Despite being large for parakeets, conures are lightly built with long tails and small (but strong) beaks. Conure beaks always have a small cere and are usually horn-colored or black. Most conure species live in flocks of 20 or more birds. Conures often eat grain, which causes them to be treated as agricultural pests in some places.
Conures are as diverse a group as African Parrots, so trying to characterize them all is difficult and inaccurate. The category conure is loosely-defined because they do not currently constitute a natural, scientific grouping. The term conure is now used mostly in aviculture. Scientists tend to refer to these birds as "parrots" or "parakeets." (See below under Scientific Classification for more details.)
See also: Wikispecies taxonomy.
Latin for "little macaw," (ara - macaw, tinga - diminutive) the Aratinga conures generally seem to have a more mischievous personality than the real little macaws or mini macaws. Popular as pets, the Aratinga conures are generally larger with brighter plumage and are generally the noisier, more outgoing, more demanding of the two primary conure genera. The colorful Sun Conure and Jenday Conure are among the species of conures more commonly kept as pets. Many of the Aratinga species can be quite loud but otherwise can make very good pets for responsible owners. Some species, such as the Dusky Conure, Brown Headed Conure, Peach front Conure, and Half Moon Conure, are among the quieter Aratinga species, though they may still be loud at times. Lifespan is 20-30 years.
The Jenday Conure or Jandaya Parakeet (Aratinga jandaya) is a bird of the parrot family native to northeastern Brazil.
While the Jenday has a very loud shrill call they may not have the high pitch of a Sun Conure.
Like most conures, Jendays are also known for their sociable disposition and playful behavior. These small parrots are highly intelligent, and can often learn several words and phrases, but are not known for their talking ability. Jendays often enjoy learning tricks, and should be handled frequently.
jenday conures are very closly related to the sun conure, they look almost exactly the same. The only difference is that jenday conures have very dark green wing and back feathers with blue tipped wings and tail feathers. it is hard to tell the difference when they are young because the sun has the same green as jendays before their first molt.
Pyrrhura is the other large genus of conures. These generally greenish conures include the very common Green-cheeked Conure, as well as the maroon-bellied conure, pearly conure, black-capped conure, painted conure, crimson-bellied conure, and a number of other species. Usually smaller, duller-colored, and much quieter than the Aratinga conures, the Pyrrhura conures contain almost every conure species with a hyphen in the name. Pyrrhura species are growing in popularity as pet birds, primarily due to their quiet nature, their friendly, affectionate, and intelligent personalities, and the increasing number of color mutations being developed in several of these species. They are known to be nippy or territorial birds on occasion; most juveniles go through a nippy stage. Lifespan is 20-25 years.
The Nanday Conure, Nandayus nenday is the most commonly kept pet conure species outside of the two main genera. Some experts believe that Nandays should actually be grouped with the Aratinga genus, since they are cross-fertile with such species as Jendays and Suns. Nanday Conures have a distinctive black head, and wings and tails tipped with dark blue feathers. They have a light-blue scarf and bright orange feathers on their legs and around their vents. The maturity of a Nanday can be told by the edges of its black hood: if the hood has a ragged edge of brown, then the bird is over a year old. Although Nandays are often said to be extremely noisy, it might be more accurate to say that they are a heavily flock-oriented species, used to making their demands known, calling out warnings for the group, and making inquiries about other members of the group who are out of sight. They are also extremely social and intelligent birds, capable of learning tricks, mimicking sounds, and learning a decent vocabulary. At least one report suggests that they are highly adaptable to human encroachment on their territories, but the exact status of the species in the wild is unknown. Flocks of Nanday Conures have been seen living wild in parts of Florida, notably the west coast including areas of St. Petersburg and Clearwater.
The Golden Conure or Queen of Bavaria Conure, Guarouba guarouba (recently reclassified from Aratinga guarouba) is, as the name implies, covered all over with bright yellow feathers, except for the green wing-tip feathers and the greyish-horn-colored beak. Golden Conures are among the most expensive conures both to purchase and to care for, although many owners feel that the benefits outweigh the cost. It is one of the rarest conures in the wild in addition to the pet trade. Many experts believe that these birds should not be kept in captivity unless in a breeding program.
The Patagonian Conure, also known as the Burrowing Parrot, Cyanoliseus patagonus, is a large conure found in the Patagonia region of south-central Argentina and Chile. Drab on the top, brighly colored underneath, the Patagonian Conure has increased in popularity since the 1990s, leading to an increase in illegal importation which threatens the wild populations; however they are fairly commonly bred in captivity. Patagonian conures have a reputation for being exceptionally sweet-natured and intelligent conures, but can be very loud and destructive with their chewing.
The Golden-plumed Conure, also called the Golden-plumed Parakeet, Leptosittaca branickii, is a small Andean conure not found in aviculture and endangered in its own habitat.
Conuropsis carolinensis, the Carolina Parakeet, was the only parrot species endemic to the United States in recorded history. The Carolina parakeet was a remarkably social bird, living in vast flocks. American bird hunters reported that Carolina Parakeets would return to mourn dead members of the flock, making themselves easy targets. Considered a pest, popular in the pet trade, and bearing plume feathers valued for hats, this species was hunted to extinction around the beginning of the 1900s.
The parrot order Psittaciformes is a rather confusing tangle of genera, many containing only one species. Parrots or Psittacines (order Psittaciformes) includes about 353 species of bird which are generally grouped into two families: the Cacatuidae or cockatoos, and the Psittacidae or true parrots. The term parrot is generally used for both the entire order as well as for the Psittacidae alone.
All members of the Psittaciformes order have a characteristic curved beak shape with the upper mandible having slight mobility in the joint with the skull and a generally erect stance. All parrots are zygodactyl, having the four toes on each foot placed two at the front and two back. See Parrot.
The conures and all other New World parrots are often placed in a subfamily or tribe Arinae. Internal relationships of conures are poorly understood though it seems evident that, to make them a natural grouping, the Quaker parakeet1, the thick-billed parrot, and Brotogeris² should be included, and often are. Neotropical parakeets, macaws, and other are also candidates potential for inclusion. In this scheme, "conure" would comprise members of the genera:
In addition the caiques and the hawk-headed parakeets have also been proposed for inclusion. Both the caiques and the Hawk-headed parakeets have a heavier build and different tail structure from traditional conures.
1The Quaker or Monk parakeet is technically a conure by almost anybody's definition, but due to its popularity in aviculture and its uniqueness, it is generally considered in a category of its own. ²Brotogeris are not only often counted as conures, but as parrotlets as well, and it is not clear precisely which one, or both, or neither, they belong to. Certainly the tail structure is different from that of the parrotlets, although the basic body structure seems to be analogous with both groups.
Three species of conures (genus Aratinga)have formed non-native colonies in California, and these are documented by the California Parrot Project in affiliation with the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and in cooperation with the Pasadena Audubon Society. http://www.californiaparrotproject.org/id_guide.html