The sun conure (also known as sun parakeet) is brilliantly colorful, friendly, intelligent and full of life. It is well known among families in love with companion birds.
However, owners need to be prepared as the sun conure is among the loudest of all medium-sized parrots.
It’s not an ideal pet bird for first-time owners since it requires plenty of consistent training, constant socialization, and daily interaction to keep it well-behaved and tamed.
Origin and Natural Habitat
Sun conures are native to South America (northeastern), including Guyana, northern Brazil, and Venezuela.
They are found mainly in inland tropical habitats and may inhabit coastal forests and dry savanna woodlands. They usually inhabit palm groves and fruiting trees.
The endangered bird’s population is dwindling rapidly as a result of trapping for pet trades and loss of habitat. About 800,000 sun conures are trapped every year, deposit the 1992 import ban in the United States, and the 2007 European Union ban.
At maturity, sun conures are yellow and bright orange with traces of blue and green. The juvenile sun conure is not nearly as colorful as the adult—it’s a natural defense mechanism. Its first feather colors are olive green, changing to yellowish-orange at about six months of age.
It will have a full-color plumage at about one year of age. These birds have white patches around their eyes and black feet and beaks. Both males and females have identical markings and colors. To determine the sex, your sun conure would require surgical sexing procedure or genetic testing.
Sun conures are playful, amusing parrots that love athletic tricks. They are interactive, smart, and easily trained. These gentle and cuddly birds make wonderful pets for every family member as long as they’re treated well. Sun conures are not without assertiveness—they can become aggressive at any provocation.
The birds may experience nippy phases, which can be tough on both adults and children. Even the tamest birds can bite if they startled. It’s not a real reflection of their personality but a natural reaction.
Like other parrots, the sun conure is a social bird that requires plenty of interaction with its owner to be healthy and happy. It is naturally affectionate and playful when it gets the attention it needs, making it well-suited for individuals who need a pet for steady companionship.
Note that sun conures are extremely loud and capable of producing ear-piercing screams. In the wild, their loud, shrill calls help to bring attention to situations from long distances. Likewise, this parrot can act as an excellent “watch bird” in your home.
Size and Weight
An adult sun conure measures 30 cm (12 inches) in length, including its long tail.
It weighs between 100 grams and 130 grams (3. 5 and 4.5 ounces), with an average weight of 110 grams (4 ounces).
Sun conures are very active birds, and they are generally happy in roomy enclosures. The minimum recommended cage size is 20 inches x 20 inches and a minimum height of 36 inches.
Ensure the cage features narrow bar spacing (a maximum of ¾ of an inch), so your sun conure’s head doesn’t get stuck between the cage bars or prevent escape.
Like most other conure species, your sun conure needs safe areas outside its cage to investigate and explore. This athletic bird enjoys creating tricks on its own. Ensure the cage has a play gym on the top so the sun conure can stretch its wings and legs.
Hand-raised birds love perching areas in open-top cages as they allow more interaction and freedom with their family. You need to cover the cage with a cage cover or a sheet to reduce visual stress and prevent drafts every night.
Like most pet parrots, sun conures need training if you’re looking to have a fun and positive relationship with them.
You can utilize positive reinforcement methods to train this conure to perform many athletic tricks. The sun conure does not react well to scolding or any form of negative reinforcement.
The sun conures are not as excited about bathing as several other parrots, but most of them might bathe daily and splash about if there is a bowl of clean water in their cage every day. Unlike parrots, conures are not lovers of spray showers.
Common Health Issues
Like other parrots and conures, sun conures are prone to feather picking. While it may be due to medical reasons, it’s mostly a sign that the bird isn’t getting the attention it requires or is bored.
Sun conures are also vulnerable to avian viral problems, such as proventricular dilatation disease, feather disease, and psittacine beak.
They are also prone to psittacosis bacterial infection, aspergillosis fungal infection, and beak overbite (beak malocclusion).
If you suspect the pet is ill, you need to contact an exotics specialist or avian veterinarian to examine the bird. You also plan annual examinations with the specialized veterinarian.
As with every bird, your sun conure needs proper exercise to maintain good health. This conure species is, by nature, very energetic and needs enough space to play, explore, and fly.
Ensure your sun conure spends at least three hours outside its cage daily. Foraging and other enrichment forms are vital for these smart birds. Ensure to provide your sun conure with several toys, which should be changed regularly to prevent the bird from getting bored.
Food and Diet
In the wild, the sun conures feed on mainly seeds, nuts, and fruits. In captivity, they feast on a balanced, formulated pellet diet that’s supplemented with root vegetables, leafy greens, and fruits. Sweet potatoes (slightly steamed) are also a great meal for your sun conure.
You can offer them an unlimited quantity of pellet food; your conures will only consume what they need. As for vegetables and fresh fruits, offer about a ¼ or ⅛ cup at night and in the morning.
Like other companion pet birds, the sun conure will appreciate occasional treats, so ensure to make healthy options for treats. Seeds and nuts are always an excellent choice for occasional treats.
Almonds and walnuts are also good selections. To enable easy feeding of your feathered companion, you can make a grain bake casserole dish. This freezes well for your bird’s healthy, portioned meal.
Sun Conure Lifespan
The sun conure’s average lifespan is between at and 25 years, with adequate care, regular veterinary visits, proper nutrition, and exercise.
Breeding pets or females laying eggs without any mate are vulnerable to calcium deficiency and egg binding.
A sun conure confined to a very small cage is prone to getting overweight too. All these conditions can reduce the sun conure’s lifespan.
Sun Conure Breeding & Courting
A sun conure must reach 2 years old before it can breed. These birds don’t have any specific courtship behavior, but they create a strong bond.
Their only nuptial behavior is mutual feeding, as it’s a way to demonstrate their interest in each other. While feeding, the female sun conures may fluff out their feathers and make occasional calls.
Breeding sun conures is easy once they adapt to the environment and attain maturity. After their first breeding, they will keep doing so in subsequent years. You need to provide a metal nesting box on a wooden nest to prevent your pet bird from chewing on it.
Hang the nest in a high portion of the cage and pack a soft material (pine shavings) into it. After mating, female sun conures spend most of their time inside the nest.
Female sun conures usually lay an egg every other day until they have laid about three to eight eggs, and the incubation period is about 24 to 28 days.
After the young sun conure hatches, it remains in the nest for up to 1½ months. While several broods are bred in the spring, sun conures can breed in any season of the year, provided they have a comfortable nest box.
If talking ability is among the primary interest points when looking for a pet bird, then you shouldn’t consider a sun conure.
However, with some effort and patience, some sun conures learn to speak, although not as seamlessly as several other parrots. While talking sun conures can only learn a few sentences and words, they don’t develop extensive vocabularies.
They can mimic human voices as much as other parrot species like African grays. However, some sun conures may display a creepy ability to mimic several kinds of sounds, such as telephone chimes, microwave buzzers, and doorbells.
Are Sun Conures Noisy?
In captivity, the sun conure’s loud, harsh calls can draw return calls from furious neighbors. That’s why the parrot isn’t suitable for condo and apartment dwellers.
You can’t “train away” their natural calls, but they can be trained from a tender age to restrain from excessive screaming.
They can express fear and excitement with shrill screams. All conures are generally not shy and will react vocally if you neglect their needs or if they feel bored.
While sun conures don’t have a great talking ability as other parrots, several individuals love them as pets due to their bright coloration and fun personality.
But keep in mind that keeping them can be challenging for first-time bird owners. Overall, the sun conure makes a wonderful pet.