Conures

Identification and Profiles of the Conure

Taxonomy

The Genera of Conures

There is disagreement over which genera to include for the common name "conure". In Taming and Training Conures by Risa Teitler, we have seven genera - aratinga, nandayus, leptosittaca, ognorhynchus, cyanoliseus, pyrrhura, and enicognathus. Tony Silva's Psittaculture lists eleven genera - thectocercus, guaruba, psittacara, aratinga, nandayus, eupsittula, leptopsittaca, ognorhynchus, cyanoliseus, pyrrhura, and enicognathus. Joseph Forshaw's Parrots of the World does not clearly state what genera are to be included under the name "conure". He does, however, include the golden conure under the genus aratinga whereas Silva places it in its own genus guaruba. Silva's thectocercus, psittacara, and eupsittula are no where mentioned in Forshaw. To settle this disagreement, let us do what most aviculturists do - include only pyrrhura and aratinga and agree that the rest of the name include the monotypic genera that have conure species as well as enicognathus. We generally shall not include the genus conuropsis (the Carolina parakeet) as a conure. (This was the only parrot native to the mainland of the United States. It is now extinct. It was once distributed from New York to Southern Florida, west to Colorado and the Dakotas, etc.)

Besides the scientific nomenclature, how else can one unite all genera of "conure". According to Tony Silva's Psittaculture, conures, as a many genera collective name, share these common features (the first is a distribution characteristic, the second is of physical description, the third is of breeding, and the fourth through sixth regard neonate status): (1) they are neo-tropical in distribution, (2) they are monomorphic, (3) only the female incubates, (4) the chick s have a light-colored initial down that is replaced by a secondary down, usually darker in color, (5) all chicks possess a soft, bulbous swelling to the sides of the mandibles, and (6) all chicks are born with the ear openings closed.

Physical Description

Besides the scientific nomenclature and general unifying common characteristics of the conure, one wonders how, based on their physical appearance (their feather color and appearance and overall size), they can be identified and distinguished. Generally all are with long, gradated tails. Their size varies from 8.7 inches to 17.7 inches. The smallest are the painted and brown-breasted conures and the largest is the patagonian conure. Conures, when fitting for the aviator harness, are either "petite" - which is for 70-110 g - or "XS" which is 110-190g. The former is in a category with cockatiels and is meant for green-cheek conures. The latter is in a group with senegals, caiques, and ringnecks. Below we list a general unifying characteristic followed by length and weight information for the following species. (If the weight is not given, it is not known.)

All members of the genus pyrrhura are green. They display a scalloped bib, unique to this group. This is an extremely large group but only three species are commonly available in aviculture. The pyrrhura conures range from 8.7 inches to 11.8 inches. The 8.7 inch conures are the painted at 55 g(p. picta) [common] and brown-breasted (p. calliptera) [ unavailable]; 9.1 white-eared (p. leucotis) [rare]; 9.4 pearly (p. perlata) [available], white-necked (p. albipectus) [endangered], rose-crowned (p. rhodocephala) [unavailable], maroon-tailed (p. melanura) [common], and hoffman's (p. hoffmanni) [rare]; 9.8 yellow-sided (p. hypoxantha) [unavailable], fiery-shouldered (p. egregia) [almost extinct], santa marta (p. viridicata) [endangered], red-eared (p. hoematotis) [unavailable], and black-capped (p. rupicola) [available]; 10.2 blaze-winged (p. devillei) [available], green--cheek at 60-80 g (p. molinaei) and maroon-bellied (p. frontalis) [available]; 11.8 blue-throated (p. cruentata) [rare].

The aratinga conures are typically green with white eye rings and only few species, the jenday and sun conures, are mostly yellow or have colored eye rings. The aratinga conures have a length that varies from 9.4 inches to 15 inches. At 9.4 inches there is the orange-fronted conure at 73 g (a. canicularis) [common];9.8 brown-throated (a. pertinax) [common], cactus (a. cactorum) [unavailable];10.2 peach-fronted (a. aurea) [common], olive-throated (a. nana) [common], and cuban at 240 g (a. euops) [rare]; 11 dusky-headed (a. weddellii), 90 g [common] and finsch's (a. finschi) [common]; 11.8 golden-capped (a. auricapilla) [common], jandaya at 120 g (a. jandaya) [common], and sun at 100-130 g (a. solstitalis) [common]; 12.6 green conure (a. holochlora) [common], white-eyed at 140 g (a. leucopthalamus) [common], hispaniolan (a. chloroptera) [common]; 12.9 red-masked or cherry-headed at 200 g (a. erythrogenys) [common]; 14 red-fronted (a. wagleri) [rare];14.5 blue-crowned conure (a. acuticaudata), 84-100 g[common]; 15 mitred at 200 g (a. mitrata) [common].

The enicognathus conures have two species and are medium-sized birds with long, gradated tails. The bill is proportionately small and the cere is completely feathered. The plumage is characterized by dark edging to the feathers. Young birds resemble adults. The enicognathus conures are two. At 13 inches is the austral (e. ferrugineus). At 15.7 inches is the slender-billed (e. leptorhynchus). These conures are unavailable in aviculture.

