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It is illegal in Belize to own a captive wild parrot. If you have had one for a long time you may qualify for the Forest Department registration programme to allow you to continue to care for your bird legally.


Who is in charge of the programme?

Belize Forest Department Wildlife Programme administrates and governs the licensing programme.

Belize Bird Rescue provides advice, and supplies the resources necessary to carry out the initiative. We have no legal authority within this Government programme.


Why is this happening?

It has always been illegal to hunt, capture or keep a native parrot. This law is in place to safeguard wild populations. It is now recognised that unrestricted hunting of wild parrots as pets is unsustainable and wild populations are falling to dangerously low levels.


Who can apply?

One person from a household is the applicant and registered keeper of the bird.  Only one application for a maximum of two birds per household.


How do I apply?
Contact the Belize Forest Department on 822 1524. email

Application Form

Can I license any bird?
The permit applies to parrots that were taken from the wild in Belize.

What are the licence conditions?
1. The bird must have been in captivity for some time: no baby birds will be licensed
2. You may not keep more than 2 birds per household

3. You must be able to pick the bird(s) up without harm or distress to you or the bird
4. Your bird must not be sick or injured in any way
5. You must meet minimum standards of caging and food for that species
6. You bird should not be a wild-caught scarlet macaw (certain exceptions apply, assessed individually)


My bird is not a parrot, do I still need a licence?
If the bird was removed from the wild, you will need a Forest Department permit. 


What happens if I do not conform to minimum standards?
You will be given a probationary period to bring the enclosure and care of the bird up to standard. If you do not conform fully within the time given, Forest Department then may confiscate.


I submitted my application a long time ago and I haven’t heard anything
We recommend you contact Forest Department to discuss your application. 822 1524


I was given permission to keep my bird in the past. Do I still need to apply?
If your bird does not have a Forest Department leg band you must reapply


What happens after the final registration deadline has been announced
All captive birds that have not had a permit application submitted for them will be confiscated. The owner may face charges or a fine.


What happens when I get my licence?
You will be issued with an official permit. Full permit conditions can be seen at the bottom of the page.
You bird will be fitted with a permanent leg band. This does not hurt the bird. The band has a unique number which applies to that bird and corresponds to his official permit. The band cannot be removed for refitting as it will break. If you need to remove the band for medical reasons, you should visit a veterinarian or contact Forest Department immediately.


How long does the permit last
It is valid for the lifetime of the bird, provided you maintain standards of care
If you move house, you must inform the Forest Department: the bird is registered to you at that address, you cannot transfer to another address or to another keeper without a reissue of the permit.


What happens to my bird if it is confiscated?
The bird will be taken to the Government sanctioned rehabilitation centre where it will undergo a long rehabilitation process to return to the wild.


Can I appeal if my bird is confiscated?
Yes. You may contact the Forest Department stating the reasons why you believe you bird should be returned. In certain circumstances the bird will have been removed for its own immediate safety until conditions can be improved or to seek expert/medical advice.
You have 7 days to appeal. If your appeal is successful you will be required to conform to minimum standards and conditions before the bird can be returned.


Which birds would Forest Department confiscate?

  • Babies and young birds

  • Very sick birds

  • Birds in immediate danger due to exceptionally poor living conditions

  • Birds that are not hand tame

  • Birds that exceed the maximum allowed 2 per household

  • Wild-caught scarlet macaws which are the prohibited species (reviewed on a case-by-case basis)


My bird spends all day in a tree - do I still need a cage?

If his wings are clipped or he is unable to fly in any way then YES, you need a cage - for his own safety and protection. Read more.

How do I make sure my bird is healthy and well card for
Download these brochures for guidance
Healthy Parrot Brochure  Caring for your captive wild parrot brochure


My parrot is not listed on the indigenous parrot poster. What does that mean?
The bird has been brought into Belize from outside the country. Imported parrots must have 3 permits:

  1. CITES papers, which are issued in the country of origin. Birds that have been taken from the wild will not have CITES papers. Hybrid birds will not have CITES papers. Birds that have been bred in captivity and have not been registered with CITES will not have CITES papers. All CITES registered birds will have a solid leg band (it has no gap or join in it). It is illegal under international law to transport a CITES registered species without a CITES permit

  2. BAHA import papers, issued in Belize. Birds coming into Belize must first be tested for several diseases, and then registered with BAHA as free from disease before importation. BAHA must grant permission for the bird to enter the country and will have a record of all legally imported birds. It is illegal to bring any bird or animal into the country without a BAHA permit. Violators risk having their animal destroyed

  3. Forest Department import permits: birds coming into Belize also require import permits from the Forest Department. The Department will have a record of all birds imported legally into the country

I imported a bird and I have all of my paperwork. Do I still need this licence?

No. But you should conform to minimum standards. Forest Department have jurisdiction over the standard of care of the bird. 


I want a parrot but I don’t want to break the law
Belize Bird Rescue urges those wishing to own a bird to consider a budgerigar (parakeets) as a pets. They are better suited to living in cages, and especially larger aviaries. They live well with multiple birds and are comfortable with less space, time or attention than a large parrot, particularly if they have a mate. They are captive-bred in Belize and are available for sale. As of this moment they do not require a Forest Department permit, although you should conform to minimum standards of care for the sake of the bird. 


How do I encourage wild parrots into my garden/property?
Planting appropriate food-sources and providing a safe and natural environment is by far the best way. See here for some ideas.


Can I surrender my bird for rehabilitation?
Yes, contact Forest Department or Belize Bird Rescue to arrange.

You have not answered my question!
Please feel free to email us with any questions or suggestions.


Below are the full conditions for the Captive Wildlife Permit with respect to native parrots

  • This permit provides for only the Parrot(s) listed above and is not transferrable

  • This permit is granted only to the person named above and is not transferable

  • The Parrot(s) shall only be kept at the address above: Forest Department must be notified immediately of any address change in order to re-inspect the conditions

  • This permit does not allow the sale, exchange or gifting of the licensed Parrot

  • The Parrot must be treated humanely and always be kept in proper living conditions in accordance with Forest Department minimum standards

  • This permit does not allow public exhibition of the licensed Parrot(s)

  • The authorized person on this permit is required to consult a licensed veterinarian in the case of illness or injury. Veterinary records should be kept and presented to the Forest Department upon request

  • The Wildlife Officer or any other person or agent authorized by him may on his behalf periodically inspect and examine the licensed Parrot(s) and make recommendations for improved care and management

  • The numbered leg band fitted by the Wildlife Officer or agent must not be removed. Unauthorized removal of the band may invalidate this permit

  • The person named on this licence is required to inform the Forest Department of the death or loss of the licensed parrot(s)

  • The Parrot(s) remain the property of the Government of Belize at all times

Any contravention of the above conditions will result in confiscation of the Parrot(s) and the permit holder will be liable to a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500.00) on the first count.

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