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Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture
USDA FAQ's and resources about coronavirus (COVID-19).  LEARN MORE

Zoological Birds

owl, penguin, and grey crowned cranes

The USDA defines zoological birds as birds intended to be imported to a zoological facility for breeding, public display, recreational or educational purposes. This definition includes USDA defined- poultry species that are imported for these same purposes to a zoological park.

A zoological park is defined as a professionally operated zoo, park, garden or other place maintained under the constant surveillance of a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, for the exhibition of live animals, pigeons, or birds, for the purposes of public recreation or education.

  • Zoological birds must be permanently identified (CFR 93.104a4) and are subject to quarantine on U.S. arrival. 
     
  • Additional restrictions may be specified on the permit for any zoo avians originating from countries affected with avian influenza (AI) Newcastle disease (ND). A country’s disease status for AI and ND is found on the USDA website, Animal Health Status Regions. These types of imports require more processing time for permits and for inspection logistics. The importer should notify the National Import and Export Services unit before import.

  • Zoological birds must be accompanied by a USDA import permit (application to obtain a permit is form: VS Form 17-129). Processing time for the application is approximately 7 – 10 business days. Applications should be received no less than this time prior to shipment of birds. There is a processing fee which can be paid by check, money order, charge card or by providing a USDA user fee account. For an additional fee, the permit can be amended after issuance by request.
    • Please sign up for an e-authentication account if you are based in the United States or have a U.S. address. Electronic-authentication (e-authentication) is a registration system that enables customers to access the online Electronic Permits (ePermits) system in order to submit import permit applications independently. You can create an e-authentication account and register for ePermits by following the steps outlined on the Register for ePermits website.
    • Download the import application or contact the Strategies & Policies, Live Animal Import Team:  VS.Live.Animals.Import.Permits@aphis.usda.gov
  • A health certificate, issued within 30 days of leaving the country of export, must accompany all zoo bird shipments. A full-time salaried veterinarian of the veterinary competent authority, located in the exporting country, must endorse the health certificate, with English translation. 
  • The following list of health certificates are for countries that have negotiated health requirements with the United States. All other countries of export must use language listed on the model health certificate, listed below.
  • Exporting countries can use the model health certificate provided or use their own document which carries the following U.S. health certificate requirements:
    1. All avians covered by the certificate have been inspected by the veterinarian issuing the certificate.
    2. There has been no evidence in the animals for export (or any group with which they have been held) of Newcastle disease, avian influenza, chlamydiosis, or other communicable disease of avians during the 90 days immediately preceding their exportation.
    3. The avians for export EITHER: have been vaccinated against Newcastle disease (avian paramyxovirus) at least 21 days prior to export, using vaccines that do not contain any velogenic strains of Newcastle disease virus; OR: The avians for export have not been vaccinated against Newcastle disease. (The health certificate must specify).
    4. Newcastle disease or avian influenza has not occurred anywhere on the premises from which the avians for export are to be exported or on adjacent premises during the 90 days preceding the exportation.
    5. The avians for export EITHER: have been vaccinated against H5 or H7 subtypes of avian influenza; OR: the avians for export have not been vaccinated against any H5 or H7 subtype of avian influenza (The health certificate must specify).
    6. The avians for export are identified by permanent identification- leg bands, tattoos, or microchips.
    7. The avian for export were shipped in new or appropriately sanitized packaging materials.
  • A USDA port veterinarian at the first U.S. port of entry must inspect birds (unless stated differently on the import permit). The importer must arrange for this inspection by a USDA port veterinarian at least 3 business days in advance by contacting the USDA port veterinarian at the telephone number listed on the import permit.
    • Zoo birds are required at U.S. arrival, to proceed immediately into 30 days quarantine. There are two USDA quarantines which can be used or the importer can create a private quarantine facility. If a private facility is used, it must be approved by APHIS before an import permit can be issued.  
  • The importer should retain the services of a customs broker to facilitate the importation and, in some cases, the transport of birds from the port of entry to the USDA Animal Import Center. The importer can contact the Import Center for a list of customs brokers to provide this service.

Note: An import permit will not be issued until quarantine arrangements have been finalized.

  • The USDA Animal Import Center will provide an estimate of fees, which includes port inspection, laboratory testing that occurs during quarantine, and the quarantine stay.
  • Zoological avian quarantines must take place at one of the USDA facilities listed below or private quarantine may occur in an APHIS approved zoological facility. 

    Miami Animal Import Center
    USDA-APHIS-VS
    6300 NW 36 Street
    Miami, FL 33122
    (305) 876-2200 (phone)
    (305) 876-2201 (fax)
    NotifyMAIC@usda.gov
    New York Animal Import Center
    USDA, APHIS, VS
    474 International Boulevard
    Rock Tavern, NY 12575
    (845) 838-5500 (phone)
    (845) 838-5575 (fax)
    VSPSNIC@usda.gov
  • The zoo requesting the import may ask the USDA to approve housing located on its grounds for quarantine. The zoo should contact Strategy & Policy, Live Animal Imports Team for information on how to gain approval to quarantine imports on zoo grounds.
  • Importers must obtain the approval for a private facility to be used as quarantine prior to applying for an import permit. Information and guidance on obtaining that approval can be received by contacting the Strategy & Policy, Live Animal Imports Team
  • The USDA Animal Import Center will provide the total fee for services for the inspection and quarantine. Estimates of quarantine costs can be found at this link: quarantine fees                  
  • Contingency Plan requirement: 
    • Shipments must have an approved contingency plan in place for ports that will be transited. Importers should work with transited port to obtain approval. Plans should be reviewed annually to maintain approved status.
  • A U.S. import permit to transit must be issued within 30 days of import. The port veterinarian at all U.S. ports of transit will inspect all zoo birds (VS Form17-129).
  • A current veterinary health certificate issued within 30 days of importation and endorsed by a full-time salaried veterinarian of the agency responsible for animal health of the national government of the exporting country. A health certificate with English translation must meet all of the requirements listed above and accompany the shipment. An example health certificate is provided.

