CITES law for cockatoos

To own or keep some species of animals you need a permit or CITES papers.

CITES stands for Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of wild fauna and flora. Only 7 countries in the whole world do not participate in the CITES program. All European countries, Australia, the USA and Latin America are part of the CITES program. This means that owning a species that is on the CITES list will require you to have CITES papers with it.

A flying Galah

If a cockatoo species is on the CITES list, every cockatoo of this species needs to have a fixed ring around the foot and/or microchip accompanied with CITES papers. This is to prevent trade in wild caught birds. There are two CITES lists: the CITES I list and the CITES II list. Only species on the CITES II list can be traded as pets.


A CITES II form is nothing but a form that states the identity of the cockatoo, the previous owner and the new owner. You can read more about CITES on the official website

Which cockatoo species are on the CITES II list?

At the moment, 2012, the following cockatoo species are on the CITES II list:

  • Cacatua goffini –  Goffins cockatoo
  • Cacatua haematuropygia – Red-vented cockatoo
  • Cacatua moluccensis – Moluccan cockatoo
  • Cacatua sulphurea – Lesser sulphur-crested cockatoo
  • Probosciger aterrimus – Palm cockatoo

The species Cacatua sulphurea (the lesser sulphur-crested cockatoo) has many subspecies, like Cacatua sulphurea citrinocristata and Cacatua sulphurea parvula (timor cockatoo). All subspecies of a CITES II species fall under CITES II law too.

You need CITES papers to own or house a Palm Cockatoo