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A sun parakeet is a brightly colored parrot native to the northeastern portion of South America. It is known by the scientific name Aratinga solstitialis and the common nickname sun conure. The “sun” part of the name is due to its bright coloration, which is mostly yellow with an orange belly and face color that can range from orange to red. Splashes of greens and blues on its feathers make the sun parakeet a gorgeous bird and appealing pet.
The males in some species of birds have brighter plumage than the females, but that isn’t true of the sun parakeet. Both genders display the same vivid coloration, which makes identifying a bird’s gender impossible without resorting to surgical sexing or DNA testing. The young sun parakeet sports an olive hue that helps it blend in with its verdant surroundings. Its color starts brightening to orange and yellow at approximately six months, and achieves full brilliance around the end of its first year.
A sun parakeet is considered a medium-sized parrot, with a length at maturity of 12 inches (30 centimeters), including the tail, and a weight of around 3.5 ounces (100 grams). It is a social bird, living in groups of 20 to 30. A sun parakeet is mostly herbivorous, eating berries, seeds, nuts, and fruits in the wild. It reaches sexual maturity at around two years. Females lay clutches of two to four eggs that hatch in about 23 to 25 days.
Sun parakeets are among the most popular parrots in the pet trade. The birds are intelligent and friendly, and in captivity generally bond easily with their owners. Pet sun parakeets like to play with a variety of toys and crave attention. They respond well to being cuddled and stroked and enjoy having someone talk to them. One of the drawbacks is that they have a raucous squawk that can be loud enough to disturb the neighbors.
A person planning to get a pet sun parakeet must keep in mind that the bird will require a lot of attention and toys. Sun parakeets enjoy mirrors, swings, and exercising their wings. A cage should be large enough so the bird can spread its wings, with dimensions of at least 20 inches (51 centimeters) along each side and a height of 24 inches (61 centimeters). The bird should be allowed some time each day to fly around free and interact with its owner.