BREEDS & THEIR NEEDS        

CONURES
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Black Capped Conure


Nanday Conure


Sun Conures


Green-Cheeked Conure


Maroon Bellied Conure

Click here  4to go to special page dedicated to the Green-Cheek conure and their Mutations

 

There are 8 sub-species of Conures :
 

Aratinga 19 species, including the popular Sun and Mitred Conures
Pyrrhura    18 species, including the popular Maroon-bellied, Green-cheeked, and Black-capped Conures
Nandayus 1 species, the Nanday Conure
Leptosittaca 1 species, the Golden-plumed Conure
Ognorhynchus 1 species, the Yellow-eared Conure
Cyanoliseus 1 species, the Patagonian Conure
Enicognathus 2 species, the Austral and the Slender-billed Conure
Guaruba 1 species, Guaruba guarouba, the Golden or Queen of Bavaria Conure (formerly Aratinga guarouba)
  • Conures were imported into the United States in the late 1800's

    • however, by the early 1980's, importation had almost entirely been replaced by captive breeding programs.

    • This in turn led to birds being sold that were healthier and better suited emotionally to captivity
      by virtue of handling and hand-feeding starting at an early age.
       

  • The name Conure is applied to many of the long-tailed parrots 

  • The largest of all the Conures is the Patagonian (Cyanoliseus patagonus) is generally 17"-18".

  • The smallest~ the Painted Conure (Pyrrhura picta) is half that size, 8.5".

  • The most popular group of Conures are of the Aratinga genus (Sun Conure is amongst these)!

    • These sadly are also the noisiest of the Breeds.
       

  • Other notable Conures include the Austral (Enicognathus ferrungineus),

    • These are found in the most southern habitat of any parrot (southern Chile).

    • The Austral, Patagonian, and Slender-billed Conures will spend a good deal of time foraging
      for food on the cage floor.

    • The Nanday Conure (Nandayus nenday) has the habit of falling asleep on its back, feet straight up in the air (rather disconcerting the first time observedÖ)

    • The Queen of Bavaria Conure (Aratinga guarouba) is NOT recommended for the first-time Conure owner because it requires a great deal of time and attention to avert possible destructive behaviours

      • including screaming, feather picking, and aggression toward other parrots.

  • Conures, in general, are playful, intelligent, "big parrots in a little parrot body."
  • They also love to snuggle under things, so providing them with a tightly woven wash cloth, soft piece of fabric, or fuzzy toy will be appreciated.
  • The Green Cheeks have a funny personality and can become very tame (some of mine eat from my hand)
  • they aren't too noisy.
                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2 young Green-cheeks

Yellow-Sided Green-Cheeked Conures   (Pyrrhura hypoxantha )
 

  • These are a beautiful mutation of the Normal Green-cheek Conure (Pyrrhura Molinae) 
  • Found in the wild - in the forests and over farmland & fields of Brazil, Bolivia, Uruguay, Paraguay and N.W. Argentina at different altitudes.
  • . Green-cheeked have oil glands they use to preen their feathers
  •  So, do not create the dust found on Cockatiels, cockatoos, and African Grey Parrots. Allergy sufferers may be able to keep one.
                                                                                                                                                       
         Yellow-sided G.C.
  • They can live to 20+ years old

I have created a separate, detailed page dedicated to the Yellow-Sided Green-Cheeked Conures  Click Here

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Basic, General Facts about Conures
Family: Psittacidae
Origin: Aratinga - South and Central America, Mexico

Pyrrhura - throughout South America
Nandayus - south-central regions of South America
Leptosittica - isolated regions of Columbia, Ecuador, and Peru
Ognorhynchus - northern Ecuador
Cyanoliseus - Chile, Argentina, and perhaps Uruguay
Enicognathus - Chile, Argentina, and Tierra del Fuego (Austral); central Chili (Slender-billed)
Guaruba - restricted to small range of northeast Brazil
Size: 8.5-18 inches

Colouration :
 


Aratinga
: (Noisier species)
small to medium size; long tail; broad, heavy bill; naked or partially feathered periophthalmic ring; lores and cheeks fully feathered; cere either naked or hidden by feathers with only the nares exposed; general plumage green except for the Sun Conure subspecies, which is predominantly yellow.

