When in doubt.


Find a state veterinarian office, call 1-800-545-USDA and press option “2, or visit the U.S.D.A. website and click on the appropriate state.


It’s important to check the ESA (Endangered Species Act) list that may totally outlaw your parrot including transportation through a particular state.


Blue Headed Macaw, Lears macaws, Spix macaws, and Blue Throated Macaws, are currently banned and we can expect in the near future for the list to include Hyacinth macaws, Buffons macaws, (a subspecies of Scarlet macaws, and Military Macaws.

Expect more species in the future.

Please visit the ESA for more info

Per Wikipedia: The ESA is administered by two federal agencies, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) (which includes the National Marine Fisheries Service, or NMFS).

NOAA handles marine species, and the FWS has responsibility over freshwater fish and all other species.

Species that occur in both habitats (e.g. sea turtles and Atlantic sturgeon) are jointly managed.


  1. Virginia– not safe
  2. Illinois – not safe
  3. New Hampshire –not safe
  4. Indiana –not safe
  5. Kentucky – not safe
  6. Oregon- not safe (take)
  7. Hawaii – not safe (take)
  8. Ohio –not safe
  9. Maryland- not safe
  10. New Jersey- not safe

NJ- The commissioner shall periodically review the State list of endangered species and may by regulation amend the list making such additions or deletions as are deemed appropriate.

  1. Oklahoma – not safe
  2. North Carolina-not safe
  3. Michigan- not safe
  4. Kansas- not safe
  5. South Carolina- not safe
  6. Massachusetts –not safe
  7. Delaware – not safe
  8. Pennsylvania – not safe
  9. New York – not safe
  10. New Mexico –not safe
  11. Connecticut (?) – not safe
  12. Louisiana – not safe
  13. Mississippi – not safe
  14. Missouri – not safe
  15. South Dakota –not safe
  16. Montana – not safe, any species on ESA may be proposed to be added
  17. Nebraska – not safe


  1. Texas – safe
  2. Utah –Safe
  3. Alaska – safe
  4. California – safe
  5. Arizona – safe
  6. Alabama –safe
  7. North Dakota- safe
  8. Wyoming- safe
  9. West Virginia- safe
  10. Florida- safe
  11. Washington- safe
  12. Tennessee –safe
  13. Georgia- safe and weird
  14. Rhode Island – safe
  15. Maine – safe
  16. Nevada –safe
  17. Arkansas – safe
  18. Colorado – safe
  19. Wisconsin – safe since the federal laws says it is okay to own pets, I assume that the below also allows state residence to own pets.
  20. c) Possession, sale or transportation within this state of any endangered species on the U.S. list of endangered and threatened foreign species shall not require a state permit under par. (a). (a) The department shall issue a permit, under such terms and conditions as it may prescribe by rule, authorizing the taking, exportation, transportation or possession of any wild animal or wild plant on the list of endangered and threatened species for zoological, educational or scientific purposes, for propagation of such wild animals and wild plants in captivity for preservation purposes, unless such exportation, possession, transportation or taking is prohibited by any federal law or regulation, or any other law of this state.
  21. Minnesota – fuzzy, no endangered or threatened species no clear definition, very subjective.
  22. Iowa – fuzzy – safe if listed after Dec. 30 1991
  23. Idaho – fuzzy, however appears to only include state endangered species.
  24. Vermont –fuzzy, and looks safe though some limitations are made

Here is something interesting I found in two state laws.

If Scarlet macaws go on the list, does this mean they can confiscate your Greenwing or hybrid and not apologize or provide restitution?

The commission may, by rule, treat any species as an endangered species or threatened species even though it is not listed pursuant to section 481B.3 if it finds that the species so closely resembles in appearance a species which is listed pursuant to section 481B.3 and that enforcement personnel would have substantial difficulty in attempting to differentiate between the listed and unlisted species, and the effect of this substantial difficulty is an additional threat to an endangered or threatened species, or finds that the treatment of an unlisted species will substantially facilitate the enforcement and further the intent of this chapter.


Map of endangered species laws


curated by mitch rezman
approved by catherine tobsing


Mitch Rezman

He's handled a 1000 birds of numerous species when they visited monthly birdie brunches in the old Portage Park (Chicago, IL) facility. The one with the parrot playground. Mitch has written and published more than 1100 articles on captive bird care. He's met with the majority of  CEO's and business owners for most brands in the pet bird space and does so on a regular basis. He also constantly interacts with avian veterinarians and influencers globally.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Quakers do NOT have to be registered in New York, I’m not sure where you got this info from but owning a bird store and being quite active when the NYS bird law was written, I know there is no Quaker registry.
    Also, Buffons macaws, regularly called Great Green macaws are not a subspecies of the scarlet macaw.

  2. Crows are NOT an invasive species. They are native. FYI your list is a bit short. It’s 27 states that have legislation that curbs ownership. Each state has its own legislation but they all basically say the bird has to become a breeder or it must be euthanized. Yes it has to do with listing (threatened or endangered) however this has absolutely nothing to do with our ESA, rather it is based on CITES. The United States has no jurisdiction where these parrots are native. I appreciate your efforts to inform people…. but please do a bit more research before misinforming people.

    1. And yes the Hyacinth Macaw is now listed

Leave a Reply

Close Menu