Conures are small or medium sized parrots, and are very similar in temperament and origins to parakeets. Their beaks are either black or horn-colored, and though small, are surprisingly strong. They have lithe bodies, and long tails.
Conures are flock birds and usually congregate in groups of 20 or more. They originated from South America and Central America. Some species, like the Carolina Parakeet, lived in North America, but because their love for grain branded them as agricultural pests, these birds were hunted to extinction by the 20th century.
Types of Conures
Technically, the conure is not a scientific grouping, but a general term used in aviculture to refer to birds with similar physical traits.
The pyrrhura conure is the most common, and share a very distinct green color. They are smaller, and much quieter than the other birds. The nanday conures, on the other hand, have black heads and dark blue-tipped wing and tail feathers. They have beautiful blue markings on their necks, while their legs are a sunset orange. Unlike the pyrrhura conure, they can raise a ruckus when excited. This is largely due to their strong flock instinct, and in the wild, they relied on screeches and shrieks to warn each other of approaching predators. Of the conures, the nanday are easier to train, and love to mimic sounds and learn tricks. They also tend to be friendlier with humans. Some wild Nanday conure flocks have been seen in parts of Florida and the west coast.
The golden conure was given that name because of its eye-catching yellow feathers, accented by green wing tips and a grey beak. They are quite rare, and naturally, more expensive. Most experts discourage keeping gold conures in captivity, because of the cost of caring for them, and their tendency to reject human company.
The Patagonian conure is one of the largest in its family, and has only recently been sold as pets. They are not as colorful as the golden conure or the nanday conure; in fact, most of its bright feathers are hidden underneath. It has a unique habit of building its nests underground, giving it the nickname “the burrowing parrot.” They tend to chew things, and can be quite destructive of furniture, or even walls!
However, the largest conure is the Greater Patagonian. It is highly intelligent and can be taught many words. It can be quite friendly with people, though it’s important to find a hand-raised chick, and to buy it when it’s young.
The golden-plumed conure is found in the Andes, and is considered an endangered species. Another rare bird is the yellow-eared conure, found in Colombia and Ecuador. It is impossible to breed it in captivity. The Carolina Parakeet has become extinct, gunned down by irritated farmers, and hunted for its feathers, which were used to decorate hats. The last Carolina parakeet was seen in the 1900’s.