The guarbua conure is 13.3 inches and is the golden, or Queen of Bavaria, conure at 270 g (g. guarouba). They are generally rich yellow in plumage with primaries, secondaries, and outer wing-coverts as dark green. The golden conure was formerly classified as aratinga guarouba but it is now a species in the monotypic genus guaruba. Its scientific name is thus guaruba guarouba.

The cyanoliseus conure, the patagonian conure, is a large bird with, as with the other conures, a long, gradated tail. It is with a proportionately small bill that is partly concealed by the cheek feathers. The cere is feathered and young birds resemble adults. The cyanoliseus conure is 17.7 inches and is the patagonian conure at 315-390 g (c. patagonus). Other parrot species that are its size include the Amazon. Vasa parrot, Cuban macaw, and Red-bellied macaw.

The leptosittaca conure has a tuft of elongated feathers extending beyond the ear-coverts. The bird is medium-sized with, like the other conures, a long, gradated tail. The cere, unlike the other conures, is partly feathered. The leptosittaca conure is 13.8 inches and is the golden-plumed conure (l. branickii).

The ognorhynchus conure is medium-sized with, like the other conures, a long, gradated tail. The bill is unlike the enicognathus and cyanoliseus - it is proportionately large and it is heavy. There is a notch in the upper mandible. The ognorhynchus conure is 11.5 and is the yellow-eared conure (o. icterotis). This parrot is almost extinct.

The nandayus is medium-sized and its tail is like the other conures. The bill is longer than it is deep and, like with the ognorhynchus, it has a notch in the upper mandible. The cere is only partly feathered and the nares are exposed. Like with the other conures, except for the aratinga, the young resemble adults. The nandayus conure has only one species and that is 11.8 inches at 140 g - nanday (nandayus nenday).

After knowing conure size, one might wonder how adult birds be distinguished from immatures. Generally all the species within the genera of conures have different adult and juvenile plumage. Since there are over forty species of conures, and since the market only has about eleven species for sale, I will only list the adult/juvenile distinction for the species that are on the market right now. We cannot speak about this distinction for the genera, only for the species basis. So, let us look at the black-capped conure, the blue-crowned, the dusky, the golden-capped, the green-cheek, the jendaya, the sun, the nanday, the patagonian and the golden. The black-capped conure has immatures similar to adults but with carpal edge green with a few red feathers. The adult, like most pyrrhura, is a green bird. The carpal edge of the adult is red. The blue-crowned conure has immatures with blue restricted to forehead and crown and a tinge of blue never present on breast. The adult bird has dull blue on the forehead and crown. The difference between the two is very slight. What marks the adult is the sometimes tinge with blue on its breast. The dusky conure does not have a clear distinction between the two life phases though it is guessed that immatures are probably similar to adults. Golden-capped conures has the immature bird as with head markings less pronounced, particularly with yellow on (1) the forecrown. The adult has a golden-yellow forecrown. (2) The cheeks of the immatures are deeper green, whereas those of the adult are washed with yellow. The immature have little or no red edgings to feathers of (3) rump and lower back, while the adults do have these edged with red. Full coloration is not achieved until the birds are two years of age. The green-cheek conure does not have a distinction between the two life phases. Jendaya conures has immatures with (1) head and neck pale yellow variably marked with green whereas the adult has its head and neck yellow. The adult has orange on (2) the forehead whereas the immature does not. The immature has paler orange-red on (2) breast and abdomen, whereas the adult just has these orange-red. So, paleness marks the immatures. Sun conures have a very detailed distinction between the two but generally the immatures have their crown marked with green and the adults have this as orange or yellow. The bill of the immature is paler. It takes two to three years for the juvenile to reach adult coloration. The golden conure has immatures with breast lightly marked with dull green. The adult bird has a yellow breast. Nanday immatures are similar to adults with less blue on throat and upper breast'; they have a shorter tail. The patagonian conure juvenile is like the adult but with horn-colored upper mandible and iris pale grey. Generally speaking, it is difficult to distinguish the adult from juvenile golden conure. Advice from an expert is the best solution for determining the age of a golden if unknown.

Although they are monomorphic, some have said there is a way to distinguish male from female aratinga birds. The males of many speices of aratinga birds (mitred, sun, jenday, peach-fronted, orange-fronted) have either a larger body size, more massive upper mandible or added (or intense) coloration on parts of their bodies.

There are some species of conure that are similar enough to cause confusion in identification. The same problem occurs in macaws (e.g., blue-throated/blue-and-gold, greenwinged/scarlet, buffon's/military). Part of the look-a-like species is in their common name. Sun and Jenday conures are one of these. Sun conures have quite a bit of yellow on the outside of their wing whereas jendays do not have this. The maroon-bellied and green-cheek are another. [INCOMPLETE]

It will be said, as it has already, that conures are very similar to macaws. Conure do not, however, have color facial feathers that traverse a white facial patch. This is reserved for the ara species only, not the aratinga.

