The migratory orange-bellied parrot is one of Australia’s most imperilled species. Releasing captive-bred individuals has been a key management action, but has not reversed population declines for the species. This research investigated if traits of captive bred orange-bellied parrots have deviated from wild birds and the implications for conservation. We found wild-bred pairs had double the breeding success compared to pairs with captive-bred females. Captive-bred females also produced more infertile eggs, with significantly fewer hatchlings. We expect the observed differences in the wing shape and feather condition of captive-bred birds would make captive-bred birds less suited to undertake the migration to the Australian mainland.