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What is a Conure?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 20 November 2016
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A conure is a medium-sized parrot native to the New World. The term “conure” is actually rather imprecise, as it is used by aviculturists to refer to birds who fit into a rough category, and it does not reflect an actual biological classification. Most of the birds known as conures are actually parakeets or small parrots, and you may hear these terms used to refer to conures, especially when a biologist is doing the talking. (Incidentally, the pet bird commonly called a “parakeet” is actually more properly a budgerigar.)

Several traits are common to the conures. These birds tend to be compact and lightly built, with long tail feathers and small but extremely strong beaks. Many conures are brightly colored, with patches of green, red, yellow, orange, and blue on their bodies, and they are also extremely curious, intelligent birds. Conures can often be taught to talk, and they are reasonably good at solving basic puzzles and simple problems. They also love to play around, leading some people to refer to them as the clowns of the avian world.

Conures make popular pets in many regions of the world, although they can be difficult to keep as pets. Their intelligence often proves to be their undoing, because conures are easily bored and frustrated, especially when confined to a cage. The birds may develop behavioral problems like excessive chewing, shrieking, biting, and feather pulling. These traits sometimes alienate their owners, which ultimately causes even more frustration to the bird.

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People who want to keep conures need to be prepared with a large cage, and a space where the parrot can be allowed out to fly now and then. Conures need at least three hours of dedicated attention and socialization every day, and many parrot owners recommend having someone around at all times during the daylight hours to keep the bird socialized and happy. Conures also need enrichment in the form of interesting toys such as puzzles with food hidden inside, and they appreciate a soft, dark space to hide, such as a bird tent.

These birds are usually mature at around age three, and a conure can live to be 35 or more in captivity. A conure represents a significant commitment, and this is something which should be considered before bringing the bird home. Some popular conures include Naraday conures, sun conures, and green-cheek conures. These birds are often readily available at pet stores, with prices which vary, depending on the bird, its level of maturity, the size, and the amount of socialization the conure has experienced.

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