Decoding The Leg Band

Find out how to read the information on your bird's leg band

Bird breeders will often put leg bands on their chicks as identifying marks for their records. Via Pixabay

The leg bands on imported birds contain codes. There are two types of quarantine stations, privately owned and USDA-owned and -operated.

Privately Owned Stations

Private import station leg bands contain three letters followed by three numbers.

The first letter stands for:

      “C” California through LAX
      “O” California through LAX
      “F” Florida through Miami
      “I” Illinois through Chicago O’Hare
      “L” Louisiana through New Orleans (now closed)
      “M” Michigan through Detroit
      “N” New York through JFK
      “T” Texas through Brownsville.

The second letter identifies the importer and his or her facility. Many large-scale importers used more than one facility and more than one code.

The third letter is part of the bird’s individual ID code, which includes the three numbers. This arrangement allows for 26,000 combinations before a station repeats a code.

USDA-Owned and -Operated Stations

USDA-run government stations, many of which were closed sometime ago, use a different code system:

      “USDAN” San Ysidro (San Diego), CA
      “USDANNY” Newberg, NY
      “USDAA” Los Angeles, CA
      “USDH” Honolulu, HI
      “USDAB” Brownsville, TX
      “USDAX” Mission, TX
      “USDAM” Miami, FL
      “USDAL” Laredo, TX
      “USDAE” El Paso, TX

Other Leg Band Resources

Bird clubs, organizations or societies also issue leg bands.

The more common ones are:

      “ABS” American Budgerigar Society
      “ACS” American Cockatiel Society
      “ALBS” African Lovebird Society
      “ASC” American Singers Club
      “IFC” International Fife Club
      “NCA” National Colorbred Association
      “NCS” National Cockatiel Society
      “NFSS” National Finch & Softbill Society
      “SPBE” Society of Parrot Breeders and Exhibitors
Article Categories:
Birds · Lifestyle