Pyrrhura (Quieter species)  small to medium size; long tail; broad bill with notch in upper mandible; prominent naked cere; general plumage green with the exception of the Maroon-bellied Conure and the Yellow-sided Conure, which show a good deal of brown.

Nandayus: medium size; long tail; bill longer than wider with upper mandibular notch; cere partially feathered with nares exposed; general plumage green.

Leptosittaca: medium size; long tail; partially feathered cere; conspicuous tuft of feathers extends beyond ear coverts; general plumage green.
 
Ognorhynchus: medium size; large, heavy, bill with upper mandibular notch; elongated ear coverts; general plumage green.

Cyanoliseus: large size; long tail; small bill in proportion to size, often partially covered by cheek feathers; feathered cere; general plumage olive brown.

Enicognathus: medium size; long tail; disproportionately small bill; feathered cere; characteristic edging to feathers; Slender-billed Conure has remarkable elongated upper mandible; general plumage dull green.

Guaruba: medium size; long tail; disproportionately large bill; general plumage a rich yellow; wing coverts dark green; bill tan; legs pink.


     Mixed Colours       Blue & Pineapple Conures

Diet: 65-80% quality Pelleted diet is recommended if they will eat it. Also, they like Peanuts, Hemp, Oat meal, Paddy Rice, Buckwheat, Safflower, Small Pine Nuts, Groats, and a small amount of Niger, Small Sunflower and white sunflower seeds.
Remember: sunflower seeds can be addictive!
15-30% vegetables (e.g., greens, carrots, corn-on-the-cob), 5% fruits, and an occasional nut, mealworm, or cricket.
Use many varieties of fruits and vegetables, washed thoroughly.

Conures are prone to "Conure Bleeding Syndrome", which is thought to be caused by a lack of Vitamin K,
(see below) which is found in foods like Broccoli.
Vit K. is the anti-dote to Warfarin (Rat Poison) which works by thinning the blood. So Vit K helps blood clot.

No Avocados
or fruit pips for any bird ~ Poisonous!
Iceberg lettuce, cabbage or parsley should also be avoided.
 
In the wild they eat ~ Grass seeds, Fruits, Cactus, Berries, Nuts, Flowers, Insects, and Grains.

Cage Size: The cage should be a minimum of
18" H x 18" L x 18" W for the smaller species 
up to a minimum of 36" x 36" x 36" for the larger species.

Compatibility/Disposition ~ Conures are generally compatible with other Conures; however, aggression may be a problem during the mating season.
Some differences in the degree of aggression exist between genera (notably, Aratinga is reportedly more aggressive as well as more boisterous and noisy -
Pyrrhura much quieter and more amenable).
However, disposition is generally affectionate, peaceful and playful, especially when socialized and handled at an early age.

Vocalization:
Conures have a harsh and shrill screech.
Louder in the Aratinga genus!  The
Patagonian is reported to have the loudest call of all Conures.
They will pick up human speech with relative ease, especially when exposed at an early age. Some owners and breeders report the Aratinga genus will have better enunciation while the Pyrrhura genus will develop larger vocabularies.

Playfulness: Highly intelligent and curious; love to cuddle; Pyrrhura genus noted to be the consummate escape artist.
So, make sure you have secure locks on cages/Aviaries.
 
Life Span: Up to 35 years

Age at Maturity: 1-3 years
(the smaller Conures mature more quickly)

Sexing: Reliable only via DNA/Surgical Sexing ~  not visually.
 
