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caring for a conure parrot

How To Care for A Conure Parrot

Last Updated on: 29th May 2023, 03:18 pm

Conures are friendly, characterful birds who bond closely with their owners once trust has been established. They have high care needs but reward you with fun and companionship.

Conures vary in size, ranging from 8.5 to 19 inches long, which should be reflected in the cage size.

They require a cage that’s 36″ x 24″ x 24″ (bigger is preferred) with bars spaced ½ to ¾ of an inch apart. They also need 3+ perches and lots of toys to keep them active and mentally occupied.

Provide a conure with out-of-cage time and interact with them regularly. A conure’s diet comprises pellets, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. They eat 2 main meals a day at sunrise and sunset.

What Is The Best Conure To Own?

There are approximately 100 species and subspecies of conures, but only a small number are kept as pets. Many conures have green feathers, while some have yellow, orange, and pink plumage.

Aratinga vs. Pyrrhura Conures

There are 2 genera of conures, each embodying certain sizes, personalities, noise levels, and colors:

Aratinga Conures

The Aratinga conures are energetic, fun-loving, and cheerful with eye-catching colors.

Here are some of the most popular Aratinga conures:

  • Sun conures (Aratinga solstitialis).
  • Jenday conures (Aratinga jandaya).
  • Peach-fronted conures (Eupsittula aurea).
  • Mitred conures (Psittacara mitratus).
  • Blue-crowned conures (Thectocercus acuticaudatus).
  • Brown-throated conures (Eupsittula pertinax).
  • Dusky-headed conures (Aratinga weddellii).
  • Cherry-headed conures (Psittacara erythrogenys).
  • Gold-capped conures (Aratinga auricapillus).

The downside of Aratinga conures is they’re noisy birds, producing loud and persistent calls. Aratinga conures are also more likely to bite and nip than Pyrrhura conures.

Pyrrhura Conures

Pyrrhura conures are more popular than Aratinga conures because they embody beautiful colors and characteristics but aren’t as loud or nippy. They include the following:

  • Green-cheeked conures (Pyrrhura molinae).
  • Maroon-bellied conures (Pyrrhura frontalis).
  • Crimson-bellied conures (Pyrrhura perlata).
  • Black-capped conures (Pyrrhura rupicola).
  • Blue-throated conures (Pyrrhura cruentata).
  • Painted conures (Pyrrhura picta).
  • Pearly conure (Pyrrhura lepida).

Pyrrhura conures make less demanding pets, but all conures have qualities you’ll appreciate.

Conure Parrot Behavior

While all parrots are different, there are personality traits that nearly all conures share, including:

  • Enjoy human interaction, but take time to warm up to new owners.
  • Behave affectionately, nuzzling and preening you.
  • Interact with other birds but can only be housed with bonded conures.
  • Enjoy playing with toys, bells, and other fun objects.
  • Exhibit playful, exuberant behavior.
  • Conures screech and scream if left alone for too long.

You can develop a deep bond and closeness when you meet a conure’s care requirements.

How Big Are Conure Parrots?

Conures vary considerably in size from small to medium.

The Patagonian conure is the largest, measuring about 19 inches from head to tail. The painted conure is the smallest conure parrot, measuring less than 9 inches.

The average size is 9-12 inches, which includes green-cheeked conures and sun conures.

looking after a conure parrot

What Colors Do Conure Parrots Come In?

Conure parrots have different colors and shades, including the following:

Most conures combine colors into a beautiful rainbow of feathers:

  • Orange and yellow around the head and chest, then green and yellow on the wings.
  • Grey and white around the head, 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 2 conures with the same colors but find their patterns are entirely different.

How Much Is A Conure Parrot?

The price of a conure parrot depends on the following factors:

On average, a conure costs between $200 to $600. The rarest and most unusual varieties can cost over $3,000. Let’s explore the different factors that influence the selling price:


The price will likely be fixed if you buy a conure from a pet store. Private owners sometimes charge more for a conure based on sentimentality or because it’s deemed a more ‘exotic’ bird.

Breeders may charge more than stores because they provide superior care and keep more detailed records. Some breeders also provide basic training and teach birds basic vocabulary.


Older parrots may be better trained and know more tricks, but they’ll be closer to the end of their lives. Younger birds will be easier to train and will have less emotional baggage (abuse, rehoming, etc).

Rare Coloring

Conures may vary in price if their colors are unique, less common, or in greater demand. For example, green-cheeked conures cost $250-$500, while sun conures cost $400-$600.

How To Tell The Gender of A Conure Parrot

Conures aren’t sexually dimorphic, so males and females look identical. They have subtle differences, enabling experienced owners to tell them apart:

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

Ask a vet if you want to determine the conure’s gender with greater certainty.

Can A Conure Parrot Talk?

Conures can learn to say some words but lack a wide vocabulary. Training can take several months. According to PLOS One, orange-fronted conures respond to calls and imitate human sounds.

Sounds Conures Make

Even if your parrot isn’t a great orator, it’ll 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 conures make:

Beak Grinding

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

  • Ready to settle down.
  • Feeling comfortable.

If a conure makes this sound in your presence, it’s pleased to be around you.


It’s usually a vocal quirk or whistle that conures enjoy making when happy and carefree. Try mimicking the sound back to share in the conure’s joy.


If you laugh around a conure enough, it’ll understand that it’s a joyful sound and want to imitate it. It might not make this sound at the best times, but it signifies a buoyant, playful mood.


