PO  Box 126 Mitcham Vic 3132 ( Victoria, Australia )

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Black capped Conure
Blue throated Conure
Crimson bellied Conure
Dusky headed Conure
Fiery shouldered Conure
Golden capped Conure
Golden crowned Conure
Green cheeked Conure
Janday Conure
Maroon bellied Conure
Maroon tailed Conure
Nanday Conure
Painted Conure
Patagonian Conure
Peach fronted Conure
Pearly Conure
Queen of Bavaria's Conure
Sharp tailed Conure
Sun Conure
White eared Conure

. conures

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Conures:  Jandaya, Nanday, Green cheeked and Sun are the most commonly held.  Sexually monomorphic i.e. difficult to determine sexes.  Can be very noisy especially when they get excited.  May upset neighbours with their noise.  Demand a lot of attention from their owners.  Destructive to timber.  Attractive birds with the Sun Conure probably the best coloured of the more popular conures.  They can be aggressive birds requiring only one pair per aviary and needing double wiring between aviaries.  They will also accept suitably sized suspended wire cages.

There are about 20 species of conures in Australia.
There are up to 49 species and about 110 sub-species of conures world wide.
There are main 2 genus of Conures.  Aratinga and the Pyrrhura.  Like some other types of birds, some species of conure are being moved to different genus as more in known about the genetics of each species.  Some now have their own genus.
Other Genus are Cyanoliseus, Nandayus and Myiopsitta.

Pyrrhura genus: They are small slender parrots that are less noisy than the other genus of conures.  They are generally less destructive of timber than the Aratinga genus.  A nest box of about 200 - 250 mm square ( 8 - 10 inches square) base and about 300 - 600 mm ( 12 - 24 inches) deep can be used.  Rosemary Low recommends nest boxes of as little as 310mm ( 12 inches) deep.
Pyrrhura conures have been referred to as " the Scaly breasted group" due to the pattern on the breast feathers.  The Pyrrhura conures generally prefer fruit in preference to green foods.  Grapes are a favourite.
The Pyrrhura genus hatchlings are difficult to hand rear as a hatchling and better results are obtained if they are fostered under other Pyrrhura species.  Eggs placed in another Pyrrhura species nest should have a better chance of hatching and surviving than those that are placed in an incubator and hand reared.

Aratinga genus: Aratinga birds are generally noisy birds that have a habit of being destructive of timber and of the wire mesh if the wire is damaged or too thin.  They can use a slightly larger nest box and a slightly larger entrance hole.

Cyanoliseus genus: The only member of this genus is the Patagonian Conure.

Nandayus genus: The only member of this genus is the Nanday Conure.

Myiopsitta genus:  The only member of this genus is the Quaker Parrot.  Some references place the Quaker parrot in the Conure group.

Government Regulations & By-Laws: Refer to "Government Laws" web page.

Feeding / Diet:  Refer also to the "feeding birds" web page.
Their food requirements are fairly basic - quality "small parrot" seed mix, seeding grasses and some fruit and vegetables such as apple and corn-on-the-cob.  Nuts such as peanuts, almonds, shelled walnuts.  Sprouted or soaked seed if available.
Fruits and vegetables can constitute up to 30 percent of the daily food intake.

Commercial pellets can form part on a balanced food intake.

Many successful overseas breeders feed their birds a fruit and vegetable "breakfast".  Seed and/or pellets are always available.  Suitable size pieces are about 12mm (or 1/2 inch) cubes.  This size is easy for them to handle easily.  Breeding birds always get additional servings to cater for the rapidly growing young.  An additional serve of fruits and vegetables can be given during the afternoon.  Leafy green vegetables such as endive, cos lettuce and silverbeet can be offered.

Conures like a wide variety of fruits and vegetables as well as a good quality seed mix.  Dry commercial pellet feeds are becoming available and may be part of a balanced diet.

Only feed first quality fruits and vegetables.  If you wont eat it, don't feed it to your birds.

