Top 10 Most Asked Questions About Conures

Sun Conure

No. 1: Is a conure a parrot?

Yes, a conure is a parrot in the Aratinga, Pyhurra, Enicognathus or Cyanoliseus genus. The most common conures are in the Aratinga genus, followed by conures in the Pyrhurra genus. They are medium-sized (averaging 12 inches), long-tailed, primarily green parrots with featherless eye rings. The most popular conures are the sun conure, the jenday conure and the green-cheeked conure.

No. 2: What do I feed my conure?

Conures benefit from a diet with variety. A nutritional pellet and seed mix, along with healthy table foods, such as bean and/or grain mash and fresh or cooked vegetables, provide well-rounded meals. Of course, always provide fresh water for your parrot. Never feed avocado, chocolate or caffeine, which are harmful. Also, avoid feeding junk food to your bird. If it’s bad for you, it’s bad for your pet conure. Ask your avian veterinarian for a diet that is best for your specific pet.

No. 3: Can a conure talk?

While conures definitely want to be heard, their speaking ability is limited. Most pet conures are likely to develop only a vocabulary of five to 10 words and utter them in a gravelly voice. Sun conures, blue-crowned conures and nanday conures all have been known to imitate speech. 

No. 4: What kind of cage should I get my conure?

Active pet conures need plenty of room to stretch out. Get a pet bird cage that’s a minimum of 24 inches high and wide, with no larger than 1/2-inch bar spacing. As a rule, buy the biggest pet bird cage you can afford for your pet bird. The Patagonian conure needs a bigger cage, as it is roughly the size of an African grey.

No. 5: Is my conure male or female?

Conures are not sexually dimorphic (i.e., visibly distinguishable between male and female), so you can’t tell by looking. Talk to your avian vet if you would like to find out the sex of your bird through a DNA test. As far as behaviorists and readers can determine, there is little difference between the traits of male and female pet conures. 

No. 6: What should I give my conure to enrich its life?

The short answer is pet bird toys. Conures are playful, energetic birds that enjoy chewing and foraging. Keep conures occupied with different toy types: noise toys, destroy toys, interactive toys and exercise toys. Some examples are swings, boings, foot toys, ladders, bells, paper-shredding and wooden chew toys. Vary the textures and colors of the toys. Offer different toys, and you’ll soon find which toys your conure prefers.

Green-cheeked conure

No. 7: How can I tell if my conure is sick?

A healthy pet conure displays these signs: dry nares; erect posture; smooth, bright feathers; and a toned body without excess weight or lumps. If you notice a problem, make sure your pet bird is eating a proper diet. Malnutrition is a major cause of illness. If you suspect illness in your conure, take it to an avian veterinarian.

No. 8: Can I train my conure?

Pet conures are quite intelligent and respond well to trick training. Begin with the essential Step-up command, and foster a relationship of reward and trust with your pet bird to work on other tricks. Try shaking hands, a trick that can be adapted to teach “the wave.” 

No. 9: Is there a quiet conure?

Conures are very outspoken — some more than others. Green-cheeked conures, dusky-headed conures and Patagonian conures usually tone down the noise compared to their conure cousins, but, as always, this varies on a parrot-by-parrot basis.    

No. 10: Should I get a cage mate for my pet conure?

This depends. Some pet conures can become territorial within their cage and battle with their conure cage mate. If you have the time and space for a second conure, get the new conure its own cage. Also, just because they are both conures does not guarantee that they will be friends. You may end up with two conures, two cages and spending quality time with them both separately.

Photo credits: Sun conure (top) by siam.pukkato/Shutterstock

Green-cheeked conure by Tytta73/Shutterstock

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7 comments

  • This is for Barbara Redner in addition to changing diet and msm, apply Thyme oil to birds feathers and affected areas.

    Lisa
  • This is for Barbara Redner, birds get fungal infections from people. Sounds like candida infection. Remove all sugar based processed food from diet including pellets. Fungus loves sugar. Make birds breads with veggies, eggs, nut flours, safflower seeds, olive oil, only feed no sugar foods. Small amount of cooked ground beef ok. Give msm ( Methylsulfonylmethane) by washing bird in 1/4 tsp msm + 1 cup distilled water. Also put family members on same diet. Fungus should clear up in 24-72 hrs.

    Lisa
  • Hi, I’ve got a conure, had him since June, he’s only 4months old, but he’s doing alot of biting at the moment, is this normal X

    Susan bury suebella09@googlemail.com
  • parrots, conures, parakeets, budgies they are all poorly defined and delineated groups involving multiple genera and species… the American Ornithological Union uses parakeet for the birds known and arguably named by the pet trade as conures, budgies are the third most popular pet behind dogs and cats and known to most of the public as parakeets, but they are certainly parrots!! Until someone taxonomically can clear up this mess it will remain…well interchangeably…a mess…

    Ron
  • I have a 13 year old sun conure. I have had a problem with fungus for the last 6 months. She has been on 2 different kinds of antifungal medicine. This is not working and I have to continually remove it from her throat and mouth. At one point it had to be removed from her nose. I am concerned that this may happen again. I need some kind of information to help me get rid of this. I am afraid this may eventually take over if I do not stay on top of it. Please, any information would greatly be appreciated. I do want to comment on this article of the most top 10 questions about conures. This article rings true on all accounts. Nice piece.

    Barbara Redner

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