Topography

Geographical Range

The geographical range for the conures differ. The aratinga is from Texas to Argentina and the West Indies. Cyanoliseus is from southern South America. Enicognathus is from southern most South America. Guaruba is from Brazil. Nandayus is from Brazil to Argentina. Leptosittaca is from Colombia to Peru. Ognorhynchus is from Colombia to Ecuador. Pyrrhura is from Panama to Argentina. Nearly all of them are tropical or subtropical although patagonian conures are found at the tip of South America in areas that have very severe winters. A few species of conures, the aratinga, are found on the islands of the Caribbean.

Habitat

Conures, in South America, inhabit tropical rainforests and semi-arid savannahs. Let us go over some conure's habitats. We will only go over conures that are available on the market. The golden conure is found in lowland rainforest and near Brazil-nut plantations at altitudes of up to 500m. They forage in tall forest. They are nomadic. Sun conures are found in open savanna, savanna woodland, forested valleys, and secondary growth forests. The dusky-headed conure is found in lowland, mainly water associated forest. They occur in varzea and floodplain forest and tall growth in swamps. They are also found in forest remnants in humid savanna and cleared areas with patches of trees. The jendaya conure occurs in deciduous woodland, cerrado, scrub and areas cleared of wet forest. They are also found at edge of humid forest and caatinga. They are an occasional visitor into farmland and pasture areas. The nanday conure occurs in lowlands including moister parts of the eastern chaco, pantanal and cattle rangeland with palms. The green-cheeked conure is seen in dense, low forests and woodlands with glades, primary and secondaqry, including fringes of chaco, savanna, deciduous and gallery woodland in pantanal. Also in moist, mossy cloud forest on E Andes where seen up to 2,900m. The black-capped conure (pyrrhura rupicola) is found up to 300m, in humid lowland tropical forest, including Varzea and terra firme. Generally the aratinga species dwell in all kinds of habitats like savannas, tropical rainforests, deserts, mountains, and seas.

Ecology

Conures thrive in flocks. Nandays, which live either alone or in flocks of twenty to thirty birds, inhabit the mountains or wide open space. As we saw above in the habitat section, conures inhabit a great diversity of habitats. Other conures live togerther in small groups spending time grooming each other. The gold-capped, jenday, and sun conures all have the same courtship behavior, nesting, calling, and movement habits. The blue-crowned conure flocks in the hundreds. They generally flock and fly overhead and feed in trees and bushes. They are not shy. They nest in a tree's hollow. Little is known about the golden's ecology. Green conures also flock (in noisy flocks). Finsch's ocnures flock too. Red-fronteds flock in the hundreds. Mitreds too. Same with white-eyed conures. Hispaniolan conures flock too as do Cubans (in treetops). No records for the golden-capped conure's flocking behavior. Jandaya are seen singly, in pairs, or in small flocks of ten to fifteen birds. Sun conures flock. Dusky's may flock too. Olive-throated conures are seen in pairs or flocks from five to thirty. Orange-fronted conures flock. Brown-throated conures are in pairs or small parties, though they may flock when there is food avaialble. Cactus conures are in pairs or in small parties of up to eight birds. Peach-fronted conures are in pairs or in flocks from ten to thirty or more. Golden-plumed conures travel in small flocks. Yellow-eared conures have unknown ecology. Patagonian conures have very large flocks. Large flocks seen in treetops for most pyrrhura. Marron-tailed conures fly about in groups of from six to twelve individuals at times in large flocks. Austral conures flock in groups of ten to one hundred or more. Slender-billed conures flock noisily.

Acquisition

Why Conures are Sought Out

There are many reasons people seek to purchase conures. First, they are great family pets, not one-person birds (like the African grey and Amazon). Second, they adapt easily to their new environment and family's schedule. Third, there are many types of conures that are ideal for first or experienced bird owners. Fourth, conures are great alone or in groups. Fifth, they do not require much space. Conures are good family pets because they "are not intimidating looking so kids are willing to handle them", says Jamie Whittaker.

Choosing a Conure Species as a Pet

The onlooker is likely to find the following species on the market: blue-crowned (aratinga acuticaudata), dusky (a. weddellii), green-cheeked (pyrrhura molinae), jandaya (a. jandaya), nanday (nandayus nenday), orange-fronted (half-moon) (a. canicularis), peach-fronted (a. aurea), and sun (a. solstitialis). Prices tend to be lower for the less colorful species, such as orange-fronted or half-moon conures, and higher for the colorful species, such as the sun conure.

It should be noted that the choice of a golden conure is really something that is not often done nor has been over the past thirty years. These birds have not been found in rescues and given up for adoption. They are unique in this regard.

The Market for Each Conure Genera

The market for each of the genera varies considerably. You can expect to pay $500-600 for a black cap conure. (Howard Voren says that "[a]lthough they are a hair more pricey than the maroon-bellied and the green-cheek, they are more than worth it". ) Blue-crowns go for over $2,000. Crimson-bellied conures are between $700 and $800. Duskies go for $500-800. Gold-cappeds go for $500-1,000. The golden conure ranges from $4,500 to $5,500. The green-cheek conure goes from $350 to $800. Although jendays and suns look alike, the sun commands a much higher price. Jendays are $700-900. Nandays are as high as $900. Sun conures are between $600 and $1,500. Prices of all parrots have gone up considerably lately, so, if these prices seem high, that is just the market. Other species of conure are not listed here because the market does not have them readily available. Leptosittaca and ognorhynchus conures are almost extinct. The market for hybrid conures is really nonexistent today. Whereas hybrid macaws are very popular, hybrid conures are not.

