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caring for a conure parrot

How To Care For A Conure Parrot [A Complete Guide]

Conures have friendly personalities and become affectionate once they learn to trust their owners. Like all parrots, they require high levels of care, but they’ll reward you with hours of fun and entertainment.

Conures require a cage measuring at least 36” x 24” x 24” with the bars spaced no more than ½ to ¾ of an inch apart. They also need 2-3 perches and toys to play with to prevent boredom.

Give your conure out-of-cage time and interact with it regularly. Conures eat a diet of high-quality pellets, seeds, nuts, fruits, and vegetables.

Conure Parrot Types

There are 40 species of conures. However, only a small selection of conure parrots are kept as pets. This includes the:

  • Blue-crowned conure
  • Green-cheeked conure
  • Jenday conure
  • Sun conure

These types are colorful, energetic, and friendly pets. However, they also have their own behaviors, needs, and issues. To make it easier to understand, we can break down conures into two types:

  • Aratinga conures
  • Pyrrhura conures

The Aratinga species tend to be more brightly colored but are also louder and less cuddly. If you want an energetic parrot that has eye-catching colors, then the Aratinga is ideal.

However, Pyrrhura conures are smaller and quieter. If you’re a new owner, share a home with other people, or lack space, then a Pyrrhura will be a more relaxed best friend.

Conure Parrot Behavior

While every parrot is different, there are personality traits that nearly all conures have. If these behaviors are desirable in a pet, this parrot may be your next best friend.

A conure parrot will:

  • Enjoy human interaction, but take 3-4 days to warm up to new owners.
  • Behave affectionately, cuddling and preening you.
  • Interact with other birds, but can only be housed with bonded conures.
  • Enjoy playing with toys, bells, and other objects.
  • Exhibit playful, fun behavior.
  • Act noisily at times. Conures screech and scream if left alone for too long.

If you build up enough trust with your conure, you can encourage it to be more cuddly.

How Big Are Conure Parrots?

Conures are a varied group of birds, so their sizes differ from small to medium.

The Patagonian conure is the largest variety, measuring 20 inches from head to tail. The painted conure is the smallest conure parrot, measuring 9 inches at most.

The average size of a conure parrot is 9-12 inches. That’s measured from the top of its head to the end of its tail. However, conures can be 9-20 inches.

looking after a conure parrot

What Colors Do Conure Parrots Come In?

Conure parrots have different colors. The most popular are:

Conures don’t remain one color. Most conures mix and match that palette into a lovely rainbow of feathers.

You can have a parrot that’s:

  • Orange and yellow around the head and chest, then green and yellow on the wings.
  • Grey and white around the head, with green and blue on the wings and orange on the tail.
  • White and orange on the chest, grey on the head, and blue elsewhere.

You could own two conures with the same basic colors but find they’re very different in their patterns.

How Much Is A Conure Parrot?

The price of a conure parrot will depend on the following:

  • Species
  • Age
  • Rare colorings

On average, a conure costs between $150 to $400. The rarest varieties can cost over $3,000.

Let’s explore the factors that influence the price:

Seller

If you buy a conure from a pet store, the price is likely to be fixed. Private owners sometimes charge more for a conure based on sentimentality or because it’s a more exotic bird.

Age

Older parrots may be better trained and know more tricks. This will increase the price. Conversely, pet stores may lower the price if the parrot has fewer years left to live.

Rare Coloring

Conures may vary in price if their coloring is unique. For example, green-cheeked conures cost $250-$500, while sun conures cost $400-$600.

How Long Does A Conure Parrot Live?

The lifespan of conure parrots is 20 to 30 years in captivity. You’ll find that 2-3 decades is a significant commitment.

How To Tell The Gender Of A Conure Parrot

Conures are not sexually dimorphic. This means you cannot tell what gender the conure is with a visual assessment. Males and females look identical to each other.

They do have subtle differences, enabling experienced owners to tell them apart:

  • Males have longer tails than female conures
  • Females have a slightly rounder head than males, which are more level on the top
  • Males have sturdier, thicker bodies
  • Breeding females have rounder bellies

If you want to know your conure’s gender, ask your vet.

Can A Conure Parrot Talk?

