IATA Live Animals Regulations


Basic requirements applicable to all species of birds

See Exceptions CAG-01, GBG-10 and USG-01 in Chapter 2
Note 1: Special conditions applicable to small and medium seed-eating birds, small and large parrot-like birds, fruit eating birds, insect-eating birds, small game birds and small wading birds are laid down in Container Requirements 11A to 11H.
Note 2: For individual or small shipments of birds see Container Requirement 23.

(see Exception QF-01 in Chapter 3)

Wire mesh, non-toxic wood, non-toxic plastic, fibreglass, synthetics and muslin or other light material.

Principles of Design
The following principles of design must be met in addition to the General Container Requirements outlined at the beginning of this chapter.

The normal habits and necessary freedom of movement of the bird species involved will determine the size.

A solid wood frame, either screwed or nailed and glued with non-toxic glue.

Three-plywood or other material of equivalent strength is generally suitable. Both ends of the container must be of solid wood of a minimum width if 1.3 cm (1/2 in).
The interior of the container must have not sharp edges or protuberances on which the birds can injure themselves.

The front of the container must be sloped to provide extra ventilation area and be covered with a 0.3 cm (1/8 in) wire mesh which must comprise 75% of the frontal area. A muslin curtain must be provided to reduce light inside the container.

Handling Spacer Bars/Handles
Must be provided as shown in the illustration on three sides of the container.

Solid and leak-proof with smooth raised bars down the length of the container for non-perching species.

Wooden perches must be provided for all perching species.

The diameter of the perch must be large enough for the birds to grip firmly and comfortably.

The perches must be placed so that droppings cannot fall into the water and food troughs nor onto other birds.

The perches must be placed at such a height that the birds can leave the perch without their heads coming in contact with the roof nor the tail with the floor while perching, but the perches must not be placed too high within the container for the birds to become upset during transport.

There must be sufficient perch space for all birds to perch simultaneously. The numbers of birds will be restricted by the length of perch space within the container.

Stocking Density
There must be no more than 50 small birds per container or compartment of a container to prevent smothering. Larger birds must have comparably fewer per container or compartment of a container.

Solid, however ventilation holes are permitted, it must have non-destructible padding for some species.

There must be a door, sliding or hinged, to each container or compartment of a container. There must be a secure means of fastening each door.

Meshed ventilation openings, approximately 2.5 cm (1 in) in diameter must be provided at approximately 5 cm (2 in) distance apart along three sides of the container. Whenever openings are covered by mesh care must be taken that there are no sharp edges present within the container, all edges must be covered with a smooth material.

Feed and Water Containers
Separate food and water containers must be provided, they must be accessible for refilling and the sides of the water container(s) must be flanged to prevent spillage. For small birds it is necessary to have a float or sponge or similar material on top of the water to prevent drowning. Soldered tin must never be used.

Aggressive birds must be packed individually.

IATA Recommended Shipping Boxes

Rigid Plastic Pet Containers
(see Container Requirement 1)

For small numbers or individual birds modified rigid plastic pet containers are suitable for use. The following modifications must be made:

perches, fixed foothold blocks or non-slip floor lining must be fixed appropriately to the floor of the container;
non-destructible padding must be fixed to the roof;
the doors and ventilation openings must be covered with a fine mesh to prevent any part of the bird(s) protruding. A light curtain must cover the door and ventilation openings to reduce the amount of light within the container, this must be suitably adjusted for those birds which need very dim light;
the amount of space per bird must comply with the species carried;
food and suitable water containers must be fixed inside the container with a means of refilling;
labelling must conform to IATA standards for Live Animals.


It is advisable that shippers must ensure that wild birds are held in captivity for approximately thirty days before dispatch to overcome the stress of capture and allow them to become accustomed to confinement and the new diet. The use of anti-stress tonic is beneficial. It is of utmost importance that all birds be given, under close supervision, an opportunity to drink an ample supply of water before departure.

On no account must excess birds be loaded into a compartment or container to ensure against mortality. Species of widely differing sizes must not be mixed in the same compartment / container.


Basic requirements for insectivores

Special conditions applicable to insectivorous (insect eating) birds (including other insectivorous, omnivorous, soft-beaked birds, n.o.s.):

Antbird species Piculet
Asitie Pipit species
Babbler species Pitta species
Barbet species Plantcutter species
Bee eater species Poorwill
Bristlebird Puffbird species
Broadbill species Redstart species
Bulbul species Robin species
Butcherbird Roller species
Chat species Scrubbird species
Coucal species Scythbill
Cuckoo species Shrike species
Dipper species Starling species
Drongo species Swallow species
Fairy Bluebird species Swift species
Flycatcher species Tapaculo species
Frogmouth species Thrush species
Honey-guide species Tit species
Hoopoe species Treecreeper
Jacamar species Vireo species
Kingfisher species Wagtail species
Logrunner Warbler species
Mesias species Wattlebird species

See Exceptions CAG-01, GBG-10 and USG-01 in Chapter 2.

Note: Refer to Container Requirement 11 for basic requirements applicable to all species of birds

(see Exception QF-01 in Chapter 3)

See Container Requirement 11, General Requirements. In addition:

Wood, 2 cm (1/2 in) plywood, non-toxic plastic, fibreglass, synthetics, wire mesh and muslin cloth or similar.

The total length of the container must not exceed 91 cm (36 in), the height and width will depend on the species being carried. The height of the container must permit the birds to stand or perch naturally without bending their tails or touching their heads on the roof and the width must be sufficient to allow them to turn round easily. Double boxes with strong wire mesh partitions can be used.

Plywood with a minimum width of 2 cm (1/2 in) is suitable. 75% of the front must be of wooden or wire bars 1.2 cm (1/2 in) apart or strong wire mesh with a diameter of 1.2 cm (1/2 in).

A false wire mesh floor, placed 2.5 cm (1 in) above the bottom of the container, can be used to allow the excreta to fall through.

Not more than 2 suitable parallel perches per container or compartment of a container. All the birds must be able to perch comfortably at the same time.

Stocking Density
Approximately groups of 35forthe smallerbirds upto 15 cm (6 in) in length per container or compartment of a container. The larger species must be in proportionally smaller groups. Wild caught birds require more space than captive bred birds in order to avoid smothering by overcrowding.

Must have non-destructible soft padding.

When containers are built back to back a minimum of 75% of each side must be of wooden or wire bars to allow good air circulation within the container.

(for emergency use only)

Birds do not usually need additional feeding during 24 hours following the time of dispatch, other than the seed provided in the troughs as specified in the Basic Container Requirements.

If additional feeding is required due to an unforeseen delay, well soaked biscuit meal, chopped hard-boiled eggs, berries (may be canned), chopped fruit and dried insects must be provided for insectivorous (softbilled) birds. If circumstances permit, live insects, such as meal worms, must be offered if other foods are refused.