Who I Recommend a Conure to

The various conures are all very different. Let us look at what is available in the avicultural market. Sun and jenday conures have been described as being "sassy" to me. This kind of bird might be for an owner who can tolerate this kind of behavior. Perhaps an owner who lives in an apartment. I have seen a good match of a sun conure with a young (lesbian) anesthesiologist. I have also seen a good placement with the elderly. They also do well as a general family pet. This kind of bird is best for someoene who can tolerate its loud noise. It is a bird I can recommend to almost anyone - both young and old, rich and poor, introverted and extroverted, etc. Mitred conures are also a good choice for families. They are, however, not available and would be difficult to find on today's market. The golden conure is a good choice for just aobut anyone who would be a good fit for the sun (or jenday). It has a much higher price tag so I would recommend it for those who can afford more. Duskies are a good choice for those wanting a more affectionate aratinga. They tend to demand even more attention than a sun or jenday conure. They are smaller in size, however. They are also less colorful. I would recommend them to someone who has the time to deal with a small bird that demands much. First off, my recommendation for any conure is that the owner be willing to spend much money on a stainless steel cage for the bird, purchase a post wingabago carrier, buy top-flight organic pellets (Harrison's), pay for year avian veterinarian trips, buy toys and perches from Polly's Pet Products, etc. The conure is a yappy, jappy bird that does best in a jappy milieu of parrotphernalia. Even though they are not as expensive as, say, the very jappy hyacinth (or its rivals the palm cockatoo or Queen of Bavaria), they cannot be a good pet without what I recommend. The species on the market are very good examples of yappy, jappy conures. They are the birds seen in the photos that market very expensive bird products (e.g., the Animal Environments Acacia cage). This is a cheap bird that does best with opulence. It is not a budgerigar, a cockatiel, a poicephalus, a brotogeris, etc. It is a bird that has a lot of whimsical sass that needs you to cater to its demands and do so well. Those who have conures tend to really like their birds so this is generally a good species to have. I widely recommend them though I add the caveat that you spend a lot of money on them. (This I do not really do for lories, poicephalus, etc.). I want your conure to look like the bird in the picture that Animal Environments has for its Acacia cage. That's the aim - can you do that?

Behavior

Behavioral Traits and Dispositions

Since aratinga and pyrrhura are the most popular and are the two that are on the market (besides the guaruba), one may wonder how the dispositions of, say, pyrrhura differ from those of, say, aratinga. Let us look at the differences between the aratinga and the pyrrhura first. The pyrrhura is arguably less (1) destructive, (2) quieter, and (3) much more affectionate than the aratinga. The difference between the two genera is (4) in color too. As for being destructive, the aratinga loves to chew whereas the pyrrhura does not. As for being quieter, the pyrrhura makes vocalizations less frequently than the aratinga species, like the sun conure. (The dusky, however, is quieter like the pyrrhura, jenday, mitred, or half-moon conure.) They are much more suited for apartment living than the aratinga. The pyrrhura is (5) smaller, being roughly ten inches. The aratinga is about twelve inches. Both are known as being (6) "nippy". This could be a seasonally hormonal behavior or the species' reaction to the rough play it likes. Both are (7) not one-person birds, they are family pets. They both are (8) not good talkers. When they do talk, this is not in a clear voice. They are (9) not dimorphic. Now let us look at the guaruba. The guaruba guarouba is much louder than the aratinga. Both the guaruba and aratinga are very playful. A golden conure likes to play rough - often wrestling with its owner. Aratinga like this rough play too (though you have to be careful not to get nipped as they tend to go into overload behavior like the Amazon often does).

It should be noted that, as far as pyrrhura go, three memberes - the maroon-bellied, the green-cheek, and the black-capped - are the most common three and, as luck has it, have the best pet potential of the entire pyrrhura group.

One may also wonder what the genera of conures have in common. The behaviors that the genera have in common are as follows. Conures are usually very loud and this almost unites the genera. The pyrrhura conures are quieter than the aratinga, eupsittaca, and psittacara (says Silva). The enicognathus conures tend to be very independent and dislike being touched.

Some wonder how affectionate the various conures are. The female aratinga tends to be cuddly and affectionate. They are not, however, a big white cockatoo. Some people have stated patagonian conures are a misplaced cockatoo because they are so cuddly. Some think this true of both male and female patagonians.

Talking Ability

Conures, all genera of them, are not good talkers. However, the mimicking genus of the patagonian conure is a good mimicker. The best talker is the blue-crowned.

Training

Conures can learn tricks. Jamie Whittaker says conures can be trained to come in and out of the cage, stay on their playstand, perform tricks, bow, go to people, and be groomed. Sexual maturity might make the owner think that there is behavioral training to be done. Instead, the owner should focus on controlling the environment that induces breeding behavior. This means that the owner must control lighting, monitor petting, and reduce protein rich food during aggressive times.

