19 Things to Know Before Getting a Sun Conure
Sun Conure parrots are one of the most common pet birds in the world. These birds have quite a few key characteristics you need to know.
Sun Conures are a truly gorgeous species of parrots faring from the central and northern rainforest parts of South America, namely Brazil, Guyana, and Venezuela. Conures are mid-sized-to-large birds and have a beautiful and brightly colored plumage that can be bright yellow and orange or greenish with shades of yellow and blue in other subtypes such as the Blue-Crowned Conure or the Green-Cheeked Conure.
Friendly, social, playful, gentle, beautiful, and very local, these birds are very popular as pets among bird lovers nowadays. They can work as first-time birds for rookie pet owners but they do have a lot of specifics you’ll need to be aware of first. So, what do you need to know about the Sun Conure?
What are the key characteristics that make Sun Conures special and what do you need to know before you get such a bird?
More than just a pretty package, Sun Conures have a lot of fascinating specifics that make them both interesting and sometimes even challenging pets. None of the things we’ll mention below are particularly complex but you should keep them in mind if you want both you and your pet to be happy together:
Sun Conures are not small parrots – they can reach as much as 12 inches (30 cm) in length or a whole foot. While they are not the biggest pet parrots out there, Conures are still pretty sizable and will require quite a bit of space. This means that their enclosure should be sufficiently big to allow them easily move around. Don’t worry about them needing to fly in their cage as you’ll have to let them out from time to time to do that – we’ll cover this more in-depth below.
Baby Sun Conures start off green but can turn into several other bright colors as they grow up. Conures come in several different types. Sun Conures are typically bright yellow and orange in color, hence their name. Other sub-types, however, are usually green with additional colorful patterns on the head, tail, chest, and/or wings.
These parrots are passionate singers – expect a lot of noise with them. Conures love to sing and they do so a lot. Their voice isn’t particularly louder than other pet birds but it is more high-pitched than most parrots. This can make it unpleasant to some people so make sure you know what you’re getting into. If you like the sound of their singing, however, like many of the rest of us do, then this shouldn’t be much of a problem for you.
Keep in mind that excessive noise can be a sign of an insecure, lonely, bored, or anxious bird. When you get your Conure, you will/should start recognizing the emotion in their voice. You’ll need to differentiate between “happy” singing and “sad” singing to make sure your Conure is doing well.
Don’t expect a Sun Conure to learn a lot of “human” words but expect them to “talk” a lot nevertheless. Conures don’t learn human words like some parrots – don’t expect them to memorize more than just a few words.
These birds are very social and love to be around people – don’t get a Sun Conure if you’re going to be out of the house most of the time.
It’s best to get a second Sunny to keep your first bird company. Don’t worry, this is unlikely to make the first Conure jealous or change their view of you for the worse. Make sure that your conures are of the same sex, however, as it’s best if their relationship is kept strictly platonic.
Conures are smart and easy to train. They will bite if provoked or mistreated, however, so always be gentle with your bird and focus on positive reinforcement only. If this sounds complicated, don’t worry – training a Sun Conure to not bite is simple enough, here’s a good video by BirdTricks.
You can also teach your bird various other tricks – here’s a fun example by Parrot Stuff
Sun Conures need a lot of physical activity and need to be let out of their cages very often. If you want a bird that just stays put and looks pretty – that’s not the Conure. They love to fly, they love to jump around and inspect things, and they love to play and learn tricks.
Sunnies are famous for their clownish behavior which makes them excellent for kids or anyone who loves to have fun, really. Sunnies love laying on their back or dangling from rope toys like bats and will happily do so, especially if they see a response from you. This makes them fantastic family pets but is also a requirement – you need to play with your parrot or they’ll get bored and depressed.
Sun Conures are also very cuddly and love to receive pets as long as their owner has earned their trust. You will need to socialize and train your parrot properly to do that but that’s easily doable.
This is one of those parrot species that love to chew – be mindful of what types of toys you get them. This means avoiding toys that the Conure can pull threads from and get entangled in. Sisal toys with long-hanging streamers are a No-No too and so are long-strand cotton toys. Also, avoid toys with dyes and paint for obvious reasons.
Rearrange the interior and the furniture in “their room” too with their chewing habits in mind. As you will have to let your Conures fly out of the cage every day, you should parrot-proof the entire room. Make sure there isn’t anything the Conures can damage by chewing (at least anything you’ll miss) and that there isn’t anything they can hurt themselves with. If you’re wondering what you CAN have around, one good example is wicker baskets – the Conures will love hanging on them and chewing them but they can’t hurt themselves with them.
Never release a Sun Conure out of their cage and leave them unattended. This is true for all pet birds – never let them out near an open window or door and never leave them alone out of their cage.
Natural to northern South America, Sun Conures are actually an endangered species in the wild. Because they are so popular as pets, Sun Conures are actually an endangered species in South American right now.
It’s best to get a Conure from a breeder or a shelter rather than a pet store. If you want a Conure, we’d recommend adopting a bird from a shelter or getting one from a breeder. This is best both in order to prevent the further capture of wild birds in South America and to ensure that you know the health and lineage of the bird you are going to get.
The best diet for a Sun Conure consists of both fresh fruits and vegetables as well as commercial bird food. The easiest way to feed a Conure is to just pour everything in a single mix – chopped down fruits, vegetables, seeds, and bird mix, all in one. Most experts recommend 60-70% of the food to be commercial mix pellets and the other 30-40% a mix of veggies and fruits. Here’s a good video on feeding a Conure by Aaron Lewis.
Conures have an average lifespan of 15 to 25 years depending on the quality of the care they receive. This means that they are not a life-long companion like some other parrots but you can get them if you are an adult and expect the to get old with you. Alternatively, you can get them for a kid so that the two can grow together.
Find a good vet to look after your Sunny’s heath. Not all vets are good with birds so you’ll need to find one that specializes in Conure parrots. These birds have a relatively good health but you should watch out for feather picking, weight gain (if you don’t give them enough exercise), mental problems (again – due to no exercise and interaction), as well as some conditions such as Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease, Proventricular Dilatation Disease (PDD), Psittacosis, Aspergillosis, and beak malocclusion.
Is a Sun Conure the right bird for you and your family?
So, would you like to get a Sun Conure or are you still making up your mind? As we see it, these birds are suitable for people who:
Work from home or just spend a lot of time at home
Love to play and interact with their birds outside of their cage and don’t just keep them locked in
Are OK with having more than one bird at home as Conures love the extra company even when we give them lots of attention
Don’t mind or want a loud bird that loves to sing
Are interested in a larger parrot and not just a tiny canary
If all this sounds like you, you may just be the right owner for a Sun Conure.