A “wild-caught” bird is one that was captured in its native environment and brought into captivity. A “wild” parrot can be a variety of things from 1) a wild-caught bird, 2) an aviary-bred bird that has never been tamed or, 3) a formerly domestic-bred and tame pet bird that has not been handled by people for so long that it has reverted to the wild state.
In the United States, the Wild Bird Importation Act of 1992 made the importation of parrots from the wild illegal, though there are still many wild-caught parrots in captivity.
A wild-caught parrot that came through quarantine upon entering the United States had a rolled steel, so-called “open” band placed on its leg that identified the year of importation and quarantine station through which the bird entered. An open band has an opening, enabling the band to be closed around the bird’s leg. (Domestic-bred birds usually wear a “closed” band, which was slipped over the bird’s foot when small.)
For safety reasons, avian veterinarians have removed many bands over the years, so the absence of a band (open or closed) does not offer any specific information about a parrot. In addition, the application of closed bands is not a legal requirement in the United States, and many aviculturists do not use them.
Wild-caught parrots often acted extremely wary of people, so it was relatively easy for experienced personnel to identify them. This is no longer the case, as most parrots (captured in the wild or not) have become habituated to people and are more comfortable around them, even if never tamed for handling.
Accept a parrot for what it is. Untamed parrots can be tamed with infinite patience but they might prefer to interact from a distance, rather than be forced into physical interaction. Take your cues from the bird’s body language as to whether or not it wishes to interact.
Disclaimer: BirdChannel.com’s Bird Behavior Index is intended for educational purposes only. It is not meant to replace the expertise and experience of a professional veterinarian. Do not use the information presented here to make decisions about your bird’s health if you suspect your pet is sick. If your pet is showing signs of illness or you notice changes in your bird’s behavior, take your pet to the nearest veterinarian or an emergency pet clinic as soon as possible.