Fruits & berries:  Most fruits that are seasonally available such as apple, orange, grapes, pear, peach, mango, passionfruit.  Avoid feeding avocados to birds as some types of avocados can be toxic to birds.  Berries such as strawberries, blueberries, blackberries etc can be offered.

Vegetables:  Fresh or thawed frozen vegetables, the birds seem not to care.  Examples are peas, snow peas, beans, corn or corn-on-the-cob, broccoli, celery, carrot, pumpkin, cucumber.  Do not feed onions as they can be toxic to birds.

Cooked rice and pasta can be mixed in with the fruit and vegetables.

Cake & breads:  Plain or Madeira cake, fresh multi-grain or wholemeal bread can be offered.  These foods should only be fed in small quantities and as a "treat" as these items can cause the birds to gain weight rapidly.

Sprouted seed or soaked seed can be offered.

Supplementary foods:  If a good balanced diet is offered to the birds, supplementary foods are generally unnecessary.  There are a lot of supplementary commercial foods available from pet shops and bird clubs as well as lots of "home made recipes" described in reputable parrot/conure books.

Mineral and Vitamin Supplements: With a good balanced diet, supplements should not be needed but, if used, it is best mixed into or sprinkled over the soft food.  Keep in mind with supplements the correct dose rate should give good results, but, if more than the prescribed dose is administered it could be toxic or even fatal to the adult birds and / or the babies.
Exercise can help in the absorption of calcium, minerals and vitamins.
The toxicity level for an adult bird could be very different to the toxic dose for a baby or fledgling bird.  What may be safe for an adult may be toxic for a baby or fledgling bird.

A separate refrigerator for the storage of the birds perishable foods is a good investment.  A separate refrigerator that is only used for the birds usually means other family members or housemates do not pinch the birds foods.  Most medications can be stored in a refrigerator especially during the hot summer months.

Conures will accept logs or nest boxes.  Lay 3 - 4 eggs per clutch.  Hen incubates for about 26 days.  Fledge in about 7 - 8 weeks.  Most species have a very high fertility rate.  If more than 4 eggs are laid and hatch, the hen may not feed all the young so it is usual practise to remove the youngest bird/s and hand feed those young.  Birds to be raised as pet or companion birds are often removed from the nest/parent birds at about 17 - 21 days of age and hand raised.
Conures can mature and breed at about 12 months of age.  Age of sexual maturity depends a variety of factors including the species, their genetic background and on environmental conditions.

As most Conures are monomorphic, DNA or surgical sexing is usually required to accurately determine the true gender of each bird.  Two adult conures acting as a "pair" does not imply one is a hen and one a cock bird.  Two of the one sex may act as a pair.  Two hens may act as a true pair and make a nest, lay a clutch of eggs and incubate the eggs and without stating the obvious, the eggs are infertile.

Nesting: A basic overview only.
Dimensions are typical / average and can vary widely, influenced by the owner's preferences and the birds preferences.  Parent bird's preferences can also be influenced by the size and type of nest-box / log in which the bird was hatched and reared.  If space allows, offering a choice of sizes and types of logs or nest-boxes, and placed in various locations within the aviary, can allow the parent birds to make their own choice.  Once a pair has chosen a specific nest-box or log and been successful in it, offer that one to them each breeding season.  Try and keep that one for their exclusive use.  Once a pair has chosen its log or nest-box, the other ones can generally be removed.  If the "spare" boxes are to be removed and moved to another flight, ensure the log / nest-box is thoroughly cleaned to ensure the receptacle has the minimal contamination of mites, parasites and pathogens.

Typical Log / Nest-box: Length  300 - 600 mm (or approx. 12 - 24 inches).  Some of the larger conures may benefit from a deeper log or nestbox.
Log internal diameter approx.  250 - 300 mm. or about 10 - 12 inches.
Nest-box internal dimensions
approx.  200 - 250 mm square (or approx. 8 - 10 inches square)
Diameter of entrance hole approx  70 - 80 mm (or approx. 3 inches).
Diameter of inspection hole approx 100 mm - 150 mm (or approx. 4 - 6 in.).
A removable top / lid can be a useful access point for inspections and for cleaning.
Location & height
of log / nest-box = in a sheltered part of the aviary and at about 1.5 - 1.8 metres height, but not too close to the roof to cause heat problems in the hotter months.
Note:... Different species may use a variation to these basic nest-box dimensions.