While conures are capable of talking, they’re not as talkative as other parrots.

They lack a broad vocabulary and may take longer to pick up basic words. If you want your parrot to learn phrases, that can be possible after several months of training.

However, PLOS One stated that orange-fronted conures are very good at responding to calls and imitating humans. If you want a talking parrot, this species will be a good option.

Sounds Conures Love to Make

Even if your parrot isn’t a great orator, it will still love making noises. You might find this adorable and mimic the sounds back, which is a way to play with your conure.

Here are the noises that conures make:

Beak Grinding

This crackling noise occurs when a conure rubs its top beak with its bottom beak. Conures do this when:

  • Ready to settle down
  • Comfortable

It’s similar to when people put on comforting sounds to go to sleep. If your conure makes this sound in your presence, it’s happy to be around you.

Chatter

It’s usually a vocal quirk or whistle that conures enjoy making. They do this when they’re happy and carefree. Try mimicking the sound back to show your conure that you’re happy.

Laughter

If you laugh around your conure enough, it’ll understand that it’s a joyful sound and want to imitate it. The conure might not repeat it at the most appropriate times, but it’s a sign that it’s in a playful mood.

Singing

Whether your conure is singing because it’s imitating you or filling the silence, it’s always a sound of happiness. You can teach the conure to sing lyrics to your favorite song if it’s straightforward.

Clicking

Parrots make this sound by clicking their tongues to the roofs of their mouths. They do it when they’re happy and seeking attention from you.

Whistling

When a conure parrot whistles, it’s happy or telling you to come over to play. It’s never an angry sound. You can teach your parrot to whistle a tune. It may pick up this trick faster than traditional speaking.

How to take care of a conure parrot

Best Names for A Conure Parrot

Here are some of the most popular names for conure parrots:

  • Marley
  • Sunny
  • Kiwi
  • Berry
  • Mango
  • Gracie
  • Blue
  • Boo
  • Snuggles
  • Coco
  • Charlie
  • Lucky
  • Tango
  • Polly
  • Chloe
  • Kiki
  • Peach

How To Take Care of A Conure Parrot

Once you’ve bought a conure, the adventure begins. These parrots require specific diets, enclosures, and enrichment. As long as you’re prepared to cater to these needs, your bird will be healthy, happy, and well-behaved.

Diet

Conure parrots are omnivores. They eat pellets, seeds, nuts, fruits, berries, and vegetation. According to VCA Hospitals, they also eat insects and their larva.

For a conure, 70% of its diet should be specialized pellets. Fresh vegetables, fruits, and a small number of seeds should make up the rest.

Don’t feed your parrot avocado, coffee, or chocolate as they’re toxic.

Avoid feeding them anything sugary or high in fat as it’ll lead to weight gain.

Supplements

If you want to give your conure a health boost, consider vitamin and mineral supplements.

Conures are known to get deficient in:

  • Calcium
  • Vitamin K

You can combat this by adding certain foods to its diet, like soy oil and fish meal.

Water Requirements

You should give the conure clean, fresh, filtered water without any chlorine in it. Its water bowl should always be available to drink from at its leisure.

Conures are messy eaters. Change the water every day, as bacteria can grow in stagnant water.

How To Feed A Conure Parrot

Conures will thrive when they have a precise feeding schedule.

Otherwise, a conure may start overeating. In the wild, parrots don’t always find food each day. To avoid starvation, they overeat to build up fat stores for lean times.

Treats should only compose 5% or less of a conure’s diet. Even when you’re training them to perform tricks or talk, offer any treats sparingly.

What Size Cage For A Conure Parrot?

A conure may be a small parrot, but its cage should be spacious.

To keep your conure happy, the minimum size of its cage should be 36” (long) x 24” (wide) x 24” (high).

The bars on the cage should be no more than a ½ inch to ¾ inch apart. Otherwise, your conure may squeeze in between. The cage should have horizontal bars, so your conure can perch on them.

You shouldn’t leave a parrot in its cage constantly. It still needs to be brought out, allowed to fly around, and encouraged to play.

Here are some factors to consider:

Cage Placement

The habitat should be set up off the floor. Dust, hair, or other debris might get into the cage otherwise. An elevated position also prevents other pets from harassing your conure. 

