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Sun Conure Species Description

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Breed Organization

National Audubon Society

Cornell Lab of Orinthology

The Avian Web

Other Names

Order Psittaciformes
Family Psittacidae

Scientific Name
Aratinga Solstitialis

Species Description

On average, Sun Conures weigh approximately 110 g (4 oz) and are approximately 30 cm (12 in) long. They are sexually monomorphic.

Adults have a rich yellow crown, nape, mantle, lesser wing-coverts, tips of the greater wing-coverts, chest and underwing-coverts. The face and belly are orange. The base of the greater wing-coverts, tertials and base of the primaries are green, while the secondaries, tips of the primaries and most of the primary coverts are dark blue. The tail is olive-green with a blue tip. From below, all the flight feathers are dark greyish. The bill is black. The legs and the bare eye-ring are grey, but the latter often fades to white in captivity (so using amount of grey or white in the eye-ring for determining "purity" of an individual can be misleading). It is easily confused with the closely related Jenday Conure and Sulphur-breasted Parakeet, but the former has entirely green wing-coverts, mantle and vent, while the latter has green mottling to the mantle and less orange to the underparts. The Sun Conure is also superficially similar to the pale-billed Golden Conure.

Juvenile Sun Conures display a predominantly green plumage and resemble similar-aged Sulphur-breasted Parakeets. The distinctive yellow, orange and reddish coloration on the back, abdomen and head is attained with maturity.


Its exact ecological requirements remain relatively poorly known. It is widely reported as occurring in savanna and coastal forests, but recent sightings suggest it mainly occurs at the edge of humid forest growing in foothills in the Guiana Shield, and crosses more open habitats only when travelling between patches of forest.

Like other members of the genus Aratinga, the Sun Conure is social and typically occurs in groups of up to 30 individuals. It has been reported as nesting in palm cavities. It mainly feeds on fruits, flowers, berries, nuts, and the like. Otherwise, relatively little is known about its behavior in the wild, in part due to confusion over what information refers to the Sun Conure and what refers to the Sulphur-breasted Parakeet. Regardless, the behavior of the two is unlikely to differ to any great extent.


The Sun Conure occurs only in a relatively small region of north-eastern South America: the north Brazilian state of Roraima, southern Guyana, extreme southern Suriname, and southern French Guiana. It also occurs as a vagrant to coastal French Guiana. Its status in Venezuela is unclear, but there are recent sightings from the south-east near Santa Elena de Uair n.


Sun Conures are popular as pets because of their bright coloration and ability to talk. Due to their inquisitive temperaments, they demand a great deal of attention from their owners, and can sometimes be loud. Like many parrots, they are determined chewers and require toys and treats to chew on.

Hand reared pets can be very friendly towards humans that they are familiar with, but they may be aggressive towards strangers. Sometimes they can be aggressive towards the owner. They are one of the friendliest of the Conure species, but they are one of the loudest.


The sun conure is noted for its very loud squawks and screams compared to its relatively small size. It is capable of mimicking humans, but not as well as some larger parrots. They are popular as pets because of their bright coloration and curious nature. Due to their inquisitive temperaments, they demand a great deal of attention from their owners, with whom they can be loving and cuddly. Hand-reared pets can be very friendly towards people with whom they are familiar, but they may be aggressive with strangers and even territorial with visitors. Sun conures are capable of learning many tricks and can even perform in front of a live audience. They enjoy listening to music, to which they occasionally sing and dance. Like many parrots, they are determined chewers and require toys and treats to chew on. Other activities enjoyed by sun conures include taking baths and preening feathers. Many owners clip their conures' wings, but this is not necessary if the proper precautions are put in place. Due to environmental hazards, conures should not be allowed to fly unsupervised. Sun conures are great candidates for outdoor flight when well trained, as they are loyal, but risk potential must be minimized. In captivity, their lifespans range from 15 to 30 years.

A red factor colour mutation has been produced in aviculture. Originating in Hawaii in the early 2000s, this mutation results in the parakeet's normal yellowish plumage being replaced by a deep reddish-orange, the intensity of which varies from individual to individual. The genetics and inheritance mode of the mutation are poorly understood at present and some red factor birds that exhibit extremely reddish color fail to thrive, display health problems and die within months of hatching, with brain and spleen abnormalities apparent upon autopsy.

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