green-cheeked CONURE: SPECIES PROFILE
The humble green-cheek is a very popular pet bird, for good reason. We might be a little biased, but we think they are so pretty darn spectacular! The size of a cockatiel with the personality of a macaw and full of mischief and crazy antics. They are highly social, generally quiet, great with children and brilliant fliers. They are very fast learners, and can even learn to say a few words and tricks. Although they are not overly noisy, their infrequent alert calls can pose problems to people living in apartment complexes. They are more chatty than screechy. If you want a tiny shoulder companion who is always up for snuggles, a conure might just be the right pet for you!
Green-cheeked conure, green-cheeked parakeet, green-cheeked parrot
10 inches (26cm) and between 60 and 80 grams
With adequate diet, care, health, stimulation and love, your green-cheeked conure can live up to 25-30 years. However, most live only 10 years, due to owner neglect. This is why it is imperative to learn and grow our knowledge about avian care.
ORIGIN AND HISTORY
The Green-Cheeked Conure is native to South America, living in the forests of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay. In the wild, they tend to live in large flocks of 10-20 birds.
Colours and markings
Green-cheeked conures are monomorphic, meaning both sexes have identical colouring. They naturally occur as 'green/natural' and 'yellowsided' in the wild, but there are a multitude of new colours that have been developed in captivity. They are characterised by their vivid colours: red tails, green and blue wing feathers, black head plumage and bare white rings around their eyes.
Some colours that are bred in captivity are: pallid (cinnamon), pineapple, opaline (yellowsided), parblue (or more commonly referred to as turquoise), turquoise yellowsided, turquoise cinnamon, turquoise pineapple, and even pied, violet (single and double factor) and dilute. To learn more about the different colour mutations, read here.
Conures, by nature, are very inquisitive, playful parrots. They need to have adequate room to play, forage, fly/flap and explore their surroundings. For birds, this is usually a cage or enclosure, which becomes your bird's "safe place". Their cage should provide sufficient room to freely spread both wings. Choose the largest cage you can afford and that will fit well in your space.
A cage recommended to house a green-cheeked conure should be at the very least 60x60x60cm, but recommended 80x90x55cm with between 15-19mm wide bar spacing. A cage with a playtops and doors with locking mechanisms are an advantage. Select natural branches to use as perches, as these provide different thicknesses, textures and enrichment to promote foot health.
Conures love to chew and should be given ample toys for the sole purpose of destroying and keeping them occupied. We purchase all our toys from Unique Beaks Handmade Bird Toys which are made with bird-safe natural dyes, stainless steel, plastic, wood and accessories. You can find them on Facebook here.
Items such as pony beads, paddlepop sticks, paper, untreated pine, paper straws, wax-free cupcake liners, and finger traps make great toys for inquisitive beaks to shred. Some metals, such as galvanised steel, lead, and zinc can cause metal poisoning, so it is best to use stainless steel wherever possible.
Feeding your conure a balanced, nutritionally dense, varied diet is imperative to maintaining healthy physical and mental wellbeing. This should consist of a base diet of formulated pellets, low-fat seeds, sprouted seed, vegetables and a small amount of fruit. For more details on diet and nutrition for your parrot, read about it here.
diet and nutrition
common health problems
Conures are known to be susceptible to feather plucking. This could have medical causes, or it could be contributed by boredom, or lack of mental stimulation (handling, variation in routine, not enough/any toys).
Annual (or more often if required) checkups are highly advised to ensure your parrot is in best health, as diagnosis and treatment of any disease or illness can be given earlier rather than later.
Diseases known to affect conures include:
Proventricular Dilatation Disease (PDD: An incurable viral disease. Symptoms: regurgitation, crop impaction, poor appetite, weight loss, weakness, muscle wastage),
Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease. (PBFD: An incurable, contagious viral disease which attacks feather follicles, beak and claw tissue. Symptoms: damaged and deformed feathers, claws and beak, cracking and peeling of the outer layers of the claws and beak, lethargy, vomiting/diarrhoea)
Beak malocclusion (Misaligned beak ie. scissor beak. Can be caused by beak injury/trauma. Symptoms: beak not lining up properly when closed)
Aspergillosis (A sickness from exposure to mould spores. Symptoms: severe difficulty breathing, decreased/loss of appetite, frequent drinking and urination, cyanosis (a bluish coloration of mucous membranes and/or skin), sudden death)
Here are some avian vets in South East Queensland whom we have good dealings with and feel confident enough to recommend. There are others in the southern corner, however we would not recommend them.
THE EXOTICS VET
Dr. Vanessa Harkess BVSC (Hons I) MANZCVS (Avian Health)
22 Ashmole Road, Redcliffe QLD
Phone: (07) 3060 2112
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday 9am to 5pm, Closed Sunday and Monday
BRISBANE BIRD VET
Dr. Adrian Gallagher BVSC (Hons) MANZCVS (Avian Health)
248 Hamilton Rd, Chermside QLD
Phone: (07) 3359 2233
Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Friday 9am to 5pm, Tuesday and Thursday until 7pm, Weekends closed
BRISBANE BIRD & EXOTICS VETERINARY SERVICE
Dr. Deborah Monks BVSc (Hons), Cert Zoo Med (RCVS), ECZM Diplomate (Avian Medicine), FANZCVS (Avian Medicine and Surgery)