Sex of Your Bird

Knowing the sex of your conure may be important for understanding your bird's behavior, vocalizations, developmental phase(s), and parental role (if a breeder). You want to be able to tell the sex of your bird - for any of the conures - by visual sexing as they are not sexually dimorphic. Pyrrhura have differences in behavior for each sex. Male pyrrhuras tend to explore more whereas females do not as much. [What does this mean?]. Female sun conures tend to be quieter than males. Male aratinga conures are more likely to be a bit territorial around their cage and favorite people. If they were good talkers, male sun conures would be better because they are more vocal. Generally speaking, in some conures, the males are more territorial and therefore unlikely to behave around changes and intruders. Males tend to be more vocal which can be positive in talking and negative in screaming. Females tend to be more affectionate and cuddly. The various conures reach sexual maturity at different ages. The green-cheek conure reaches maturity at one year of age. The golden conure has this later - at about three years of age. For the range of all conures, this is one to three years.

Aviary or Pet Birds?

Conures, all the genera, are best, when handfed, kept as pets rather than aviary subjects. You can house them in an aviary, however, in groups since they do well in groups.

Developmental Phases

Conures have developmental phases that go hand in hand with their maturity. Physical maturity is as follows. The pyrrhura mature at eight to twelve months of age. The gold-capped and brown-throated mature at twelve to eighteen months. The green conure group matures at two years old. These statistics are for domestic-bred, hand-raised birds. Babies raised and weaned by their parents will mature in about half the time. The other conures mature between one and three years old though generally they reach sexual maturity at one year of age. They can go through an aggressive and territorial nippy phase around the time that they are reaching maturity or about to go into the breeding season.

Behavioral Problems

Some genera have certain behavioral problems that can be prevented or managed. These include screaming, territorialism, aggression, and biting. The aratinga species, especially the sun conure, can scream for attention. With both aratinga and pyrrhura early behavioral training to prevent screaming for attention is necessary. (The solution to this behavioral problem is to reward the bird for being quiet by giving him attention, verbal praise, and treats. When the conure calls to you, answer in a whisper to reinforce that a soft voice is the level you are looking for.) Male aratinga conures are likely to be territorial around their cage and favorite people. Any of the conures can have aggressive behavior due to hormonal fluctuations. Conures can become hormonal and this can be a problem. Complaints of regurgitation are common. Males can shred paper and get broody. Hormones can be increased by the lighting in the room (so a schedule for lighting will help with molt, breeding, etc). Hormone fluctuations can cause aggression and nippy behavior. When a conure is going through puberty or facing the breeding season, their change in hormones can cause them to act aggressive. In green-cheek conures, puberty occurs around one to two years of age. During this time, they will bite, masturbate, and rub themselves all over you whenever they want. Puberty can last from a few months to over a year. During the conure's adolescence, they will have little mood swings, develop new habits, and are obviously more aggressive. Conures do make nests though not necessarily for their favorite person.

The disposition of hybrid conures has been said to be uneven. They are known to have behavioral problems including aggression and feather plucking.

Housing

Species Requirements for Caging

Conures need housing that is safe and healthy. The choice of a cage (or aviary) should be based on the species of conure, the number of conures, and the amount of time the conures will spend in the cage or aviary. Improper housing can cause escapes, injuries, and even death. Unfortuantely proper housing seems to elude bird owners. We recommend that customers consider the Animal Environments Acacia cage for their pet conures. This cage has horizontal bars. Horizontal bars create easy foot holds that can be hung from with a minimum of effort. Sides with horizontal bars encourage the conure to get its exercise by climbing. While they can certainly climb up and down vertical cage bars if they really want to, they must have more motivation to do so. It should be noted that fewer horizontal bars in cages are the mainstream market for cages today. While we recommend the Acacia , the Amazon cage can be made with horizontal bars too. For golden and patagonian conures we recommend the Animal Environments cockatoo cage. This has vertical bars, which have to be held on to tightly enough so the bird does not slide down them. If you are housing breeding pairs of conures, we recommend considering a Luxor cage.

The food and water feeders of these cages are where the conure(s) can easily get to them. They are away from perches - they are not underneathg them - and this avoids contamination. The conure cannot overturn them either.

The Placement of the Cage

Conures are very social and loud birds, for the most part, excluding the pyrrhura species. Cage placement is best put in high traffic areas, as goes for most other parrots. They can go in a bird room or aviary too. They, hwoever, if kept singly, do best in a high traffic place. If you have more than one, perhaps an aviary will allow them to form social hierachies and societiies and this be a substitute for the family's pet scenario described above. Conures can cofm their own clique, and social order in an aviary. You can place the aviary away from family business in another section of your house.

Perches

The Animal Environments cages come with perches - they are made of manzanita wood. These help keep the conure's mandible in good condition. Besides the perches that the cage comes with, there are other perches that you can purchase. We work with Polly's Pet Products and have a full catalog of items that you can browse through. The perches, however, that we recommend include the following.

