Pet Travel: Traveling with a Bird

BirdcageTraveling with your pet should be a positive experience but sometimes not knowing the process or requirements make it difficult. This especially pertains to transporting a bird. Whether you?re traveling by air, ground or sea how do you make sure your bird arrives comfortably and with as little stress as possible? Where do you start? Will the airlines allow your bird? What documents are required? The good news is traveling with your bird is not extremely difficult but a stress free trip takes planning. The following tips will make traveling more convenient for both you and your bird.

? See your vet prior to traveling with your bird. If your bird is rare and/or exotic, additional permits must be done ahead of time. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, or CITES birds must get permits from the US Fish and Wildlife. The process for these exotic birds can take up to 7 months. If your bird is not on the CITES list, you may or may not need a health certificate and import permits depending on the country you are traveling to. Please contact for additional details on immigration requirements.
? Transporting by air? Know the major airlines pet policies and which ones don?t allow birds. A few major airlines that don?t allow birds are Frontier Airlines, Jet Blue and Southwest. Also don?t forget that there is a limit to the number of pets allowed in cabin so reserve your spot early. You can find a list of airlines pet policies here.
? Provide the appropriate travel carrier or cargo crate. The travel carrier (for in-cabin use) or cargo crate (cargo use) should be spacious enough to allow for stretching, some climbing and wing-flapping. They both need to have room for food and water dishes, a perch and a toy. Your bird should always have enough room to perch comfortably. Click here an airline approved bird carrier. If your bird will be traveling via cargo, we strongly suggest that you contact the cargo department of the airline you are using and ask them about their crate requirements as they differ and are oftentimes not published online.
? Keep the routine. Minimizing changes in your bird?s day to day routine will help minimize stress and make the transport more enjoyable. If your bird is unfamiliar with their transport carrier or new to traveling, start off slow. Let them get accustomed to their new carrier surroundings and journey on short trips.

If you are planning a trip this summer and want to bring your feathered friends along, follow these tips for an enjoyable and stress free travel. So next time you have an urge to ?fly the coop? don?t forget your winged companion. Bon Voyage!


Pet Travel: Traveling with a Bird — 14 Comments

  1. Sara – African Grey parrots are protected by CITES and special permits will be required. You will also need to file an import permit with Switzerland. You will need the assistance of an agent in Iran to assist you. You can try contacting Hamidreza Fattahain Pet Hospital to see if they can assist. +98 218 803-4060 / +98 218 804-5413

  2. can I bring my grey african parrot from iran to switzerland ? Can you help me ?

  3. Gabriela – there are several options to choose from when importing a bird to Greece from the United States:

    1. Birds must have 30 days of quarantine in their originating country under official supervision and a 10 day isolation period and laboratory testing for avian influenza with negative results. The USDA Accredited Veterinarian you are working with must supervise your bird?s 30 day quarantine in your home.
    2. Birds must have 10 days of quarantine in their originating country and tested for Avian Influenza H5 and H7 (either a RT-PCR or virus isolation test on both a cloacal and an oropharyngeal swab) at least 3 days after the 10 day isolation starts.
    3. Quarantine arrangements in Greece must be made prior to leaving the United States.
    In every case, your bird will need an EU health Certificate (Annex II) issued by a USDA-accredited veterinarian within 48 hours of transport.
    As for the airlines, it would be difficult to find one that will fly your bird in the cabin on an international flight. If you need the assistance of an agent to book transport, you can search for one at

  4. My husband and i are moving to Athens, greece from orange county, ca and we need to take our 10 year old jenday conure with us. Trying to find best option: which airlines allows in cabin? What documents we need? What about pet moving services, any recommendations?

  5. Yoko – African Greys are transported safely in the cargo hold as long as your airline permits it, your parrot is healthy, and the crate is configured properly. Temperatures are also a concern, so the route should be arranged during times that they are not extreme. Know that your parrot is covered by CITES and, as such, permits will be required to transport it. You may consider the services of an agent to customize the crate and book the transport. You can search for one at

  6. Can African gray bare and survive for long distance flight about 8hours in compartment? Is parrot ok physically and mentally?
    I?m very worry about this point. I had to bring him Singapore to Japan one day.
    Also from airport to home long distance drive.
    Let me know.
    If it have to take a risk of bird life I?ll find better owner to adopt.

  7. I allow my African Grey to drink a little chamomile and lavender tea. It?s very safe and calming. This might help any birds that get excited or stressed when traveling or with changes in their usual routine.

  8. My husband wants to move back to Europe in a few years, after living in the US for about 30 years. I’m a native born American. Our parrot, a young Hahn’s macaw (mini macaw), must go with us. I love him and would be too sad to give to anyone else. I’d never take him on a flight unless I really had to, which such a move would qualify for. I’m frightened that he would have to stay in quarantine in Europe for any length of time. Does anyone know if that is usually required?

    I would be willing to buy a full seat for my bird, if the airline allowed it. He’s not a particularly loud bird, but I’m not sure how loud he might get under stress. I sort of think he’d more likely be quiet if stressed/nervous. He’s kind of a sensitive little boy. Trips even to the avian vet usually disturb him for 24 hours.

  9. Louise – best way to transport your birds is by car. If that is not possible, then Delta or American Cargo from JFK to RSW with one stop or into Orlando non-stop with Delta and drive to Cape Coral.

  10. I want to transport and donate my birds to an Avery in Florida. I have a Macaw, a Mullican cockatoo a Sulfur crested cockatoo. We are donating them to the shelf factory in Cape Coral. from New York What is the best way to transport them? Please and thank you

  11. I am trying to help my sister get her pet Africian Gray into the United States from Saudi Arabia. He was already a pet when she found him, after several months of trying to find his owner she “adopted” him. She has now owned him for over 10 years. He is healthy and they can get vet certificates.
    Please help with info to get him in the US legally and in good health. THank you
    I am going to refer you to the US government site that deals with the import of birds. It will provide you detailed and current information.


  12. Hello,Please could you give me a list of the documents (permits, certificates etc) necessary for bringing a black-headed caique into the UK from Japan?Most of the information I have found seems to concern coming from the US to the UK, and I am not sure relevant it is to my situation.I still have time, as I am planning to move in about a year or two from now, but bringing a parrot to the UK seems to be quite an undertaking!Thanks for your help,Caoimhe
    You will find the information you need on this page:

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