Love to bathe and will use their water bowl if nothing else is available. Also enjoy showers.
Clever escape artists and acrobats.
Avid chewers (especially the Aratingas) and need to be provided with plenty of toys/wood for this purpose or behaviour will become destructive.
In general, the
Aratinga genus is louder, larger and more aggressive, while the Pyrrhura genus is preferred as a good "first time" Conure due to its quieter and more peaceful disposition.                 
  •  Breeding Season: Throughout the year, depending on genus and species.

  •  When they Breed: They Can start to breed during winter months. (see below for further details).

  •  What Age they start to Breed: The smaller Conures will start to Breed around 1yr old

  •  Type of Nest box: Wooden, similar to Budgie/Cockatiel box

  •  Size of Nest box: 16"high x 8" square made out of 1/2" ply

  •  Av. No of Eggs laid: 4-7 white eggs (av.5)

  •  Incubation Period : 23 days

  •  Who incubates the Eggs :The Hen incubates but the Cock will sit tight next to her, only leaving to feed himself + her

  •  Av. Fledge Age: 7-8 weeks

  •  Close Ring : 12-14 days

  •  Ring Size: N or P (for the Green-cheeks)

                                                                                       
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INFO ON BREEDING by a Green-Cheeked Conure Owner/Breeder ~ John from Merseyside - thanks!

  •  Conures will breed around 1 year old.
  •  All my birds are bred in a Bird Room, during winter months 
  •  I provide lighting ~
    •  Lights come on at around 16.00 hrs in the Summer
    •  Winter : 07.00hrs  and go off at 22.00 hrs.
       
  •  I keep 1 pair in 3ft X2 ft x11/2 ft cage with the nest box on the outside
  •  No heating is given to my birds (but my Aviary is draught free, insulated and lined) 
  •  I only have a Frost stat link to a Heater-tube to prevent the water freezing solid!.
     
  •  Each of my nest boxes have holes cut in the top into which I can pop a wireless-led camera

  •  ~to observe any pair, without disturbing them.

  •  My Nest box sizes are 16 inches high 8 inches square & are made from 1/2"  ply.

  •  I  use fine shredded paper for nesting material / or Easibed

    • they don't make a nest.
       

  •  A breeding pair will lay between 4 to 7 white eggs the average being 5.

  •  Incubation is 23 days

  • The hen incubates but the cock will sit tight next to her, only leaving to feed himself and her.

  •  A few days before the eggs are due to hatch, the hen will begin taking baths,

    • so the humidity must be kept high.
       

  • Soon the chick will peck the shell with an egg tooth on the outside of it's beak.

    • This Egg tooth will later fall off after hatching.
       

  • The shell will either be thrown out or eaten by the parents.

  •  Youngsters fledge around 7/8 weeks and normally stay with their parents for a further 2 weeks.

  •  If the parents  lay a 2nd clutch the first round chicks must be removed as soon as they are weaned .

  •  If chicks need to be sexed I send samples for DNA sexing

  •  but only after ringing ~ normally around 12/14 days.....

  •  Ring size N ~ is the  size for Green-Cheeked conures (next size up from Kakis ~ they are M)

FEEDING

  •  I feed mine on large parakeet mix, Tropical Parrot Mix and millet sprays and fresh fruit and veg daily,

  •  Softfood ~ twice a week.

  •  In the breeding season they get a lot more soft food (E.M.P. Egg food or similar) plus fruit and veg

  •  ~ some are fussy ~ you have to try them out.

  • Conures also enjoy extra treats such as shredded meat or pasta, hard boiled egg, peanut butter, bean sprouts and torn up bread moistened with fruit juices.

  • Anything you eat is pretty much okay with your Conure,
    ~ except for salt, butter and avocado, which is toxic (Poisonous) to birds
     

  • A Conure's diet should consist of a good quality small parrot mix (with a good variation of seeds).

  • supplemented with various fruits, green foods, millet spray, and occasionally some mealworms is generally regarded as suitable.

