These Birds are Legal To Own as Pets in Your State


The point of this article is to list at least both native and exotic birds that are legal to keep as pets in each State, based on my research. Because pet ownership laws vary by county and city in each state, I wouldn't advise you to use this list to determine what pet bird is legal in your state. In other words, your county or city may ban a bird that is legal to own under your state law. So, you'll want to check your local animal ordinances before keeping any of the birds listed in this article as a pet.

A collage of multiple pet birds including a Cockatiel, Budgerigar, African Grey Parrot, Quaker Parrot, Finch, Cockatoo, and Dove

As of 2023, birds are the fourth most popular pets in the United States. According to 2023 pet ownership statistics, virtually ten million households own a pet bird in the United States.

Legal Pet Birds By State


In the state of Alabama, the following birds are not protected under the Nongame Species Regulation and therefore are allowed to be kept as pets: Pigeons, House sparrows, Eurasian collared doves, Starlings, Crows, and other non-native species.


In Alaska, residents can own a variety of exotic birds, including Toucans, Parrots, Parakeets, Cockatiels, Mynahs, Peafowls, Canaries, Coturnix, Guineafowls, Partridges, Pheasants, and Pigeons.


Many types of birds are restricted in Arizona. However, Arizona residents may obtain a game bird license to keep the following exotic birds as pets: Dusky grouses, Scaled quails, Gambel's quails, California quails, and Chukar. The possession of 50 captive pen-reared game birds at any one time is allowed in the state of Arizona. According to Parrot Website, Quaker Parrots are completely legal to keep as pets in The Grand Canyon State.


In Arkansas, Doves, Parrots, Macaws, Muscovy ducks, Barbary doves, Indian peafowls, Green peafowls, Emus, and Coturnix quails are legal to keep as pets.


Many types of birds are legal to own in California. The only parrot that is not legal to own in California is the Quaker parrot, also called the Monk parakeet. English sparrows, Starlings, Hawks, Canaries, Finches, Pigeons, Ravens, White doves, Mynah birds, Toucans and Ostriches are allowed as exotic pet birds in California, according to § 3801.


Colorado allows all tropical and subtropical birds, including parrots to be kept as pets. In addition, Peafowls, Rheas, Pigeons, Guinea Fowl, Emus, Ducks, and Ostriches are legal in Colorado.


Owning an exotic animal is partially banned in the state of Connecticut. However, residents may obtain a permit from the commissioner to own a regulated number and species of birds in Connecticut.


An annual permit is required to keep the following birds in Delaware: Pheasants, Grouses, Quails, and Partridges.


Cassowaries, Ostriches, Button quails, Canaries, Cockatiels, Doves, Lovebirds, Common hill mynas, Toucans, Jungle fowls, Peafowls, Parrots, Parakeets, and Finches are legal pet birds in Florida. However, a Class I or Class II permit may be required to keep some of those birds as pets in the Sunshine State.


In the state of Georgia, residents may keep English sparrows, European starlings, Pigeons, and Common hill mynas as pets. All species of birds are protected by state and federal laws in The Goober State.


The following birds are legal to keep as pets in Hawaii: Peafowls, Canaries, Budgerigars, Lovebirds, Cockatiels, and certain species of Finches, Parrots, and Parakeets.


Parakeets, Parrots, English sparrows, Starlings, and Canaries are legal pet birds in the state of Idaho. However, an "Invasive Species Possession Permit" is required to keep Monk parakeets in the Gem State. Moreover, it is legal to keep as a pet without a permit in Idaho any native bird that is not classified as species concern, threatened or endangered.


You don't need a permit to keep House sparrows, European starlings, Rock pigeons, Purple swamphens, and Muscovy ducks as exotic pet birds in the state of Illinois. However, a permit is required to own protected native birds in The Prairie State.


A permit is required to keep as pets the following Endangered Birds in Indiana: Ruffed grouses, Yellow-headed blackbirds, Henslow's sparrows, Kirtland's warblers, Golden-winged warblers, Cerulean warblers, Loggerhead shrikes, Marsh wrens, Sedge wrens, Short-eared owls, Barn owls, Black terns, Least terns, Upland sandpipers, Piping plovers, Whooping cranes, Common moorhens, Virginia rails, King rails, Black rails, Northern harriers, Rufa red knots, Trumpeter swans, Yellow-crowned night-herons, Black-crowned night-herons, Least bitterns, and American bitterns.


It is legal to own Ratites, Domestic mallards, European starlings, and House sparrows in the state of Iowa.


A permit is required to own the following birds in the state of Kansas: Grouses, Partridges, Pheasants, Prairie-chickens, Quails, Eurasian collared doves, and Feral pigeons.


