Sun Conures are colorful neotropical parrots. The adults typically measure 30 cm in length and can weigh between 100 and 123 g. They have medium sized bodies and long, pointed tails. They are bright yellow in coloration with red markings on the side of their head and red-orange color on their forehead, lower abdomen, lower back, and rump. The under feathers of the tail are green and yellow. An immature conure will be duller in color and have more green on the head, throat and body. The juveniles do not usually attain the coloration of an adult until 18 months- 2 years of age. Male and female conures look very similar and are difficult to distinguish solely on their appearance. However, the males can sometimes be brighter in color, especially around their face and abdomen. This is not always the case because conures can vary in color from bird to bird.
Habitat and Range: Sun conures are only found in tropical habitats, and prefer to live on open savannahs or within dry savanna woodlands. They can be found throughout South America. They have been recorded mostly in Brazil, north of the Amazon River. They are commonly found in scrublands along the Amazon riverbank, and forested valleys. They tend to inhabit palm groves and anywhere where trees or bushes are fruiting profusely. They may require post-fire habitats and are sensitive to human activity such as cattle grazing. These birds have not been widely studied in the wild because they only reside in largely undeveloped parts of the country that are difficult to access.
Diet in the Wild: Diet in the wild includes seeds, nuts, fruits, berries, vegetation and insects.
Diet in the Zoo: Mixed diet of pellets, nuts, fruits, and vegetables, fed daily.
Predators: Predators will include birds of prey, snakes, and terrestrial mammals that can attack the young nestlings or fledglings.
Life Cycle and Social Structure: Monogamous. There is not much known about the sun conures reproduction and nesting in the wild. There is no known courtship behavior. Paired birds have been observed feeding one another and will intensely groom each other before breeding. After a pair breeds they will become very affectionate towards one another and can be aggressive towards others.
Sun conures are cavity nesters, making their nest inside trees or in cavities in palm trees. The females will continuously clean the nest until the eggs are laid. The average clutch size is 3-4 eggs. They lay one egg at a time a 2 to 3 day intervals. The incubation period lasts from 23 to 27 days. The young fledges 7-8 weeks after hatching and become independent after 9-10 weeks.
Sun conures will typically only breed once a year and the breeding season usually begins in February. They reach reproductive maturity at 2 years of age.
Life Span: The lifespan of a Sun conure in the wild is unknown. In captivity they live 15-30 years
- Also known as Sun Parakeet
- They have the ability to use their foot like a hand to hold, examine, or eat items.
- Sun Conures are social birds, a single flock can have up to 30 birds
Conservation Message: They are endangered. Due to the pet trade much of their wild population has become rare or absent in much or their range. These birds are easily captured using seed bait and whole flocks can be extirpated very easily.
The Sun conure is all threatened by habitat loss due to agriculture and live stock overgrazing.
What You Can Do: When becoming a pet owner, do your research. Select animals that have been bred in captivity and not removed from the wild for use in the pet trade. Also remember to choose your pets wisely. You need to make sure any animal you decide to care for fits into your lifestyle. Do not get a pet unless you can adequately provide for their physical and mental well being for as long as they live.
Supporting rainforest products that are sustainably grown can help to decrease the amount of deforestation being seen in the African gray parrot’s natural home range.