spPlanned Parrothood


leg band sizes



Parrots have always been banded for the purpose of identification, age, origin and ownership. A lesser reason, especially with rare species, is to keep the gene pool pure. Most states now require that birds be banded preferably with closed aluminum or stainless steel bands. Smaller birds such as canaries, finches, parrotlets and budgies can be banded with plain or colored plastic bands. Open bands were used to band quarantined birds in the early 70's and 80's. They sometimes proved to be dangerous in that they could catch on things resulting in injury to the bird. Closed bands must be placed on a baby's leg any time from the age of 2 weeks to 3 weeks depending on the size of the bird. Beyond that time frame, it is no longer possible to get a closed band on without seriously hurting the bird.

Banding by most breeders is not publicized mainly because many wholesale to accounts they would lose if people knew how to directly contact the breeder.

CODING: Most bands have codes on them for ID and tracing birds back to their origin. IDs are also useful to breeders of multiple families of birds to keep their genetic and parental information straight.
  • Breeder Bands: Breeders have their own schemes for codes that may include their initials or aviary code, state abbreviation, year and series of numbers for each bird.
  • Society and Association Bands: Proprietary codes for each organization can only be traced through the issuing society. Some of the well known society codes are:
    ABS: American Budgerigar Society
    ACS: American Cockatiel Society
    AFA: American Federation of Aviculture
    ALS: African Lovebird Society
    AS:  American Singers (canaries) Club
    NCA: National Colorbred Assoc. (canaries)
    NCS: National Cockatiel Society
    NFS: National Finch & Softbill
    SPBE: Society of Parrot Breeders and Exhibitors
    USDA:United States Department of Agriculture
  • Quarantine Bands: The First Letter:
    C California through LAX
    O California through LAX
    F Florida through Miami International
    H Hawaii through Honolulu International
    I Illinois through Chicago O'Hare
    L Louisiana through New Orleans (now all closed)
    M Michigan through Detroit (2 left in operation)
    N New York through JFK (can no longer be sold in state)
    T Texas through Brownsville, 3 stations via Mexico City

    The Second Letter:
    This identifies the importer and his facility. Large importers have more than one facility and more than one code. For a current list of importers and their codes write: Import Export Section, USDA, APHIS Federal Building, Hyattsville, MD 20782.

    The Third Letter
    This is part of the bird's individual identification code which also contains three additional numbers. With this procedure, 26,000 combinations are possible before any station repeats a code.
    The United States Department of Agriculture also runs government quarantine stations. Many of these stations were closed some years ago, but the banded birds are still around.
    USDAN San Ysidro, CA
    USDANNY Newburgh, NY
    USDAA Los Angeles, CA
    USDH Honolulu, HI
    USDAB Brownsville, TX
    USDAX Mission, TX (confiscated birds auctioned from time to time)
    USDAM Miami, FL
    USDAL Laredo, TX
    USDAE El Paso, TX
    Occasionally for birds:
    HH Honolulu, HI USDA-F 58A, 58B, 58C, 58D, 58E and 58F Miami, FL
    USDAC a mystery code

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Updated 05/30/14