  • Cuttlefish bone with mineralised grit and/or oyster shell in a separate dish - essential esp. at breeding time.

  • Vitamins can be added to the drinking water or the food.

    • Depends how much the bird drink with Vits in the water!

  • they also enjoy : apples, grapes, many garden vegetables i.e. spinach, watercress, field lettuce, chickweed, dandelions, carrots, corn on the cob, peas, endive, and sweet potatoes.

  • Additional proteins can be offered such as cottage cheese, shredded cooked chicken, hardboiled eggs, peanuts.

  • Fresh, clean water should be provided daily.

CONURES in their Wild Habitat

  •  Conures are classed as either large parakeets or small parrots; despite being rather large for parakeets. 
  •  They are found in the western hemisphere.
  •  All living conure species are found in Central and South America;
    •  the extinct (Conuropsis carolinensis) or Carolina Parakeet was an exception.
     
  •  Conures are lightly built with long tails and small (but deceptively strong) beaks.
  •  Conure beaks always have a small cere and are usually horn-coloured or black.
  •  Most Conure species live in flocks of 20 or more birds.
  •  Nesting Sites in the Wild: Holes carved in sandstone cliffs and Terminate mounds or in naturally formed tree cavities.
  •  Diet in the wild ~ Grass seeds, Fruits, Cactus, Berries, Nuts, Flowers, Insects, and Grains.
    •  Conures often eat grain, which causes them to be treated as agricultural pests in some places
       

HEALTH                                                         ^Top

CONURE BLEEDING SYNDROME
(something you should really be aware of if you own a conure)

  •  When conures were being imported in large numbers, some of them developed a condition called
    Conure bleeding syndrome
  •  Conure bleeding syndrome has been documented in Blue-crowns, Peach-fronts, Half-moons and Patagonians. 
  •  Affected birds suffer episodes of internal bleeding that can eventually kill them, if not treated in time.
  •  These birds have nosebleeds, difficulty breathing, weakness, diarrhoea and excessive urination. 
  • Conure Bleeding Syndrome (CBS) appears in conure species with rapid onset of weakness and drowsiness.
  • The patient may be bleeding from the mouth  or Cloaca.
     
  •  The actual cause is unknown, but a lack of vitamin K, Calcium and other minerals in a birdís diet
    may contribute to conure bleeding syndrome
  • It was found in tests that birds suffering from this condition had low Blood Calcium, D3 levels.
  •  Also, a problem in the Bird's bone marrow inhibits production of healthy Red Blood Cells, which carry oxygen round the body.
    •  Hence, the bird appearing tired/drowsy.
       
  •  So, it is quite imperative that your Conure is given a varied and healthy Diet.
     
  •  Some veterinary experts believe the condition is caused by a virus.
     
  •  Vitamin K is used as an Anti-dote to the Bleeding, as it enables the blood to clot.
    • This can be given by injection ~ your Vet ~ who must be consulted as a matter of URGENCY!
       
  •  PREVENTION is the best way forward
    • ~ feed a varied Healthy Diet rich in Vitamins and minerals inc. Vit.K and Calcium
       
  •  Vitamin K is found in all Dark Green Vegetables (Broccoli, Cabbage, Brussel Sprouts etc.)
    •  It should be present in any Pelleted feed made specifically for Conures (check the back of the packet).

CALCIUM

  • Can be given as an additive i.e. Calcivet added to the water
    • (but then it depends on how much your birds actually drink, as to how much they take on board)!
  •  or you can add the supplement to your soft foods or onto a piece of fruit that you know your bird WILL eat.
  •  Grate Cuttlefish onto soft food or fruit
  •  You can offer small piece of grated cheese (calcium is in the milk used to make the cheese)  
    • ~ but bear in mind birds, in general, are fairly "Lactose Intolerant"
    • ~ so you would only be able to offer small portions.
    •  Goats milk cheese may be better.
  • With good care, a Conure can live up to 40 years,
    •  Although the average life span of a pet Conure is about 15 years. 
       
