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sun conure breeding guide

How To Breed Sun Conures?

(Last Updated On: March 17, 2023)

If you have experience with exotic birds, you’ll be granted a license to breed sun conures. This species is endangered in the wild, so any successful attempts to increase the population will be welcomed.

Sun conures are active and frequent breeders, so if you provide appropriate conditions in captivity, 2 bonded birds will likely mate. Pair conures interested in breeding, as not all get along.

Most sun conures achieve sexual maturity by the age of 24 months. Females (hens) will likely mature before males and remain fertile for up to 10 years. The onset of spring is the start of the mating season.

If the conures show interest in mating, provide optimum living conditions and a diet rich in protein, calcium, and fat. You should also provide a nesting box and consider an incubator.

This will enhance the chances of successfully hatching eggs.

Are Sun Conures Easy to Breed?

Sun conures are prolific breeders in the wild, and the same can apply in captivity. If you keep multiple sun conures of the opposite sex in an appropriate captive environment, mating is likely.

Pairing Sun Conures for Mating

To pair sun conures for mating, you must ensure the 2 birds are compatible.

The first step is confirming the parrots are of the opposite sex. This isn’t easy to do by sight as sun conures are monomorphic – there’s no obvious difference between males and females.

Suppose you purchased sun conures from a reputable breeder, which is always advisable due to the endangered species of these birds.

In that case, the conure should have an ankle tag specifying key characteristics such as age and sex.

You may need a DNA test to ensure you have been given accurate information. This involves submitting a feather or blood sample from each conure and awaiting the results.

The Journal of Mahanakorn Veterinary Medicine confirms that DNA tests display clear differences between male and female birds.

Just because sun conures are of the opposite sex doesn’t guarantee they’ll breed. If sun conures share a perch, food, and toys and bob their heads while interacting, they have formed a union.

Do Sun Conures Mate for Life?

Once you successfully pair sun conures, these birds will mate for life.

This means you can usually rely on the same bonded pair to produce multiple clutches of eggs. This affects the hen’s body and health, so think carefully before breeding them.

Captive sun conures have an average lifespan of 15-30 years. If one sun conure dies, you may be able to introduce a new mate and attempt breeding after a period of mourning if the hen remains fertile.

sun conure breeding problems

When Do Sun Conures Breed?

Wild sun conures enter a breeding season at the onset of spring. When the days grow longer, and the weather gets warmer, sun conures undergo hormonal changes that bring about a desire to mate.

These restrictions don’t necessarily bind captive sun conures, as they could breed if the environment encourages such behavior. Signs that sun conures are experiencing mating hormones include:

  • Biting, also known as bluffing.
  • Enhanced verbalization – sun conures are already noisy and will likely scream more while hormonal.
  • Growing increasingly territorial.
  • Plucking at feathers as a result of frustration.
  • Rubbing the vent on toys or human owners.

If you don’t want sun conures to breed upon showing these signs, keep males and females separate and reduce exposure to bright light and warm temperatures.

This is especially important in females, who can lay unfertilized eggs without mating.

What Age Do Sun Conures Breed?

Most sun conures reach sexual maturity between 12 and 24 months, though some take longer and may not display hormonal behaviors before they reach three years of age.

Female sun conures are likely to show interest in mating earlier than males.

If a sun conure still has olive green feathers, be wary of breeding – the bird may still be too young to safely and successfully lay eggs. A mature sun conure will have more golden feathers.

How Long Do Sun Conures Breed?

Sun conures aren’t fertile for life, so most cease reproduction by the time they are 10 years old. A sun conure may continue to lay eggs beyond this point, but they won’t hatch.

How Often Will Sun Conures Breed?

Sun conures can be prolific breeders and are unlikely to limit their mating to just once annually.

Captive sun conures can mate multiple times and produce several clutches of eggs in any given year if bonded and provided with the right environment.

As explained, laying eggs takes a toll on the body of a conure. A sun conure puts a lot of effort into laying an egg, whether fertilized or otherwise. Don’t subject the bird to this experience unnecessarily.

Preparing Sun Conures for Breeding

If you feel the sun conures are ready to mate, prepare for this process. Don’t rush mating because sun conures will only successfully breed if you create the right circumstances.