Natural irregular-maple/apple perches have a therapeutic value of offering irregularity, providing weight of bird to be spread out at different pressure points. They also are therapeutic in that they allow for chewing which stimulates breeding. As far as cleaning and disinfecting goes, they can be cleaned under water pressure and oxyfresh cleaned. They are difficult to disinfect, so, cooking them is an option. We recommend that you throw them out when they are worn. The benefits of this kind of perch is that it is edible. The benefits of trimming of the beaks is inexpensive. It is now found in pet stores. These perches promote breeding behavior too. They decrease boredom. We caution that you avoid collecting these perches from sappy species. We caution that you avopid trees treated with pesticides. Leg bands can get caught in the ends of branches, so this needs to be of caution too. The main notes, to sum up this product type, is that they are inexpensive, they wash with oxyfresh to prevent outdoor undesirable pests to be brought indoors

Rope perches have a therapeutic value that is excellent in preventing and healing pressure sores, bumblefoot, etc. They are ideal for arthritic feet and obese birds. For cleaning and disinfecting you should clean the rope perch under water. You must dry them. They are, however, difficult to disinfect. The benefits of these perches is that they offer amusement, they are easily positioned in the cage, they can alternate postioining, and they have various sizes available. A note of caution is that they are difficult to dry after cleaning, they must be replaced when worn out, and you must trim the fray part when worn of the cotton rope.

Concrete (regular and undulated) perches have a therapeutic value of none other than maintaining nails, keeping them trimmed, and offering a stable grip for fledglings. For cleaning and disinfecting they are easily scrubbed under water and soap and a disinfectant. They are easily dried. For benefits they maintain trimmed nails.

The therapeutic perch has a therapeutic value of being non abrasive and offering irregularity and variable grip. For cleaning and disinfecting they are easily cleaned and dired and completely disinfectable.

Perch diameter should be between ½ to 5/8 in (1.3-1.6 cm).

Place a perch on high - the highest position in the cage - because they like to sleep at the highest level in an aviary or cage.

Playpen

Conures need a certain kind of recreation that other parrots do not need. They need to climb, unlike the cockatiel, poicephalus, budgerigar, lovebird, parrotletm et al. A playgym with a ladder and multiple platforms does this parrot justice. They need to hang and swing, perhaps from a ceiling toy or swing. The habits in play of the different conure genera are different. The aratinga and the guaruba are much more rough in their play - sometimes they want to wrestle their owners. The pyrrhura are much more mellow and gentle. We do not recommend a T-stand because this provide no opportunity for the conure to climb. A tree playstand, though no portable, is the perfect way to let your conure entertain itself for several hours (and it is even possible to make yourself). We do recommend what is the closet product to an old avicultural product called "the Parrot Tower" (and this we sell). This allows the conure to climb and thus provides the best enrichment and recreation.

Hygiene

The best way to ensure hygiene for your pet is to get a stainless steel cage. This keeps the environment free from the nonsense that makes for poor health in pet birds. You can be sure that the bird will be healthier and happier in a cage that is flawless and very easy to clean. We recommend Animal Environments for this reason. Other habitats include CagesByDesign, Avian Accents, Palace Cages, Hagen, and Penn-Plex cages. These are not perfect cages and they thus allow for a lot of nonsense and sickness and poor hygiene. There are cages that look like furniture - with air systems instaled, bars of the interior, tray systems, and other features. These cages do not stay on the market and are thus not good quality. They are not steel enclosures and their material is not the most hygenic. There are also plastic cages out there - though these deteriorate and are thus not resistant to dust and other unhygenic factors. They can also crack if there is rough demineralizing dust! The Animal Environments cage is absolutely able to withstand a lot of nonsense and is perfect for the species of birds in today's market. They are the best solution to hygiene and they thus keep our birds at their very best.

Toys

Conures should have toys of small parrots. Golden conures do well on toys (e.g., boings) that hang from the ceiling. Aratinga generally like rough play, so, that should be taken into consideration. For territorial conures, perhaps consider a Kong toy. You should, however, minimize the possibility of the bird being possessive of the toy. Thgis can prevent that behavioral problem .

Diet

All the genera covered by the collective name conure have the same dietary needs, it is generally assumed. Conures can suffer from obesity. The conure diet must consist of enough nutritious, low-fat food to keep the fat buildup to a minimum. Fat birds get lazy and stop producing.

Preparing the Food Mix

The food intake must be monitored daily. As with all animals, conures need a proper balance of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water. Without a balanced diet, and this is very common (most birds that are seen at the vet, eighty percent of them at least, have nutritional problems), conures may develop health problems such as, and they are prone to this, vitamin A deficiencies, obesity, and Conure Bleeding Syndrome (CBS). Because of CBS, it is recommended that a conure's diet be calcium enriched and that the bird be fed Vitamin K rich foods. The diet of conures, however, is like that of any medium-sized parrot. In the wild, conures eat seed, nuts, fruit, berries, and vegetation. Carbohydrates make up the majority of the diet of conures in the wild (Thompson, "The Joys of Conures in Aviculture", AFA Watchbird May/June 1994). They feed in the treetops. In captivity, however, we must feed them the following. Seeds should only be a small part of a diet. Nuts should be given even less - just a few a day. Pellets are a must. There are different pellet formulations for different life stages and for the management of certain diseases. Pellets should be seventy-five to eighty percent of the conure's diet. Fruits and vegetables should be twenty to twenty-five percent of the daily diet.