  • Health certificate requirements are as follows:
    1. The veterinarian issuing the certificate completed inspection and testing of the birds covered under this health certificate.
    2. The veterinarian issuing the certificate examined the bird(s) within 30 days prior to export, and saw no evidence of communicable diseases of poultry.
    3. The bird(s) was/were not vaccinated against any H5 or H7 subtype of avian influenza. If the birds were vaccinated, the date of vaccination and name of vaccine is listed on the health certificate. 30 days quarantine is required for vaccinated animals. Vaccine type, date, and name of product are listed.
    4. The bird(s) covered by this certificate do not originate from flocks nor had contact with any birds or poultry originating in a control zone established by state/provincial/federal animal health authorities due to outbreaks of Newcastle disease or Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in the 90 days preceding the exportation.
    5.  The bird(s) was/were not vaccinated against Newcastle disease OR the bird(s) has/have been vaccinated against Newcastle disease (avian paramyxovirus) at least 21 days prior to export, using vaccines that do not contain any velogenic strains of Newcastle disease virus.
    6. The shipment will not transit through any region where APHIS considers highly pathogenic avian influenza to exist.
    7. The birds were placed in new or appropriately sanitized packaging materials at the premises from which the birds were to be exported.
  • The USDA will monitor transit shipments at the ports of entry. The importer must arrange for USDA services at least three business days in advance by contacting the USDA port veterinarian at the telephone number listed on the import permit. Additionally, the import permit lists any approvals, along with any special instructions for the importer and port staff.
  • An import permit is required for zoological birds imported from Canada via air, sea, or land border port.
    • Submit application # VS Form17-129 to request an import permit.

  • Zoological birds must be officially identified prior to importation.
  • There are no quarantine requirements for zoological birds imported from Canada into the United States, with one exception: zoo birds vaccinated using influenza strains made of H 5 or H 7, must be quarantined upon U.S. arrival.   
  • Health certificate requirements are as follows:
    1. The veterinarian issuing the certificate completed inspection and testing of the birds covered under this health certificate.
    2. The bird(s) was/were not vaccinated against any H5 or H7 subtype of avian influenza. If birds were vaccinated the date of the vaccination and name of vaccine is listed on the health certificate. A 30 day quarantine is required for vaccinated animals.
    3. The veterinarian issuing the certificate examined the bird(s) within 30 days prior to export and saw no evidence of communicable diseases of poultry.
    4. The bird(s) covered by this certificate do not originate from flocks nor had contact with any birds or poultry originating in a control zone established by state/provincial/federal animal health authorities due to outbreaks of Newcastle disease or HPAI in the 90 days preceding the exportation.
    5. Bird(s) was/were not vaccinated against Newcastle diseases OR the bird(s) has/have been vaccinated against Newcastle disease at least 21 days prior to export, using vaccines that do not contain any velogenic strains of Newcastle disease virus.
    6. The shipment will not transit through any region where APHIS considers highly pathogenic avian influenza to exist.
    7. The birds were placed in new appropriately sanitized packaging materials at the premises from which the birds were to be exported.
  • USDA will inspect zoo bird shipments at U.S. ports of entry. The importer must arrange for USDA inspection services at least 3 business days in advance by contacting the USDA port veterinarian at the telephone number listed on the import permit.
  • The import/transit permit lists any additional requirements that may be imposed, along with any special instructions. If traveling by land, the importer should call the port by phone and ask to be directed to the assigned USDA veterinarian. The call will assist in ensuring there is a veterinarian available at the port to receive the shipment at the time of crossing. 

In the United States, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) regulates the importation of birds protected by the Convention on International trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and the Wild Bird Conservation Act of 1992 (WBCA). These regulations are part of an international conservation effort to protect some species of wild birds subject to trade. Most non-native U.S. pet birds including parrots, parakeets, macaws, lories, and cockatoos are affected by CITES and the WBCA. However, the budgerigar, cockatiel, and rose-ringed parakeets and peach-faced lovebirds are exempt.

Visit the FWS web site at: http://permits.fws.gov/ to obtain more information and the permit application, if applicable. If you have questions, contact the FWS at (800) 358-2104. Calls from outside the U.S. should use (703) 358-2104. Birds arriving at U.S. ports of entry may need to be inspected by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Inspectors. The FWS lists U.S. Wildlife Inspection Offices. Importers with birds regulated by the FWS should reach out to the office assigned to the port prior to U.S. arrival of birds.

Contact Us for Additional Information:

LAIE@usda.gov (email)
301-851-3300, Option 2 (phone)
301-734-4704 (fax)

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