Ensure that the cage is placed somewhere well-lit and away from drafts so that it doesn’t get lonely or cold. Keep the cage away from the kitchen, as smoke and non-stick cookware (Teflon) can cause respiratory problems.

Perches

Ensure that the cage has several perches so that the parrot can play and exercise. A single perch will leave the parrot with nowhere to go. Three perches are normally enough to keep your conure’s feet strong and limber.

Place the perches at different heights in the cage:

  • One up high
  • One in the middle
  • One towards the bottom

Temperature

The temperature of your home should be 65-80 degrees. You may need heat and air-conditioning.

Food Placement

Place food and water sources above the perches so that droppings don’t fall into them.

Bedding

Conures don’t require a special nest or sleeping area. Most will rest on their perches throughout the night. Be sure to line the cage with paper, so you can easily take away droppings.

Additional Birds

A conure can be kept with another conure. However, it shouldn’t be housed with other types of birds. This could result in conflict and stressful situations.

Cover At Night

Conures feel more comfortable sleeping in darkness. Be sure to cover its cage with a blanket at night.

Caring For A Conure Parrot’s Hygiene

Ensuring that your parrot’s environment is clean and safe is an important part of its care.

Cage Hygiene

Regularly clean and disinfect your parrot’s habitat. This should be done with a parrot-safe bleach solution.

Once the area has been sanitized, replace the liner in the cage weekly, if not more often. Water and food dishes should be changed and cleaned daily. Any toys should also be washed.

Washing

Don’t use any cleaning agents around your conure. Inhaling bleach fumes or other chemicals may cause respiratory problems or even premature death.

Wash your hands after handling your conure. According to Veterinary Clinics: Exotic Animal Practice, parrots can have viral, bacterial, fungal, and parasitic diseases on them without showing symptoms.

Bathing

Conures will bathe themselves if given access to water.

You can place your conure in the sink and turn on the faucet so it can take a shower. You can also provide it with a washing bowl 3-4 times per week, and it’ll do the rest.

Molting

Molting is a natural part of your conure’s life. The first molt will take place when your bird is 8-10 months old. After that, it’ll happen once a year.

Your conure will feel itchy due to new feathers growing in. You can lightly spray the conure with water to lessen the itchiness. You can also feed the conure food rich in protein to help the new feathers grow in.

Once the feathers are mostly developed, you can gently brush your hand over the conure’s body. With a petting session twice or more a day, the feathers will more easily lie down and smooth over.

Conures do this to each other with their beaks, in a process known as preening.

Common Health Problems

While your conure may live an illness-free life, it’s important to be aware of all the risks.

Most of these problems need to be checked by a vet:

  • Chlamydiosis: Appetite loss, fluffed feathers, beak discharge, lime droppings, and pink eyes
  • Diarrhea
  • Feather Plucking: Parrot plucks feathers due to boredom, poor diet, or other illness
  • Polyomavirus: loss of appetite, lethargy, weight loss, and sudden death
  • Proventricular Dilatation Disease (PDD): lack of appetite, weight loss, depression, weakness, regurgitation, and undigested seeds in stool
  • Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease: beak and claw deformities, sudden death, yellow contour feathers on green parrots, and secondary infections
  • Psittacosis: Discharge from eyes and beak, swollen, watery, or crusty eyes, yellow or green droppings, reduced vocalization, reduced appetite, depression, weakness, and weight loss
  • Beak Malocclusion: The top and bottom parts of the beak don’t align. It also causes an overgrown or misshapen beak
  • Aspergillosis: Fungal infection, respiratory disease in parrots, tail bobbing, weight loss, and lethargy

You want to be on the lookout for red flags such as:

  • Beak swelling
  • Soiled, fluffed, or plucked feathers
  • Wheezing or coughing
  • Runny or discolored stools
  • Favoring one foot when not sleeping
  • Eye or beak discharge
  • Red or swollen eyes
  • Long periods sitting at the bottom of its cage
  • Decreased activity or grooming
  • Sneezing
  • Change in droppings for more than two days