Conures have a habit of removing all the nest box material and laying their eggs on the bare wooden base.  If this happens, add more nest material so the eggs are not damaged on the nest base.

They may roost in the breeding box year round.  Although there may be a nestbox or log in the aviary throughout the year, it should not cause the birds to lay during their normal non-breeding season.

Housing:  Refer also to the "housing birds" web page.
Conures are best housed as one pair per cage or aviary and it is generally unwise to have any other birds in the same aviary.  They may kill any bird they do not like.

Conures are very active birds that demand a lot of attention from their owners.  They like to be entertained by their owners and will enjoy playing with bird toys to make their own entertainment.  Many retail pet outlets sell "play gyms" and other accessories that can be attached to, or placed in a conure cage or aviary.

Most conures can be very noisy and may cause problems with neighbours.  Yelling at a conure often excites it and it thinks you are "playing" with it and it will only get more excited and more noisy.  Giving it no attention or interaction and just walk away often works better than loud verbal interactions.

Conures love to chew on timber materials including branches and perches.  The aviary should not have framing timber accessible to the birds as they will probably start to chew on it and eventually may destroy the timber.  It is good therapy and exercise for the bird but not recommended for the aviary structure.  A good supply of green and dry non-toxic branches, including leaves, will minimize the likelihood of any structural timber damage.  Wood, chipboard, melamine or masonite cages that have a very smooth surface devoid of holes or surface damage are usually not attacked by the conures but a close inspection should be routinely done to ensure they have not found a weak spot in the surface. A steel frame is the preferred material for any aviary that houses any types of parrots.  The birds have a strong beak and will require strong wire mesh on the cage or aviary.  Parrot breeders often use 12 or 13 gauge, 12mm x 12mm (the old 1/2 in. x 1/2 in.) hot dipped galvanized weld mesh.

Conures are intelligent birds and will try to find any weakness in the aviary and make a escape.

Conures like to bathe in a bowl of water.  This can result in a wet messy indoor cage.  A special spot can be set aside in the room if the birds are let out.  They will quickly learn to have a splash in the bowl when outside the cage.  Make sure the weather is warm enough to allow them to fully dry after their bath.

With indoor cage breeding being common for conures, I do not have the top of the cage higher than my eye level.  Conures like to develop a level of dominance within its group and also over their handlers.  With a cage equal to or lower than my eye level this minimizes the possibility of the bird/s feeling superior or dominant in the pecking order.  This seems to minimize many daily battles and when the bird or birds are being handled outside the cage it is preferable to keep them about elbow height or lower and not allow them to climb up to shoulder or head height.  If a bird is on your shoulder and squawks or screeches the level of the noise may, over time, damage the humans hearing.  A startled bird may flap its wings and a wing tip can cause an eye injury to the owner.  Conures also "nip" to develop or maintain its level of dominance and ears, eyes, lips or nose may be "nipped" resulting in an injury to the owner.  Birds than are allowed to fly free in a room often fly to the highest point in the room and over time become harder to get back in the cage.  Removing all perching places above head height in that room makes their capture easier and they tend not to develop a superior attitude.

Many indoor cages walls have mostly vertical wire bars but few horizontal bars.  This may be suitable for large cockatoos but the wide horizontal bar spacing makes climbing in the cage difficult.  The ideal cage has lots of horizontal bars with fewer vertical bars.

Food and water in a cage should be on the opposite side to the nest box and not under a perch.

