Psittacine beak and feather disease (PBFD) is a common disease of the psittacine species and is caused by the psittacine beak and feather disease virus (PBFDV). In this study the occurrence of the disease in ring-neck parakeets and budgerigars in South Africa suffering from feathering problems, using polymerase chain reaction as a diagnostic test was investigated. The genetic variation between viral isolates was also studied. Results indicate that PBFDV can be attributed to being the cause of feathering problems in some of the ring-neck parakeets and budgerigars in South Africa. Genetic variation of isolates occurs between species and individuals. A cheap and easy to use method of blood sample collection on filter paper for diagnostic purposes was also evaluated. It proved to be less stressful to the birds and did not inhibit further processes.