Background: Since it was first described in the early 1980s, psittacine beak and feather disease (PBFD) has become recognised as the dominant viral pathogen of psittacine birds in Australia. Our aim was to evaluate and review the effect of PBFD and its position as a key threatening process to Australian psittacine bird species. We review the origin/evolutionary pathways and potential threat of PBFD to endangered psittacine bird populations and captive-breeding flocks. Conclusions: The most recent beak and feather disease virus (BFDV) phylogenetic analyses indicate that all endangered Australian psittacine bird species are susceptible to, and equally likely to be infected by, BFDV genotypes from a range of host psittacine species. Management of the disease in captive-breeding programs has relied on testing and culling, which has proven costly. The risk of PBFD should be considered very carefully by management teams contemplating the establishment of captive-breeding flocks for endangered species. Alternative disease prevention tools, including vaccination, which are increasingly being used in wildlife health, should be considered more seriously for managing and preventing PBFD in captive flocks of critically endangered species.