Avian Species Menu

Sun Conure

Sun Conure

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Species Organizations

National Audubon Society
Website: www.audubon.org
Cornell Lab of Orinthology
Website: www.birds.cornell.edu
The Avian Web
Website: www.avianweb.com

Classification
Order Psittaciformes, Family Psittacidae
Scientific Name
Aratinga Solstitialis
Other Common Names
N/A
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.


Habitat
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.


Distribution
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´┐Żn.

Captivity
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.


Summary
Conures are either large parakeets or small parrots that are found in the western hemisphere. They are analogous in size and way of life to the Old World's Rose-ringed Parakeets or the Australian parakeets. All living conure species are found in Central and South America; the extinct Conuropsis carolinensis or Carolina Parakeet was an exception. Conures are often called the clowns of the parrot world due to their constant attention seeking behavior including hanging upside-down and swaying back and forth or "dancing."

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."


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