Cloacal swabs were collected from 280 captive psittacine birds belonging to 13 species. Samples of dna were tested by pcr using a pair of primers that amplify a 284 base pair fragment of the Salmonella genus invA gene, and the pcr-positive samples were tested by standard microbiological techniques. Thirteen per cent of the samples were positive by pcr, but negative by microbiological techniques. The infection rates were significantly different among the 13 species, the most commonly infected being Amazona amazonica (28 per cent) and Amazona pretrei (20 per cent). Specific tests for Salmonella Typhimurium Salmonella Enteritidis, Salmonella Pullorum and Salmonella Gallinarum did not produce positive results.