Last Updated on August 3, 2022 by Ali Shahid
Any time you purchase a budgie or other small bird, you will find a band around their legs. A budgie’s leg band is often regarded as a way to enhance the bird’s beauty. However, ringing or banding is done to identify pet birds.
Budgies Leg Bands
The breeder often applies leg bands to their budgies so they can be identified and tracked. Records of breeding birds are kept with band numbers.
The leg ring number can be used to pair unrelated birds so that their gene pool remains diverse. Here we will discuss budgie leg bands, how they are used, and an alternative to budgie leg bands.
Close Band vs Open Band
It is common to put closed bands on small birds like budgies. Often, domestic breeders do this. Some international breeders use closed bands as well. The closed band resembles a ring and is made of metal, plastic, or aluminum.
There are no openings or gaps in them. Foot size increases with growing legs, preventing the band from slipping off. The only way to remove a closed band is to cut it off. Budgies with closed bands were most likely hatched in captivity.
An open-style band would be used on an older bird. Wrap it around the budgie’s leg and press to keep it in place. Open bands are not as secure as bands that are closed.
It is possible to remove them and replace them with another band. An open band on the leg of a budgie usually indicates that it was captured in the wild and sold illegally.
What is the Use of Leg Bands
A leg band can be compared to an ID bracelet for budgies. These accessories assist breeders in identifying young chicks. The bands prevent inbreeding between birds and allow breeders and owners to distinguish between them.
Breeders can also use these rings to track mutations and genes that produce certain traits. It is possible to identify the gender of budgies using these rings. Male birds have bands on their right legs, while female birds have bands on their left birds.
It’s easy to add your contact info to the band so you can find your bird if it goes missing. Some states require closed leg bands for certain birds. It prevents exotic birds from being removed from their natural habitats and sold as pets.
Permits are required by many breeders to keep exotic birds. Without a band number, you can’t get a permit. Upon arrival in the country, imported animals are quarantined. Before 1992, these birds must have been banded before being released by the USDA.
Each band contains a code that identifies the quarantine station, and records are kept for four years. Nevertheless, the Wild Bird Conservation Act of 1992 banned the importation of parrots for commercial purposes. If you are moving to the country, you can bring your pet birds with you.
How to ID a Leg Band of a Budgie
Look at the leg ring of your budgie and see if there are any writings. A band that contains this type of information is commonly known as an “ID band”. Breeders in the United States receive most of these colorful bands from the American Budgerigar Society.
The writing on the band probably makes you wonder what it means. The band contains a combination of letters and numbers. The letters refer to the organization that issues a band. A good example of this would be “ABS (The American Budgerigar Society).
A 3-digit number refers to a breeder. Each bird has a unique two-digit number for its identification and a two-letter abbreviation for its state of origin.
Some states use an image instead of the two-letter abbreviation, such as California. Finally, the band contains a two-digit number identifying a bird’s birth year.
Can a leg band be a problem for budgies?
Leg bands can sometimes cause leg injuries. There are instances when the bands are caught in cage parts and toys, resulting in broken, cut, dislocated, or sprained bones. Small leg bands can restrict blood flow to the legs.
Dead skin may build up between the band and the skin of some smaller birds, leading to a tight band. An injured foot with a swollen ankle may have blood flow restricted by an inflexible leg band.
Bands can cause problems with blood circulation, resulting in hospitalizations or, in some cases, surgical amputations. Regular checks should be performed on all leg bands.
Should I have my budgie’s leg band removed?
Leg bands are often the only means of identifying a bird. Removing it will make identifying the bird more difficult and uncertain. Leg bands are rarely associated with owners. There was a time when many people were free to remove their leg bands.
International regulations now place a high level of importance on the identification of birds, whether they are being moved, traded, or transported around the world. In particular, this applies to endangered and threatened birds.
Moving, traveling, or selling a bird may require verification of its origin (captive or wild). Leg bands should only be removed if
- Incorrectly applied
- Putting the bird at risk
- Changing to a better or different way of identification is described below.
Leg bands should never be removed at home. The legs of budgies are very fragile and can easily be injured. Remove the leg band of your bird with the help of an avian veterinarian.
For safe removal of the leg band, your bird may need to be sedated.
Alternatives of Leg Bands
There are many countries around the world, including North America, that use small identification microchips.
It is possible to implant these microchips safely and quickly into a bird’s breast muscle. A scanning wand is used to read the implant safely by passing over the bird. Microchip companies record and register your microchip number.
It will make it possible to identify an individual bird directly and positively through its microchip.
Tattoos may also be used as a means of identification. However, tattoos can fade or change over time.
The use of this method is not very popular at all.
- Foot Pattern
Like fingerprints, a photograph of a bird’s unique foot patterns will only show one type of pattern. This information is not currently available in a database.
- DNA Fingerprinting
A veterinarian can perform genetic DNA “fingerprinting” on your bird by testing a small sample of blood. This “fingerprint” will never be found on any other bird and it cannot be removed.
When establishing family bloodlines from a breeding bird, this method is extremely important.
If you need assistance establishing accurate identification of your bird, talk to your veterinarian about these options and advancements.
In many states, pet birds must have a band even if they are microchipped. Therefore, you should probably keep your bird’s band on. If you ever become separated from the animal, it will help you retrieve it. If your bird is properly cared for, the ring won’t harm it.
If you decide to remove the band for health reasons or personal preference, record the information and use an alternative method of identification.
Calvo, B., and R. W. Furness. “A review of the use and the effects of marks and devices on birds.” Ringing & Migration 13.3 (1992): 129-151.
Ritchison, Gary. “A new marking technique for birds.” North American Bird Bander 9.3 (1984).
Sedgwick, James A., and Rodney J. Klus. “Injury Due to Leg Bands in Willow Flycatchers (Heridas Producidas en las Patas por Anillas en Individuos de Empidonax traillii).” Journal of Field Ornithology (1997): 622-629.
Ali Shahid is a veterinarian by profession and an animal lover. He loves to give expert opinions about different animals. He has worked in top organization of birds like Bigbird Feed and Poultry Research institute. He loves birds, especially parrots and has great experience in different parrot farms.