Need some information about the sun conure? There are many different types of conures, and they all make wonderful pets. One of the most striking is the sun conure – it is not only one of the most beautiful birds available, but it is also highly intelligent, extremely social and affectionate. These birds are thus very popular as pets. This overview provides in-depth information about the sun conure, and its suitability as a pet bird.
Sun Conure History & Origins
The sun conure is native to the north eastern region of South America, and can be found in flocks in north western Brazil, Guyana and Venezuela. It favors open forest and savannah biomes. Sun conures are very easy to breed in captivity and hand-reared babies are therefore readily available to supply the pet market. Hand-raised baby sun conures are habituated to humans, they tame quickly and develop a lasting bond with their owners.
Physical Features of the Sun Conure
The sun conure is an incredibly beautiful bird that immediately commands attention with its array of vibrant bold colors. Its body is primarily a bright yellow-orange, kissed with a varying degree of orange-red accents on the face, breast and belly. The bright yellow coloration extends down onto the tops of the wings, while the primary and secondary flight feathers are green, with a hint of deep blue on the edges of the primary flights. The tail is olive green to yellow-green tinged with blue. It has a black beak and black feet.
Juvenile sun conures are a muted green color with splashes of yellow, but this gradually changes into the predominant fiery yellow-orange coloration as the bird matures, and the juvenile plumage is replaced by adult plumage with the first molt at around six to eight months of age.
The sun conure is monomorphic, meaning that the males and females look the same, so should you wish to breed sun conures, your birds will have to be sexed by DNA analysis of feather or blood samples, or by being surgically sexed by an avian veterinarian.
The sun conure is a slender bird that reaches an average size of 12 inches, and weighs between 3.75 to 4.5 ounces(roughly 100 to130 grams). It reaches sexual maturity at around two years old, and has a lifespan of anywhere between 25-30 years.
Sun Conure Characteristics
Sun conures are full of character, they are very active, and love to play. They are extremely social birds that crave attention and affection. Sun conures love to cuddle and will readily climb inside your shirt with just their head peeking out to see what’s going on around them. They will sometimes puff all their feathers up and bob their heads up and down when seeking attention or displaying their affection.
They are also extremely rowdy birds with a high pitched shriek, which they use to full advantage when seeking attention. They are also very alert, and will give a few sharp shrieks to sound the alarm when someone arrives at your home.
General Care & Considerations
Due to their high level of activity and playful nature, sun conures need to be provided lots of toys to keep them busy and stimulated. Sun conures are chewers, they love to climb and hang, and they love to make a racket. By providing toys that satisfy these requirements, you will keep your sun conure happily amused for hours. They love wood or rawhide toys they can chew; toys they can climb on, such as ropes, chains, and swings; and are particularly fond of bells, which they rattle around with their beaks. This keeps them entertained for hours.
As they love to cuddle, a bird hammock or tent strung up in their cage will provide them a cozy corner to retreat into when your shirt is not available. When choosing a cage for your sun conure, the recommended minimum cage size is 24 x 24 x 36 inches to provide them with space to move freely about and to accommodate their toys.
As sun conures are very social birds that love companionship, their cage should be positioned in a central location in the household so they can be part of the day to day activities. Place the cage in a draft free spot away from windows, and doors, taking care to avoid placing near fans or air ducts. All birds need natural lighting for optimal health but take care not to leave the cage unattended in direct sunlight or your bird could overheat.
Sun conures need regular time out of the cage to interact with family members and to bond with their owner. However, it is best to trim your bird’s wings to avoid accidents such as flying into a window and getting injured, or flying out of the house into the big wide world.
Sun Conure Food Requirements
Avoid feeding sun conures a seed-only diet as this is not healthy. Commercial pelleted preparations are available, but while these are balanced and healthy, they are not very appetizing to your conure. Try to supplement this with fresh fruit and vegetables, such as grapes, apples, berries, banana, broccoli, corn, sprouted seeds, and seeds and nuts in moderation. Whole grain cereals and bread can also be offered. Avoid alcohol, coffee, tea, fizzy drinks, onions and avocado.
Sun conures are highly interactive, and make wonderful companions. As they are very intelligent and active birds, they require a great deal of stimulation and attention to avoid behavior problems such as shrieking for attention and biting, which stems from frustration and boredom.
Featured Image By Doug Janson, via Wikimedia Commons