Queen of Bavaria conures (Aratinga guarouba) have higher dietary fat requirements.

Vitamins and Minerals

Supplements may not be needed if the bird has seventy-five to eighty percent of its diet as pellets.

Breeding

Behavior of Breeding Conures

The breeding season for conures varies by the species. Generally, they are spring and summer breeders. [CONTACT CONURE BREEDERS AND ASK] The ease of breeding the conure genera varies. Green-cheeks and sun conures are easy to breed - as with the white-eyed and red-throated (orange-throated) conures. Allow conures to choose their own mates. Conures do much better when kept in separate pairs than when put in a colony. Conures like to chew, so, wooden nest boxes are better than metal ones. The boxes for a conure to use range greatly in size and shape (from the cockatiel nestbox to deep, vertical, slanked and boot-shaped boxes.) Conures have a simple courtship, if any at all. They are monogamous birds, unlike the eclectus or vasa parrot. Aratinga birds lay three to seven eggs. Golden conures lay three to five. The patagonian conure lays three to four. The austral conure lays four to eight. The slender-billed conure lays three to four. The nanday lays three to four. Conures are generally good parents. Eggs or young can be interchanged sucessfully among aratinga and pyrrhura conures. Gold-capped are usually willing to nest at anytime of the year, except when too hot. They nest up to four times per year. Three babies per clutch is common. They have two subspeices. The nominate race is a. auricapilla auricapilla. This is common. The rare subspecies is the a.a.aurifrons. The rarer subspecies is like the nominate but the sides of the head, throat, and upper breast are deeper green without any yellowish tinge. It also has no red margins to feather of runmp and lower back. Full adult coloration does not occur until the bird is two years old. The jenday makes excellent parents and they can nest year-round unless, like the gold-capped, the weather is too hot. Nestlings number two to four. The jenday has no subspecies. The sun conure is on the average only slightly smaller than the jenday or gold-capped. The requirements for breeding and maintaining suns is exactly the same as it is for jendays and gold-cappeds. They stgart nesting in November and breed until August in South Florida. They start again in November. Nestlings number ten in one season. [INCOMPLETE]

Weaning

Conures usually wean between eight and ten weeks. Some green-cheeks can wean around twelve weeks.

Mutations

The following conures have mutations: Green-cheek conure (blue, cinnamon, parblue, turquoise <recessive mutation>, yellow-sided, pineapple <cinnamon and opaline>, turquoise yellow-sided, turquoise cinnamon, turquoise pineapple, mint <dilute turquoise>, suncheek <dilute cinnamon opaline>, jade <misty>, violet - single factor and double factor mutation combinations also exists), sun conure (lutino, pied, blue), dusky-headed (blue, lutino), golden-crowned (blue, cinnamon), maroon-bellied (cinnamon, lutino), nanday (cinnamon, lutino, blue, dilute), painted (pied), sharp-tailed (blue, lutino), blue-crowned (lutino), half-moon (blue), mitred, orange-headed, golden-capped (cinnamon), and patagonian (lutino). More mutations are established in the green-cheeked conure than in any other conure species.

Hybridization

Hybrids can occur should members from different genus, species, or subspecies interbreed. For example, the sun and jenday conure hybrid is called a 'sunday'. Some say that the sunday looks too much like either of the original parents. The bird, says Voren, "looks identical to the black-eyed jenday in body coloration". There is also the sunday blood (sunday x jenday).

The following hybrids exist in aviculture: aratinga x pyrrhura (though they have a high chick mortality rate, many are born with birth defects, living only a few months of age), cherry-headed x sun conures, green-cheek x sun conures, sun x blue-crowned conures, nanday x half-moon conures, nanday x sun conures (these are called nansun), sun x dusky conures, cherry-head x mitred conures, mitred x wagler conures, jenday x dusky conures, and the list goes on. These birds tend to have behavioral issues like aggression and feather plucking. They can also have problems like egg binding. There are many pyrrhura hybrids because people could not tell the subspecies apart. These are called subspecies hybrids. Blue-crowned conures, sun conures, and nandays have been known to hybridize with Hahn's macaws, and a mitred conure hybridized with a Noble macaw. The close relationship of ara to aratinga has been demonstrated by this fact (Bird Breeder April 1994, p. 39).

There are some names given to conure hybrids. These include the 'sunday' - a cross between the sun conure and the jenday - and the nansun - a cross between the nanday and the sun conure. Sunday blood - sunday x jenday.

Health

Common Health Problems with Conures

There are certain common health problems that conures are susceptible to that you should be aware of. Conures are susceptible to viral infections such as Proventricular Dilation Disease (PDD), polyomavirus, and herpesvirus. Other diseases they are prone to include Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease, Psittacosis, beak malocclusion, and Aspergillosis. Bacterial and fungal infection is also common. Injuries and toxin exposure is common too.

Since conures are known to have PDD, PBFD, Aspergillosis, and Psittacosis, it is best to keep your birds away from other birds as much as possible. Since most do not care to spend or provide their birds with Animal Environments cages, it is best to keep away from these others. Their birds could have disease and this is something that birds - kept as jappy as allowed - do not have. Having your birds checked out by a veterinarian does help though generally what helps is keeping your birds as jappy as possible. Take a look at the birds by Kashmir Csaky, Marc Morrone, etc- these birds do not have health problems.

