Basic Information Sheet: Conure

Conure

conure

Natural history


Most conures are found in regions of the Amazon Basin but some species are from the Caribbean islands.

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Conservation status

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Conures are on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) list. These species are not necessarily threatened with extinction, but may become so unless their trade is strictly regulated.


Taxonomy



Class: Aves

Order: Psittaciformes

Family: Psittacidae

Genus: Aratinga includes 19 species

Aratinga acuticaudata – Blue-crowned or sharp-tailed conure

Aratinga solstitialis – Sun conure

Aratinga jandaya – Jenday conure

Genus: Pyrrhura includes 18 species

Pyrrhura molinae – Green-cheeked conure

Pyrrhura frontalis –Maroon or red-bellied conure

Genus: Enicognathus contains 2 species

There are also several single-species genera.

Nandayus nenday – Nanday conure

Physical description


  • Conures are small to medium-sized birds with strong beaks and long tails.
  • Most Aratinga species are green birds with red, brown, or blue markings. The Jenday conure has a yellow head and breast while the sun conure is mostly yellow with green wings and tail as well as orange markings on its head and abdomen.
  • Pyrrhura species are mostly green with red-brown tails and some scalloped design to the feathers on the neck. There are also a variety of species-specific markings. The maroon-bellied and green-cheeked are often confused, but the maroon-bellied has a heart-shaped maroon shading compared to the only slightly reddish belly of the green-Cheeked.
  • Conures are sexually monomorphic.


Diet


  • Conures are granivores and frugivores. Free-ranging birds eat a variety of seeds, fruits, and nuts. Companion birds should be fed a varied diet with sufficient vitamin K.
  • Queen of Bavaria conures (Aratinga guarouba) have higher dietary fat requirements. Since psittacine birds hull seeds before ingestion, they do not require grit. In fact, some individuals will overeat grit when ill putting them at risk for impaction.
  • All-seed diets are deficient in protein, vitamins, and minerals including calcium and vitamin A.


Husbandry


  • Provide frequent water baths or showers to maintain normal skin/feather quality.
  • These active birds need enough room for flapping, hopping, and climbing. Minimum cage dimensions should be 20 x 20 x 36 in (51 x 51 x 91 cm). Appropriate cage bar spacing of 0.5-0.75 in (1.3-1.9 cm) is recommended for small conures, while 0.75-1.0 in (1.9- 2.5 cm) is recommended for large conures.
  • Perch diameter should be between ½ to 5/8 in (1.3-1.6 cm). Sand paper perch covers are very abrasive to the feet, and are not recommended.
  • Toys are extremely important, especially for the blue-crowned conure, which is an avid chewer.


Behavior


  • Conures are active, playful birds.
  • Pyrrhura species are relatively quiet, while some Aratinga species have very loud, harsh voices.
  • Foraging is an important part of normal daily parrot activity. Teach and encourage pet birds to play and forage.


Normal physiologic values


Temperature (average)*41.8°C107.1°F
Resting heart rate (beats/min)Variable206 (average)
Respiration (breaths/min)Small conure40-50
Large conure30-45
Body weight (g)Green-cheeked60-80
Red-bellied70
Sun conure120
Nanday140
Blue-crowned130-180 (165)
Lesser Patagonian240-310
Mean life span (years)20-2535-40y has been reported
Sexual maturity (years)1-3
Weaning age (days)45-70Parent-raised
Fledgling age (days)35-40
Mean number of incubation (days)21-30Depends on species
Average number of eggs laid2-4Can be up to 7
Water intakeHigh individual variability
Target environmental temperatureMimic natural environment.Household temperatures of 70-80°F (21-27°C) are generally acceptable, however healthy birds can tolerate hot and cold temperatures.
* A routine avian exam does not include measuring body temperature.


Anatomy and physiology


  • Anatomic traits of Order Psittaciformes include:
    • Communication of the right and left nasal sinus
    • The only avian tongue with intrinsic muscles
    • Simply syrinx
    • Craniofacial hinge of beak is a synovial joint
    • Ceca absent
    • Gall bladder often absent
    • Zygodactyl foot: two toes pointed backward and two pointed forward


Restraint


  • Conures may be restrained by holding the head between index and middle fingers and supporting the body with the palm of the hand as well as the thumb and little finger.


Venipuncture


Using a 25-gauge needle and a 1 or 3mL syringe, draw blood from the right jugular vein. Up to 1% of body weight is acceptable in healthy patients.


Preventive medicine



Injections


Intramuscular (IM)Reasonably safe, most accurate.Inject middle of muscle mass.Ideal location –Pectoral muscle mass
Subcutaneous (SQ)Large volumes can be injected, poor absorption.Location:  Inguinal or precrural fold
IntravenousEffective, narrow safety range.Right jugular vein or brachial vein is most commonly used.Alternative option: superficial metatarsal vein.


Important medical conditions


Infectious conditions

Non-Infectious Diseases

Conures, particularly Nanday and Patagonian conures, may serve as asymptomatic carriers of Pacheco’s disease virus.

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References