Scientific name: Pyrrhura molinae
Note that the species known for some years as the Yellow-sided Conure (Pyrrhura hypoxantha) is a colour mutation which occurred in the wild of the sub-species sordida.
Adult length: 10in (26cm)
Adult weight: 60-80g (depending on sub-species and fitness)
Expected lifespan: Twenty plus years. These are all the products they need throughout their life.
Status in wild: Generally common
Central South America - a large range from southern Brazil, eastern Bolivia, north-western Argentina, north-western Paraguay and possibly also southernmost Peru.
The plumage is the same but the head and beak tend to be larger in the male.
The readiness to breed of this Conure has resulted in a very large number of mutations and mutation combinations being bred over the past two decades. As a result, the popularity of this species has overtaken by far any other Conure. Widely available and very colourful, is the so-called “pineapple” mutation which is, in fact, an opaline mutation of sordida.
Suitability as a pet
The small size and usually pleasant voice (compared with other Conures) has contributed to their great popularity. Many Pyrrhura Conures are hand-reared by breeders on the assumption that they will make better pets. I do not believe that this is true.
Given the choice, I would choose a parent-reared bird every time. They are more independent. They are also less inclined to be nippy, a behaviour that can become apparent by the time they are five months old. While it usually requires time and patience to tame a parent-reared bird, provided that it is acquired as soon as it is independent (that is, at about three to three and a half months), I believe that it will make a more rewarding and interesting companion over the long term, and one that is better able to entertain itself.
However, parent-reared birds will suffer at being isolated from their own kind, so thought should be given to acquiring two young birds of the same sex, assuming that breeding is not the intention.
The small size of these Conures can lead to wrong assumptions. They are highly active and forever moving about, so a small cage does not suit them. A Cockatiel cage is too small but cages made for larger Parrots, such as Amazons, are often too tall and the bars too wide.
They need a cage with more length than height. The solution can be to make a cage using welded mesh or ask someone who constructs cages or aviaries to make one for you. A cage made from 12g welded mesh will be substantial enough to last for years but not too heavy to move about.
Here are cages suitable for Green-cheeked Conures.
These Conures readily accept a varied diet that should comprise about 60% seed, dry and soaked or sprouted, and 40% fresh fruits, berries and vegetables. A good proportion of the diet can consist of wild foods such as hawthorn berries, blackberries, willow catkins, young leaves of dandelion and smooth sowthistle, and cultivated foods such as cotoneaster berries, flowers such as nasturtium, plus of course, the usual fruits including pomegranate, also soaked dried figs.
Pyrrhura Conures have a passion for fresh green leaves. The most nutritious dark green leaves that you can purchase are spinach, spinach beet and Swiss chard and rocket. During the winter months you can grow rocket, mustard and cress and milk thistle in little punnets.
Fresh green food is so important to these birds! Soaked and sprouted seeds are also important. A number of mixtures for soaking are available. They vary in quality. Some contain items that few, if any, Parrots will eat, such as dried fruits which are most unappealing when soaked and nutritionally useless when dry (too much sugar).
Click here for Small Conure food.
Sometimes owners perceive some aspect of behaviour as problematical. A man wrote to me about his mother’s male Green-cheeked Conure which was trying to mate with the perch and even with its own tail.
Such behaviour is often seen in single pet birds when they come into breeding condition. It can last a few weeks. The bird was very tame and was his mother’s constant companion. Buying a mate for it was not the answer.
If we keep birds on their own, depriving them of a mate, we should not be surprised if they show sexual behaviour! Neither should we expect to prevent this.
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Click here for everything you need for Green-cheeked Conures.
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