Proving legal possession of exotic birds
If you keep an exotic (non-native) bird that:
- is listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), or
- is not listed on Part 1 of the live import list
you must be able to prove its legal origin.
Possessing illegal exotic birds
The possession of illegally imported specimens and their progeny is an offence under national environment law and various penalties may apply.
Inspectors under national environment law may seize exotic bird(s) in Australia if they have reasonable grounds to suspect that the origins of the bird(s) cannot be proven. The decision to seize is made on a case by case basis, and does not result in the automatic forfeiture of the bird(s). National environment law provides several ways for people who have birds seized to provide additional information to verify the origin of those specimens.
The lists below provide a guide to the types of documentation that would be considered in proving the source of a bird.
- a standard Movement Transaction Record or Activity Record completed under the exotic bird record keeping scheme
- a live import permit issued under Australian environmental legislation
- National Exotic Bird Registration Scheme records identifying the source of the bird(s)
- verifiable documentation identifying the seller of the birds, including their name and address
- a receipt from the seller showing:
- the name and address of seller
- the name and address of buyer
- individual identification of the bird, and
- the signature of both the seller and buyer.
- individual identification of the bird (for example, sexing certificate with date)
- transaction details (for example, cheque butt, printed receipt from online banking transaction)
- a statutory declaration identifying the seller and the seller's details
- a copy of the original advertisement with the seller's contact details
- a statutory declaration identifying relevant National Exotic Bird Registration Scheme records or import permits
- state/ territory records relating to the keeping of specimens or transactions within Australia (for example, a state import or export permit).
Statutory declarations or affidavits may be acceptable to the department, but only if they contain enough information demonstrating that the birds are from legal sources.
Detailed declarations, such as statutory declarations and affidavits, may be used in some situations to prove the origin of an exotic bird.
Declarations would be used when an exotic bird owner is required to prove the origin of a specimen(s) to the department or a court but has not obtained or kept enough records to prove legal ownership.
The department does not support using declarations in the sale or transfer of exotic birds where the seller does not have adequate records. You must be sure that you can get adequate information to prove legal origin of the birds you buy.
Declarations must have enough information about a bird(s) if they are to prove origin, and should be supported by other material. Declarations will not be acceptable if they only show the buyer/seller of an exotic bird. They should include:
- the type of bird(s)
- detailed information about the origin of the bird(s)
- whether or not the bird has been bred, and if so, information on the offspring
- history of ownership including purchase dates.
Supporting documents like receipts or dated transfer letters would help verify the origin of an exotic bird.
Affidavits may be available under state or Australian Government legislation. For matters to be filed in the Federal Court additional information can be found at: www.fedcourt.gov.au/fff/fff_federalcourtrules_020_modified2.html.
State and territory laws
State or territory legislation could also apply to keeping exotic birds. Please contact the relevant authority in your state or territory for more details.