What Birds are Legal to Own in California?

California has strict laws on the ownership of exotic animals, including birds. Some birds are illegal to own in California, while others require a permit.

If you are considering getting a bird as a pet, it is important to research the laws in your state to make sure that you are allowed to own the species you are interested in.

In this blog post, we will discuss the birds that are legal to own in California. We will also provide information on the permits that are required for some species. So if you are thinking about getting a bird as a pet in California, read on!

We’ll cover everything from which species of birds are legal to own in California to the requirements for housing and care.

So whether you’re a first-time bird owner or you’re just looking for a refresher, read on for all the information you need to know about bird ownership in California.

Bird Ownership Laws in California

  • Overview of the laws: The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) regulates the ownership of exotic pets in California. The CDFW has a list of animals that are considered to be “wildlife” and are therefore illegal to own without a permit. Birds that are considered to be wildlife include:
    • All parrots, except for hill mynahs and Rothschild’s mynahs
    • All corvids (crows, magpies, ravens, etc.)
    • All birds of prey (falcons, hawks, eagles, etc.)
    • All vultures
    • Mynah birds, except for hill mynahs and Rothschild’s mynahs

California Native Bird Species

California is home to many native bird species, like the impressive California Condor and the lively Anna’s Hummingbird.

These birds are protected by laws like the California Endangered Species Act and the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Remember, it’s against the law to capture, harm, or keep these native birds without the right permits.

Legal Birds

  • List of legal birds: The following birds are legal to own in California without a permit:
    • Canaries
    • Finches
    • Lovebirds
    • Budgies
    • Cockatiels
    • Quaker parrots (illegal in California)
    • African gray parrots
    • Macaws
    • Eclectus parrots
    • Amazon parrots
    • Ringneck parrots
    • Pionus parrots
    • Toucans
    • Pigeons
    • Doves
    • Owls (with a permit)
    • Hawks (with a permit)
    • Eagles (with a permit)
    • Vultures (with a permit)
  • Specific requirements for owning each bird species: The specific requirements for owning each bird species vary depending on the species. However, some general requirements include:
    • Adequate housing
    • A balanced diet
    • Regular veterinary care
    • Socialization

Illegal Birds

  • List of illegal birds: The following birds are illegal to own in California:
    • Quaker parrots
    • Crows
    • Magpies
    • Vultures
    • Mynah birds, except for hill mynahs and Rothschild’s mynahs

Reasons why these birds are illegal to own:

These birds are illegal to own in California because they pose risks to public health and safety. Quaker parrots are invasive and harm crops, while crows and magpies are aggressive and can carry diseases.

Vultures are scavengers that can spread disease, and mynah birds are loud and can cause nuisances for neighbors.


In conclusion, having a pet bird can be a rewarding experience, but it’s crucial to comply with California’s bird ownership laws and regulations. By understanding the legal aspects of bird ownership, taking responsible care of your feathered companion, and supporting conservation efforts, you can create a positive and harmonious bond between bird owners and the environment. This not only benefits you and your bird but also helps protect California’s native bird species and the ecosystem they inhabit. Let’s cherish these beautiful creatures while respecting and preserving their natural habitats.

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