Sun conures need a welcoming, familiar, and comforting environment to breed.

You can keep the birds in their usual cage – we will elaborate on the optimum sun conure breeding cage setup in a moment – but other steps should be taken.

To encourage conures to breed, take these steps:

  1. Ensure the temperature is no lower than 65OF and no higher than 80OF.
  2. Provide light exposure. Achieving this through a window without the bird overheating is ideal.
  3. Give the conures space, leaving them to do what comes naturally.
  4. Remove other pets from the room that may cause stress.
  5. Avoid exposure to anything that may spook them, like loud noises.

The more comfortable the sun conures feel in their environment, the likelier they are to breed.


Diet is critical to successful egg-laying in birds, so what do you feed breeding sun conures? Protein, vitamin E, and fat are all important, but calcium is essential.

Never feed hormonal or gravid conures a seed-only diet, as this will be devoid of essential nutrients. Dark, leafy greens are a great source of everything the conure needs.

Provide a cuttlefish bone for both conures to gnaw on as an additional calcium source, and offer a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, cooked meats, and fresh fish.

Supplementation may also enhance reproductive health in sun conures.

While you must ensure the conures eat consistently and appropriately during the breeding season, you must also provide enough variety to keep them interested in their meals.

Add some pasta, rice, or pulses to ensure the food remains attractive.


Conures will usually be happy to breed in their usual cage as long as this cage size is no smaller than 48″ x 24″ x 24″. If you keep more than 2 conures in the same cage, remove and temporarily rehome any bird you don’t want to be involved in the mating.

Any additional bird will be considered a rival, so conflict may arise between conures, even if one or more birds involved aren’t interested or mature enough for breeding.

Nesting Box

Wild sun conures nest in empty trees, logs, insect mounds, or rock crevices. To this end, you must provide the birds with an appropriate equivalent.

A nesting box can be constructed using plywood, or purchase one online.

A nesting box for conures should be deep enough to completely hide the bird and be lined with soft materials. A conure may pluck its feathers if you fail to take this step.

Remove the nesting box if the sun conures have concluded breeding and you don’t want them to do so again. The presence of this object will encourage a female to breed and trigger hormonal reactions.


Getting an incubator for the eggs isn’t always essential. However, it may increase the likelihood of successful hatching if the hen is inexperienced in laying eggs and doesn’t understand her responsibilities.

An incubator will provide the conure eggs with the temperature they need, which can be adjusted as and when necessary depending on the life cycle of the embryo.

An incubator may be unnecessary if the conures sit on their eggs to keep them warm.

How Do Sun Conures Mate?

Breeding between sun conures begins with a courtship ritual instigated by the male.

The male conure will preen, dance, and likely replicate the song of a hen. Current Opinion in Neurobiology explains how complex vocalizations are key to avian partner selection.

The hen will decide if she considers the male an appropriate mate. If the male shares food with the hen, typically by regurgitating food directly into her mouth, the birds will likely proceed with breeding.

Male conures don’t have a penis. A male that wishes to breed will mount a female from behind, often pinning the hen’s wings to the ground.

From here, the two conures will press together their cloacas. The cloaca is the orifice from which birds expel urine and feces and lay eggs. If breeding hormones are active, the cloacas will be swollen.

When the conures rub their cloacas, sperm are released from the male and enter the hen’s oviduct. If both conures are fertile, the hen will become gravid.

The mating process rarely lasts longer than 1-2 minutes.   

What Happens After Sun Conures Mate?

The relationship between sun conures will cool off immediately after breeding. The hen will likely be less affectionate toward the male, potentially becoming more aggressive and territorial.

The conure may be resistant to handling in the aftermath of mating, bluffing when you approach. You may wish to wear gloves while cleaning and feeding the conures at this stage.

These natural behaviors result from hormones while the hen waits to lay eggs. The male is unlikely to pursue the hen further until the eggs are laid, and the hen will create a nest.

How Many Eggs Do Sun Conures Lay?

An average clutch of eggs for a sun conure is between 2 and 6. The hen won’t lay all of her eggs simultaneously; there will likely be a break of around 24 hours between each egg.

