For most pet bird lovers conures are the perfect options. These birds are neither too small nor too big and have easy care needs. Conures belong to a group of new world parrots that have long tails in the arinae subfamily.
They make great pets because they are inquisitive and lively. Moreover, they love attention and will perform a range of antics for an audience.
Conures have small bright-colored feathers and four toes. These toes face opposite directions and are used for perching or holding onto their food. Their strong small, curved beaks are perfect for the breaking of seeds that make up a huge portion of their diets.
A high-pitched screech is a conure’s signature sound. This is generally emitted when the bird is startled, excited or seeking attention. Conures can also talk although their vocabularies are not as broad as those of other parrot species.
Below are a few guidelines on the talking ability of conures to help you train your pet bird.
How Do You Teach Your Conure to Talk?
It is not a guarantee that your conure can talk in the future though it can do so. With a little skill and patience, however, you can teach your conure to talk.
Some of the talk training techniques used for conures include repetition, association and positive reinforcement.
The following are some steps when teaching your conure to talk:
- Build a bond with your conure. You can do this by providing for the bird’s vital needs like food and some toys to keep it busy in the cage. This helps you strike a healthy relationship with the bird that, in turn, makes it comfortable enough to want to talk to you.
- Build trust with the conure. Your bird will take time to trust you enough to talk to you. To help it build trust, talk to the conure softly and be gentle when handling it.
- Prepare for talk training. Once you have built a bond and trust with your conure, you can start the preparations for talk training. Come up with a training schedule to make the conure disciplined and save your time. When preparing the ideal training environment, ensure it is free of loud music, kids and other disturbances.
- Start with simple words. To encourage a conure to talk, start your training with short and simple words. Your voice must remain cheerful and positive during the training sessions so that the bird is not discouraged.
- Repeat training daily. Once your conure starts vocalizing words, repeat the training daily as per your schedule. You can also pick the words the bird loves most and focus on them in training. Conures love mimicking and repeat sessions are essential to hone your bird’s talking skills.
Which Conures Have The Best Talking Ability?
Conures might not be your leading options when looking for pet birds that can talk. Even so, if you are looking for a talking bird that is also affectionate, conures are your best picks.
With the diverse conure species available, some have better talking abilities than others. The conure species with the best talking abilities include red masked, blue-crowned and Patagonian conures.
How Many Words Can A Conure Learn?
Conures will generally take time to talk. Remember that the birds have no vocabulary of their own and will only imitate what they hear.
There is no set timeframe within which the conure should talk since the birds have different traits, much like is evident when teaching children how to talk or read.
On average, however, conures can learn 5-10 words by the time they turn three years old. Most start talking at 2-3 months old.
Can a Conure Understand You?
No, conures might not really understand what you are saying. Research nonetheless shows that they can make associations with certain words and phrases.
If, for instance, your conure knows that each time you walk into a room you say “hi how are you”, the bird will mimic this. This does not mean that the bird understands the phrase but rather that it has learnt to associate the words with someone entering a room.
Conures imitate many things and they thus will essentially repeat certain sounds then associate them with different actions.
Why Has Your Conure Stopped Talking?
When a conure that had started talking suddenly goes quiet, the bird is almost always sick. When birds fall sick, they usually become quiet since they are weak and talking drains them further.
A metabolic disorder, trauma, inflammation or infection can cause a conure to reduce its voice pitch or stop talking altogether. This might be accompanied by other signs of illness like fluffed up feathers, behavioral changes, cere discharges, breathing difficulty and lethargy.
Other than a generalized illness that weakens your pet bird, diseases that affect the trachea or syringeal area might cause it to stop talking or have a vocal change.
Aspergillosis, pneumonia, air sac disease, bronchitis and tracheal tumors are the common ones that affect the syringeal area and trachea.
The above tidbits have hopefully answered your questions on a talking conure. You can get a conure from your local pet store, bird feeders or an avian speciality store.
Nowadays conures are also available from avian adoption and rescue organizations. Most people nonetheless prefer people-socialized hand-raised conures since they make excellent family pets.
Either way, the person you source your pet bird from should have a clear proof of ownership so that you do not run into legal issues or support illegal practices.
The key to having the best experience with a talking conure irrespective of where you get it from is getting a healthy bird. Healthy conures are active, alert and have well-groomed smooth feathers.
They also have dry bright eyes, dry nares and clean, dry vents. Discolored stools, nasal or eye discharges, appetite loss, red eyes swollen beaks and wheezing are typical signs of unhealthy conures.
Since some of these signs will only become evident after a few months of keeping the pet bird, it is best to involve a vet in your bird’s purchase.
He/she can run relevant tests to ascertain the health of a bird before you settle on it.