How To Entertain A Conure Parrot

Conures are naturally intelligent and curious. If left alone in its cage, your parrot will grow aggressive and depressed. That makes it important to entertain and enrich your conure’s life. As long as it’s properly stimulated, it’ll be cuddly and loving. Conures enjoy:

  • At least 2 hours of play or interaction a day. Ideally, you should spend more than 2 hours with your conure.
  • Proximity to water. Take it out of the cage and let it join you in the shower. It might even sing with you.
  • Lots of toys. One or two toys will quickly grow boring. Make sure that you provide your parrot with a wide collection of different toys that you frequently rotate. You can even use some types of baby toys to entertain your parrot.
  • Hanging around. Conures love to climb, hang, and spin around on perches and ropes. Any chain or hoop will quickly become a favorite. Avoid small toys, as they can get caught on the claws and beak.
  • Scavenging. Hide toys and let your parrot seek them out.

Other forms of enrichment will include:

  • Toilet paper rolls to chew
  • A tightly woven washcloth to snuggling up in
  • A soft, fuzzy toy to nuzzle

Give your conure something to keep its mind busy. That’s especially important if you don’t have many hours to spend with it each day.

Playing with Your Conure

There are three activities that conures are fond of:

Dancing

Conures love to dance. When they’re excited or mimicking your movements, they’ll sway back and forth. You can turn on music and dance in front of them. Eventually, they’ll pick up the moves.

Fetch

To play with your conure, you can throw around the toys. A conure will happily walk over to fetch it.

Ripping Things Up

You can also make a fun mess with your pet parrot. Conures love to shred things. If you set up space on the floor to shred newspaper, you can have fun ripping and tearing it together.

how long does a conure parrot live?

How to Stop Your Conure from Biting

Conures do have a habit of biting, especially:

  • Young conures
  • Conures that have endured trauma from being rehomed
  • Conures that are ill-tempered or spoiled

You don’t have to tolerate the biting. Of course, the conure must trust you and become comfortable with your presence. If it’s scared, stressed, or agitated, no amount of training will stop them from biting.

Here are ways to stop that:

  • Every time that a conure bites at you, gently tap its beak and tell it “no.”
  • Refuse to give it attention for a few minutes.
  • Present your hand to them once again.
  • Don’t stick your hand out suddenly, but don’t creep in closer.
  • If your conure bites at you again, tap its beak, tell it “no,” and ignore it.

This may take several tries over 1-2 weeks, but it’ll eventually learn that this behavior isn’t acceptable.

How To Tame A Conure Parrot

Maybe you bought a young conure and want to hand-tame it. Maybe your parrot has known previous owners and needs to develop a bond with you.

No matter the case, taming a conure is possible with patience. The same techniques used to train a bonded parrot will apply to making your untamed conure friendly.

Trust

Before any progress can be made, you have to build trust with your conure.

This can be done through:

  • Hand-feeding
  • Approaching them quietly and calmly
  • Speaking to them throughout the day
  • Giving them a safe, calm area to rest, like in its cage
  • Spending 2-3 hours of consistent time with them each day

Eventually, your conure will see you as a non-threat.

Touch

You need to get your conure parrot used to your hands and touch, so:

  1. Place your hand near or on the cage while talking to the conure.
  2. When it seems comfortable with that, start putting your hand in the cage.
  3. Hold some treats in your hands so that it will approach.
  4. Maintain this routine for several days.
  5. Once it comes to you without hesitation, move on to touching it directly.

Tricks

Once your conure is comfortable with your hand, you can begin teaching it tricks.

This will teach them to respond to you and trust your judgment. This also provides interaction between you, so your conure mentally integrates you into its flock.

You can start by:

  • Pressing your finger against its lower chest.
  • It’ll step up to your finger.
  • When it does, give it a treat.

Likewise, you can encourage talking:

  • Turn off any distractions.
  • Begin with simple words like “Hello,” “Goodbye,” or “Are you hungry?”
  • Speak directly to them and put some excitement in your voice.
  • It may take a few weeks before it imitates the noises.
  • Reward them with treats and praise when it succeeds.

Conure parrots make good pets. If you’re willing to share time, they’ll start to bond with you. If done right, you could end up with a funny, entertaining, and loving avian companion for many 20-30 years.