The keeping of the following birds: Cockatoos, Guinea fowls, Indian Hill mynahs, Parrots, Lovebirds, Cockatiels, Budgerigars, Parakeets (except Monk parakeets), Macaws, Toucans, and Peafowls as pets is legal in the state of Kentucky.


The following birds: Wild turkeys, Black francolins, Bobwhite quails, and Pheasants are considered "Resident Game Birds" in the state of Louisiana. A permit is required to own Whooping cranes, Interior Least Terns, Red-cockaded woodpeckers, Piping plovers, and Red knots as pets in The Pelican State.


Rock doves, Cranes, Limicolas, Rails, Finches and Parrots are legal in the state of Maine.


Crows, Doves, Pheasants, American woodcocks, English sparrows, Pigeons, European starlings, Brants, Coots, Common moorhens, and Rails are legal to keep as pet birds in the state of Maryland.


It is legal to keep the following birds as pets in the state of Massachusetts: Buttonquails, Pigeons, Doves, Finches, Common waxbills, Weavers, Parrots, Aracaris, Toucans, Green toucanets, Emerald toucanets, Starlings, Mynahs, Emus, Rheas, and Ostriches, Peafowls, and Guinea fowls.


It is not illegal to own up to twelve of the following birds without a permit in the state of Michigan: Pheasants, Bobwhite quails, and Hungarian partridges.


You may keep any of the following birds as a pet in the state of Minnesota: Starlings, English sparrows, Cormorants, Eurasian collared doves, Rock doves, Chukars, and Quails (except bobwhite and mute swans).


Crows, European starlings, Brown-headed cowbirds, Grackles, Brewer’s blackbirds, Rusty blackbirds, Red-winged blackbirds, English sparrows, and Pheasants are allowed to be kept as pets in the state of Mississippi.


You can legally own Eurasian collared doves, Grey partridges, Mourning doves, Northern bobwhites, Ring-necked Pheasants, Ruffed grouses, American woodcocks, American coots, Sora rails, and Virginia rails as pets in the state of Missouri.


Montana allows the following exotic birds: Cardinals, Parrots, Zosterops, Finches, Toucanettes, Toucans, Mynahs, Tanagers, and Cockatoos to be kept as pets without a permit.


American crows, Sharptail grouses, Greater prairie chickens, Chukar partridges, Hungarian partridges, Ringneck pheasants, Trumpeter swans, Bobwhite quails, Tundra swans, Peafowls, Waterfowls, English sparrows, European starlings, and Common pigeons.


The eighteen birds listed below are legal to own in the state of Nevada:
  • Parakeets
  • Cockatiels
  • Mynah birds
  • Parrots
  • Lovebirds
  • House finches
  • Toucans
  • Canaries
  • Ostriches
  • Emus
  • Rheas
  • Guinea fowls
  • Pheasants
  • Partridges
  • Quails
  • Red-necked spurfowls
  • Peafowls
  • Cassowaries

New Hampshire

Some legal pet birds in the state of New Hampshire include Cockatiels, Parrots, Parakeets, Mynah birds, Finches, Canaries, Weavers, Pekin robins, Toucans, Feral pigeons, Button quails, Doves, Ostriches, Emus, Rhea, and Mallards.

New Jersey

In the state of New Jersey, it is not illegal to keep European starlings, House sparrows, Canaries, Rock doves, Peafowls, Budgerigars, Cockatiels, Zebra finches, Society finches, Rheas, and Emus as pets.

New Mexico

A permit is required to keep songbirds, Hawks birds, and Owls as pets in the state of New Mexico.

New York

The following birds are legal to keep as pets without a permit in New York State: Budgerigars, Bourke's parrots, Common canaries, Blue-masked lovebirds, Gouldian finches, Society finches, Zebra finches, Diamond doves, Cockatiels, Eastern rosellas, Red-rumped parakeets, and Crimson rosellas.

North Carolina

You need to obtain a permit to keep a Mallard, Chukar, or Hungarian partridge as a pet in the state of North Carolina.

North Dakota

In North Dakota, it is legal to own any of the following birds: Peafowls, Chukars, Quails, Pheasants, Guinea fowls, Ratites, Pigeons, Waterfowls, Crows, Shorebirds, Songbirds, English sparrows, and Starlings.


In the state of Ohio, it is illegal to own birds other than game birds and migratory game birds. A permit is required to keep as pets the following game birds in Ohio: Hungarian partridges, Chukar partridges, Brants, Crows, Rails, Coots, Greater and Lesser yellowlegs, Jack snipes, Golden plovers, Black-breasted plovers, Woodcocks, Wild turkeys, Pinnated grouses, Ruffed grouses, Sharp-tailed grouses, Ringneck pheasants, Bobwhite quails, and Mourning doves.