If a sun conure still displays behaviors associated with egg laying, but nothing has occurred for 48 hours, seek advice – especially if she’s straining, struggling to walk, or displaying signs of pain.

This behavior suggests that the sun conure may be egg-bound.

How Long Do Sun Conure Eggs Take to Hatch?

The eggs of a sun conure will usually hatch around 21 – 25 days after laying. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that every egg a sun conure lays will hatch into a healthy chick.

Explanations for an egg failing to hatch include:

  • The egg was never fertilized and didn’t contain an embryo.
  • One or both parents carries an undiagnosed illness that was passed to the embryo.
  • The hen was fed a poor-quality diet, leading to substandard eggs.
  • The eggs weren’t heated appropriately or overheated leading to dehydration.
  • Unsanitary cage conditions due to fungus or bacteria.
  • The egg was damaged, killing the embryo.

While 1-2 eggs may fail to hatch, a full clutch that experiences the same fate merits investigation. If the conure lays a clutch of eggs that don’t hatch, learn why before breeding the same pairing again.

Common Sun Conure Breeding Problems

Just because you’ve paired 2 sun conures in the same home and they have entered breeding season doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll reproduce. If the conures are declining to breed or are mating, but the hen isn’t laying healthy eggs, investigate why.


The sun conures must be bonded if they’re to mate. If 2 sun conures aren’t getting along, breeding will not occur – fighting is the likelier outcome.

Common reasons for 2 sun conures to be incompatible for breeding include the following:

  • Both birds are the same sex.
  • Both birds are dominant – Ethology confirms that non-breeding pairs battle over territory.
  • The hen is older than the male, so it considers him an unsuitable mate.
  • The conures haven’t lived together long enough to bond.

Attempting to force sun conures to mate against their wishes will lead to frustration and emotional turmoil, so only breed compatible birds, maintaining patience. 

Inappropriate Environment

Sun conures need to feel comfortable in their surroundings to mate.

Ensure you’re doing what you can to replicate the natural conditions of a conure breeding season, with warm ambient temperatures and several hours of light per day.

You must also regularly clean the cage without bothering the birds.

Remember that sun conures can be more temperamental when experiencing hormonal surges and may misinterpret attempts to clean as an invasion of territory.

Keep the sun conures calm during mating season. If you have other pets, especially a cat or dog, that may upset the birds, keep these out of the room that houses them.

If you have other birds of differing species, temporarily house these in a different part of the home until the conures have mated. Antagonistic relationships will be enhanced during the breeding season, and friendly relations will confuse a bird that wishes to mate.

What time of year do sun conures breed?

Poor Diet

If the sun conures, especially the hen, aren’t eating well during the breeding season, it’s unlikely that healthy eggs will be laid. Ensure you’re feeding them a well-optimized diet during this time.

Dystocia (Egg Binding)

Dystocia occurs when sun conures can’t pass an egg as it has become trapped in the oviduct.

This concern is frequently caused by a lack of calcium and/or Vitamin D, but it can also be caused by obesity, stress, or even misfortune.

Egg binding is life-threatening for a conure if left unresolved, as the presence of the egg may prevent them from urinating and passing feces.

A vet will find the safest and least intrusive way to remove the egg from the conure’s body.


If the sun conures are happy to breed but aren’t producing eggs that hatch, one or both birds may be infertile. Common explanations for this include the following:

  • Not reached sexual maturity.
  • Hen is older than 10 years.
  • Parent birds were inbred from the same flock.
  • Hen was fed an inappropriate diet.
  • Hen is overweight.

Dietary concerns can also lead to infertility in sun conures. We’ve discussed the importance of calcium and avoiding an excess of zinc, as this can impact the ability to breed successfully.

How to Increase a Sun Conure’s Fertility

If you remain convinced that the sun conures are willing and capable of breeding, you may wish to consider dietary changes to enhance fertility.

Vitamin E in the diet is important. The International Journal of Molecular Sciences explains how Vitamin E enhances the quality of semen in male birds and reduces the degradation of lipids in eggs.

Vitamin E can’t rectify genetic defaults and make an infertile conure capable of reproduction.

Breeding sun conures can be rewarding as the wild population continues to dwindle. If you wish to increase the number of sun conures, ensure you’re equipped to do so efficiently and safely.