Lifespan of Conures

The species of the larger aratinga genus may reach twenty-five to thirty years of age, whereas the smallest species of conures generally live only fifteen to twenty years. In the wild, golden conures live until about twenty years of age. In captivity, they can live as long as forty - with twenty-five being a time that brings them health concerns.

Comparing Conures to Other Parrots

Conures can get along with other species of parrots especially if they are raised together. There are reports of a nanday preening a pacific parrotlet affectionately. Conures, however, have been known to attack and eat smaller bird species and, so, they should not be placed with smaller birds in the same housing arrangement.

We can relate conures to parakeets easily. Conures are parakeets (hence their long gradated tails).

Conures and lories are very different in personality. The lory is much more hyper and demands more attention than the conure.

Conures are different from brotogeris in several ways. There are more species of conure than brotogeris. There are only seven species of brotogeris whereas there are over forty of conure. The pyrrhura conrue and the brotogeris have about the same volume of vocalization. Like conures, brotogeris like to be on owner's shoulders and they like to climb into and snuggle up in their owner's shirt pockets (as a parrotlet likes this too). Brotogeris can speak more than a conure can but both are equally unclear compared to an African grey.

Conures are much louder than poicephalus. They have, in the aratinga, brighter colors than the poicephalus. The yellows and oranges of both are different shades - the poicephalus has darker and duller oranges than the aratinga has. The greens of the pyrrhura are darker than the poicephalus' (e.g., the senegal and the jardines). The color pattern of the golden conure does not match that of any poicephalus. The play of the conure is much rougher than the poicephalus'. Poicephalus are better talkers - having a greater vocabulary and having clearer speech. The size range of both are similar - compare the golden conure to the jardines and the aratinga and the pyrrhura to the meyers and senegal. The poicephalus are much mellower than the conure.

We can compare the developmental phase of conures to that of other parrot species. Puberty for the eclectus is between nine and eighteen to twenty-four months. Conures also go through puberty between one and two years of age. The conure tends to be more nippy and aggressive. The eclectus has mood changes, sometimes screams, has courting activities, and sometimes masturbates. These behaviors of both kind of parrot happen either around puberty or when the breeding season approaches. Amazons undergo a teething stage where they nip without warning six months after weaning. This is not their puberty or sexually related, however. (Amazons undergo puberty usually at five to twelve years of age.) Like the conure, the Amazon aestiva, auropalliata, and oratrix become aggressive and difficult to handle when the breeding season approaches.

Conures are like Amazons whereby there are Amazons of South America, Central America, the Caribbean, and aqll of these. Conures are not found in both the Caribbean and South America, however. The aratinga genus does have a geographic range from Texas to the West Indies. Amazons do not have a range in the United States (besides the wild Amazons of California).

Conures are very much like macaws and, in fact, the name aratinga is related to the macaw genus ara. There are, however, over one hundred species of conure and only twenty-four varieties of macaw. The fact that the mitred conure, an aratinga species, has crossed with a noble macaw, an ara species, and had fertile eggs demonstrates this close relationship. They also have a body shape similar to macaws. Some have considered the golden conure to be a macaw and have decided to call it the golden macaw. After all, its size is similar to that of a mini macaw and its beak looks macaw like. There are hybrids for conures just like there are hybrids for macaws.

Laws regarding Conures

There are no special laws regarding the keeping and breeding of conures even though there are some, the cherry-headed conure and the nanday conure, that are invasive species. The golden conure was (prior to 2020) on the Endangered Species List and interstate trade and sale was prohibited.

There are some conures that are considered invasive species. The cherry-headed conures, known as one of the parrots of Telegraph Hill, has taken over nesting places and sources of native bird's food in San Francisco, California. Mitred conures also entered San Francisco. In fact, San Francisco's cherry-headed and mitred conure populations have interbred and thus have produced the hybrid cherry-headed x mitred conure. There are also colonies of cherry-headed conures in Honolulu, Hawaii. A colony of half-moon conures has been observed in Long Beach, California too. These conures sleep in holes they find in trees. They do not build nests, unlike Quakers. The nanday conure has been considered an invasive species in some areas (especially Florida). What is interesting is that the wild conure has its own dialect. The flocks have their own system of calls and responses, distinct from conure populations found elsewhere.

Other naturalized parrots of California include the rose-ringed parakeet, lilac crowned Amazon, red-crowned parrot, yellow headed parrot, red lored parrot, red masked parakeet, mitred parakeet, blue-crowned parakeet, yellow chevroned parakeet, blue (turquoise) fronted parrot, and quaker.

Conservation

The conservation status of conures is generally the same for all species and this is CITES listing Appendix II. The only conure on CITES Appendix I is the golden conure.

Exhibition

There are not and have not been opportunities to show conures. Unlike cockatiels, lovebirds, budgerigars, passerines, etc, conures do not have shows with expert judges to evalute the ideal bird.

Associations

There are currently no organizations devoted to conures alone. The International Conure Society is no longer operative. Thus, one ought to serek out general parrot associations,.