Oklahoma allows the possession of the following birds as pets: Peafowls, Pigeons, Migratory waterfowls, Cockatoos, Cockatiels, Canaries, Macaws, Finches, Parakeets, Parrots, Budgerigars, Emus, Ostriches, and Rheas.


Many species of birds may be kept as pets with no permit required in the state of Oregon, including but not limited to: Cassowaries, Ostriches, Guinea fowls, Emus, Parakeets, Parrots, Lories, Rheas, Rock doves, Peafowls, Pigeons, and Cockatoos, Pheasants, Turacos, Greater coucals, Senegal coucals, Plaintain eaters, Go-away birds, Chacalacas, Buttonquails, Red pileated finches, Yellow cardinals, Crested buntings, Double-collared seedeaters, Parrot-billed seedeaters, Waxbills, Broadbills, Black siskins, European goldfinches, Common linnets, Leafbirds, Fairy-bluebirds, Honeyeaters, Common hill mynas, Superb starlings, Toucans, and Barbets.


The following exotic birds are legal to keep as pets in Pennsylvania: Parrots, Parakeets, Finches, Canaries, and Mynahs.

Rhode Island

Residents can legally own as pets any of the following birds in Rhode Island: Common quails, Guinea fowls, Button quails, Pigeons, Doves, Waxbills, Finches, Toucanets, Toucans, Mynahs, and Starlings.

South Carolina

Top legal pet birds in South Carolina include but are not limited to Lovebirds, Mynahs, Toucans, Finches, Parrots, Cockatiels, Canaries, Shell parakeets, Mourning doves, Northern bobwhites, Ruffed grouses, Wilson's snipes, Woodcocks, Coots, Rails, and Brants.

South Dakota

In South Dakota, the following birds are legal to keep as pets: House sparrows, Rock doves, Eurasian collared doves, European starlings, Common grackles, Black-billed magpies, Crows, Brown-headed cowbirds, Brewer’s blackbirds, Rusty blackbirds, and Red-winged blackbirds.


Top birds that are legal to own as pets in the state of Tennessee include Northern bobwhites, Canaries, Parakeets, Cockatiels, Doves, Finches, and Pigeons.


In the state of Texas, Quaker Parrots, also known as Monk Parakeets, are completely legal to own as pets. In addition, European starlings, English sparrows, Rock doves, Cowbirds, Grackles, Red-winged blackbirds, and Yellow-headed birds may also be kept as pets in The Lone Star State.


Registration is required to keep as pets the following birds in the state of Utah: Ostriches, Pigeons, Peafowls, Rheas, Cranes, Ruffed grouses, Hungarian partridges, Pheasants, Bobwhites, Band-tailed Pigeons, Waterfowls, and Chukars.


Parrots, Chukar partridges, Coturnix quails, Ratites, and Pheasants are legal to keep as pets in the state of Vermont.


Pigeons, Peafowls, Guinea fowls, Icterids, Crows, Cowbirds, Grackles, European starlings, House sparrows, Rock Dove, and other exotic birds are legal to keep as pets in the state of Virginia.


It is legal to keep Eurasian collared doves, Starlings, Parrots, House sparrows, and Rock doves as pets in Washington State.

West Virginia

West Virginia residents may own the following birds as pets: Guinea fowls, Peafowls, Parrots, Pheasants, Coots, Partridges, Quails, Woodcocks, Crows, Doves, Sandpipers, and Grackles.


Starlings, English sparrows, Parrots, Pigeons, and farm-raised game birds are legal to own as pets in Wisconsin.


The following birds are legal to keep as pets in the state of Wyoming: Emus, Guinea fowls, Mallards, Ostriches, Pigeons, Rheas, Peafowls, Eurasian collared doves, American crows, Mute swans, European starlings, House sparrows.

Wild turkeys and those species listed as injurious under federal regulations are banned from importation/possession, according to Wyoming Game and Fish Department.

Popular Pet Bird Species

In the United States, the following fifteen birds are the most popular commonly kept as pets:
  1. Cockatiels
  2. Budgerigars
  3. African Grey Parrots
  4. Quaker Parrots
  5. Caiques
  6. Conures
  7. Finches
  8. Canaries
  9. Amazon Parrots
  10. Cockatoos
  11. Doves
  12. Lovebirds
  13. Macaws
  14. Parrotlets
  15. Pionus Parrots


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