There are numerous species of conures (Aratinga and Pyrrhura sp. and others) but only a few are commonly kept as pets. They are native throughout Mexico, Central and South America. Members of this group of birds are considered small to medium sized birds and are characterised by their long slender bodies, long tapered tail and large beak. They are a gregarious, mischievous bird. Tame conures can be very affectionate, social birds who demand a reasonable amount of attention. Conures are not well known for their capacity to speak but can often be irritatingly vocal. This bold, inquisitive bird loves to play and chew. Providing non-toxic, washed, fresh branches and pet-safe toys will afford many hours of entertainment for this curious little pet. The safest branches to use are Australian native species such as Eucalypts (gum trees), Callistemon (Bottlebrush), Grevillea, Hakea, Banksia., Casuarina (She-oaks). Most exotic trees and shrubs are toxic and should not be offered to your bird – two safe exceptions are pine trees and Jacaranda.
Some commonly kept conures in Australia and New Zealand include the Jenday conure, Nanday conure, Patagonian Conure, Sun conure, Green-cheeked conure, and Maroon-bellied conure.
Conures can be very pleasant pets if they have been hand-reared. They do have some ability to speak but it is not as clear as in other pet parrots. If not raised well, they are prone to be screamers or aggressive to their owners, particularly: Sun, Nanday and Jenday Conures. The aggression begins as a little bit of cheekiness but rapidly advances to more serious biting and aggression – this is particularly common to develop as the birds approach puberty. Maroon-bellied, Green-cheeked and Patagonian conures make better pets if kept in single-bird households and are given lots of good quality interaction with their owners.
Purchasing a Conure
Conures may be purchased from a pet shop or, better, a reputable breeder. When selecting a conure, try to choose a young bird as it may be easier to tame and train. Older colony or parent raised birds may prove difficult to tame. Hand raised babies often make better pets since they have been completely socialised with humans. Young birds are easier to tame and adapt readily to new environments and situations. Your new bird should be exposed early to different events (young and old people, males and females, other pets, car trips, visits to the vet, etc.) to help promote a calm, well adjusted pet. The lively, alert bird that is not easily frightened is more likely a healthy bird. After purchasing your new bird, have it examined by your veterinarian.
Conures require regular, routine veterinary health check-ups. Your veterinary surgeon can perform a physical examination, grooming (beak, nail or feather trim) and laboratory tests as needed. During these check-ups, health, nutritional and maintenance issues can be identified and addressed. Veterinary check-ups help prevent disease and will aid in the maintenance of a long lasting, healthy relationship between you and your bird.
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