Whether a conure is singing because it’s imitating you or filling the silence, it’s a sound of happiness.


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


When a conure parrot whistles, it’s happy or telling you it wants to play.

How To Take Care of A Conure Parrot

Conures need a specific diet, enclosure setup, and enrichment. They’ll be healthy, happy, and well-behaved if you’re prepared to cater to these needs:


Conures are omnivores, so they eat plant and some animal matter. They eat pellets, seeds, nuts, fruits, berries, insects, and meat. For a conure, 70% of its diet should be pellets.

Don’t give a parrot avocado, coffee, or chocolate because they’re toxic.

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

Conures thrive when they have a reliable feeding schedule, eating first thing in the morning and before they go to sleep when the sun sets.

Water Requirements

You should give the conure clean, fresh, filtered water without chlorine. Its water bowl should always be available to drink from at its leisure. Parrots rarely survive for more than 24-72 hours without water.

What Size Cage for A Conure Parrot?

A conure may be a small or medium-sized parrot, but its cage should be spacious. To keep a 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, the conure may squeeze in between. The cage should have horizontal bars so a conure can perch on them.

Here are some other factors to take into consideration:

Cage Placement

The cage should be off the floor because birds prefer elevated positions to check their surroundings.

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


Ensure the cage has 3+ perches so the parrot can freely explore its cage from all angles. A single perch will leave the parrot with nowhere to go. Place the perches at different levels:

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

Never put a perch directly above food and water bowls because the contents will become tainted.


A home should be 65-80 degrees, so regulate the temperature with heat and air conditioning.


Conures don’t require a nest or sleeping area because they rest on their perches overnight. Line the cage with paper (or a liner) to make removing droppings easier.

Additional Birds

Once introduced properly, a conure can be kept with another conure. However, a conure shouldn’t be housed with other types of birds, as this will result in conflict and stressful situations.

Cover At Night

Conures feel more comfortable sleeping in darkness, so cover the cage with a blanket at night. This will lead to a more restful night’s sleep and can prevent night terrors.

Caring for A Conure Hygiene

Ensuring a parrot’s cage is clean and safe is essential to its care. This can be achieved in these ways:

Cage Hygiene

Regularly clean and disinfect the cage with a parrot-safe cleaning 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, and toys should be washed regularly.


Don’t use cleaning agents around a conure. Inhaling bleach fumes or other chemicals will cause respiratory problems and can lead to premature death.

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


Conures bathe themselves and manage their hygiene when given access to fresh water.

You can place a 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 take care of the rest.


Molting is a natural part of a conure’s life. The first molt occurs when your bird is 8-10 months old, lasting 2 months from start until finish. After that, it’ll happen once or twice a year.

A 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 new feathers grow.

Once the feathers are mostly developed, gently brush your hand over the conure’s body. With a petting session or two, the feathers will lie down and smooth over.

Conures perform this action to each other with their beaks in a process known as preening.

Common Health Problems

Most of these problems must be checked by a vet:

  • Chlamydiosis: Appetite loss, fluffed feathers, beak discharge, lime droppings, and pink eyes
  • Diarrhea: Loose and runny stools.
  • 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): A lack of appetite, weight loss, depression, weakness, regurgitation, and undigested seeds in the stool.
  • Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease: Beak and claw deformities, yellow contoured feathers on green parrots, and secondary infections.
  • Psittacosis: Discharge from eyes and beak, swollen, watery, or crusty eyes, yellow or green droppings, reduced vocalization, low appetite, depression, weakness, and weight loss.
  • Beak Malocclusion: The top and bottom parts of the beak don’t align, which can cause an overgrown or misshapen beak.
  • Aspergillosis: Fungal infection, respiratory disease in parrots, tail bobbing, weight loss, and lethargy.

How To Entertain A Conure Parrot

Conures are naturally intelligent and curious birds. A parrot will grow aggressive and depressed if left alone in its cage, so take steps to enrich its life. Conures need the following:

  • 2+ hours of play or interaction a day.
  • Proximity to fresh water.
  • Lots of engaging toys.
  • Climbing, hanging, and spinning opportunities.
  • Scavenging and foraging opportunities.

Ensure a conure has something to keep its mind busy and body active.

Playing with A Conure

There are three activities that conures like:


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


You can throw toys around because a conure will walk over and fetch them.

Ripping Things Up

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 have a habit of biting, especially:

  • Young conures.
  • Birds that have endured trauma from being rehomed.
  • Conures that are ill-tempered or spoiled.
  • Abused and fearful birds.

You needn’t tolerate getting bitten. Of course, a conure must trust you and become comfortable in your presence. If it’s scared, stressed, or agitated, no amount of training will prevent biting.

Here are ways to stop conures from biting:

  • When a conure bites, tap its beak and tell it “no.”
  • Refuse to give it attention temporarily.
  • Present your hand to them once again.
  • Don’t stick your hand out suddenly.

This may take time, but a conure will eventually learn this behavior is unacceptable.

How To Tame A Conure Parrot

Maybe you bought a young conure and want to hand-tame it, or the parrot had previous owners and needs to develop a bond with you.

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


You have to build trust with a conure, which can be achieved through the following:

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

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


You need to get a conure used to your hands and touch, so do the following:

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


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

This will teach them to respond to you and trust your judgment. This also provides interaction between you, so the conure accepts you into its flock. You can start by:

  • Pressing your finger against its lower chest.
  • It’ll step up to the 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 it 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. Then, you’ll have a funny, entertaining, and loving bird for around 15-20 years.