  • Conures are prone to feather picking, Papillomas, and Psittacine beak and feather disease syndrome (PBFDS). 
  • Conures fed seed-only diets can also develop a vitamin A deficiency (respiratory problems)
  • and other nutritional disorders. 

Papillomas

  • are benign tumours that can appear almost anywhere on a birdís skin, including her foot, leg,
    eyelid or preen gland. 
  • These tumours, which are caused by a virus, ( bit like a wart) can appear as small, crusty lesions,
    or they may be raised growths that have a bumpy texture or small projections. 
  • If a bird has a papilloma on her Cloaca, the bird may appear to have a wet raspberry coming out of her vent. 
  • Many Papillomas can be left untreated without harm to the bird, but some must be removed by an avian veterinarian because a bird can pick at the growth and cause it to bleed.

Feather Plucking

  • Conure owners, particularly those who own Nandays and Sun Conures, need to be on the alert for
    feather plucking. 
  • You will see feathers on the floor of the cage and scruffy or even bald spots on your bird. 
  • Conures who suddenly begin picking at their feathers, especially those under the wings, may have an
    intestinal parasite called
    Giardia. 
  • If you notice that your bird suddenly starts pulling her feathers out, contact your avian vet for an evaluation. 
  • Other causes to consider include poor diet, low humidity, infrequent baths, and lack of access to regular periods of light. 
  • Psychological causes for feather picking can include boredom, insecurity, breeding frustrations, nervousness,
    and stress - which covers a multitude of "sins"!  
     

    ^Top
     

  • Conures are fairly easy to breed.

  • They must first adapt themselves to their environment/Aviary before they will breed.

  • Once they do breed, however, they will continue to breed year after year.

  • Due to the destruction of their natural habitats, all conures shall ideally be breed in captivity to insure continuation of each species.

  • Smaller conure species are ready to breed at 1+ years and the larger at 3 1/2 to 4 years.
       

  • The sex of most conures is difficult to determine by physical characteristics alone even if you are an experienced breeder.

  • In some birds sex can be determined by iris colouring

    • females having red while males have black,

    • and in several birds sexes can be distinguished by differences in the coloration of their plumage.

    • Pelvic bones may be closer on a male and wider on the female (similar to Lovebirds).

    • The sex on all others must be determined by either a surgical probe, endoscopy, which can be
      done by many Avian vets

    • DNA testing, usually a blood sample or a few plucked feathers sent to be diagnosed in a lab.
      or a chromosomal analysis.
       

  • They will need a nest box placed up high that has a layer of "Easibed" or similar + peat, or other soft materials.
    Don't have anything that's too soft and easy to move as the pair will flick the bedding up and away to clear one corner of the nestbox and this is where they lay on the bare wooden bottom.

    If you have too much subsrate in there you risk them losing or damaging the eggs and then losing the chicks when they are first hatched!!
     

    • Both Pyrrhura (green-cheek + maroon bellied need a nest box that is approx 8"x8"x8" (neatly-sized)
       

    • Aratinga (Sun Conures + Nandays) need a nest box that is approx 10"x10"x10" (25 x 25 x 25cm).

    • Humidity is best at between 50 - 55%.
        

    • After mating, the female will spend a lot of time in the box as does the Cockbird.

    • The cockbird helps prepare the nest prior to the hen laying and can spend quite a lot of time in there until the hen is imminent.
      Once the hen lays, however the cockbird usually stays outside the box keeping guard and leaves the hen to incubate - Going in to check all is o.k. and feeding her.

    • Hen lays an egg every other day until she has laid between 3 to 8 eggs.

    • She will brood for approximately 22 -27days. (depending on the species).

    • The young will leave the nest when they are about 50 days old.

 

 

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