Many species of parrots and conures can be trained when they are outside their cage to stay on their cage.  Many new wire cages now have a roof that opens and has a perch and play toys incorporated in the roof level.  Many pet shops and bird dealers use these cages to display tame birds and the birds stay in or on the cage even with the ever changing customers passing by.

Conures are very adaptable birds and allow us to house them in a wide variety of cage and aviary sizes.  They will also accept suspended wire cages.  A cage in an indoor room can be about 1000mm long x 600mm deep x 600mm high ( about 3 ft. x 2 ft. x 2ft.).  A breeding box can be attached to the outside of the cage and with an nest box entry hole of about 70 - 80 mm (3in.).  Birds that are used for breeding and are housed in an indoor cage or suspended cage will benefit if they are given some time in an aviary during the non breeding season.  The time in a bigger aviary will allow the birds to exercise more and flying, hopefully giving the bird/s more body condition and better muscle tone at the start of the next breeding season.

Outdoor aviaries for conures are similar to those of any medium size parrot design.  A sheltered area about one third the length of the aviary or a minimum of about 1500 mm ( 5 feet) with a half or fully covered roof.  Double wiring between adjoining aviaries with about 75 - 100mm (3 - 4 inches) between the wire layers is recommended.  Many owners paint the wire with black paint to be able to see the birds in the aviary better and to minimize the risk of the birds ingesting zinc from the wire.

Conures have one advantage in winter when housed in an outdoor aviary as most conures will roost in the nest box.

If the bird/s are in a cage are able to be handled or are able to be easily removed from the cage, cleaning of that cage can be thorough and cause minimal disturbance or stress to the bird/s.

General References: Refer to references listed on " Book References " web page.

Specific References:

"A Guide To Popular Conures as pet & aviary birds"  Authors Ray Dorge & Gail Sibley.  Publisher Australian Birdkeeper Publications.  2001  Cost about $30 - $32.  Pages = 112.

  • Australian Aviculture
  • A/A Vol 60 No. 4 Apr 2006 Page 69-71 (Advantages & disadvantages of Bird keeping in hot climates)
  • A/A Vol 59 No. 11 Nov 2005 Page 252-253 (Use of crop needles)
  • A/A Vol 59 No. 10 Oct 2005 Page 233-235 (The case for feeding Green foods - by Dr D. Madill).
  • A/A Vol 59 No. 9 Sept 2005 Page 203-204.
  • A/A Vol  2 No 3 Mar 1948 Page 24-25 (Birds of yesteryear,  Still valid in 2005).
  • Australian Birdkeeper
  • ABK Vol 18 Issue 12. Dec-Jan 2006 Page 749-753 (Introducing Aratinga & Pyrrhura conures)
  • ABK Vol 18 Issue 12. Dec-Jan 2006 Page 741-745 (The social lives of wild parrots)
  • ABK Vol 18 Issue 12. Dec-Jan 2006 Page 733-737 (Enrichment for juvenile parrots)
  • ABK Vol 18 Issue 11. Oct-Nov 2005 Page 665-668 (Beaks for every purpose - R. Low)
  • ABK Vol 18 Issue 10. Aug-Sept 2005 Page 608-611 (Cracking the chemical code behind the red colours of parrots).
  • ABK Vol 18 Issue 9. Jun-July 2005 Page 526-527 (New conure species in Brazil- Sulphur breasted conure).
  • ABK Vol 13 Issue 4. Aug-Sept 2000 Page 187-190 (Finsch's Conure).
  • ABK Vol  5 Issue 2. Apr-May 1992 Page 59-62 (Golden Conures R. Low)
  • ABK Vol  4 Issue 12. Dec-Jan 1992 Page 588-594 (Raising in Aust.)
  • ABK Vol  3 Issue 4. Aug-Sept 1990 Page 174-177
  • ABK Vol  3 Issue 2. 1990 Page 78-82
  • ABK Vol  2 Issue 10. 1989 Page 384-386 (Blue crowned Conure)
  • ABK Vol  2 Issue 7.1989 Page 238-240 (Q. of Bavaria, Janday & Golden Crowned)

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