Green-cheeked Conure Mutations ... Green-cheeked Conure Sub-species ... Green-cheeked Conure Breeding
The Greencheek Conure or Green-cheeked Parakeet (Pyrrhura molinae) is native to west-central and southern Mato Grosso, Brazil, through northern and the highlands of eastern Bolivia to northwestern Argentina.
They prefer forest areas, where they form big flocks and can often be seen at treetop level. This conure is endangered in its natural habitat (CITES II). In the wild, they eat various seeds and fruits and probably other kinds of vegetable matter.
They reach maturity at 1 to 3 years -- the smaller Conures mature more quickly. In a safe, healthy environment, they can expect to live up to 35 to 40 years.
The Green-cheeked Conure is primarily green, with a grey breast, dark head, maroon tail and blue flight feathers.
Its average weight is about 70 g - but the general weight range of this species is between 60 to 80 grams. The average length (including tail) is 10 - 11 inches (25 -27 cm).
Males and females look alike.
Several striking color mutations have occurred in captivity. Please click here for information and photos
I love all Conures but am particularly fond of the Green-cheek Conures. The Green Conures have big personalities for such small birds. They have become a favorite in the pet trade because of their sweet personalities and fun disposition. They are playful, affectionate and intelligent.
- Please click here for some a collection of photos that show the playful personality of these conures.
Donnie describes his green cheek as follows: [ I] just absolutely love my "Zora". When Zora bounces her head up and down, I think that she is dancing! She is also a character - even with the two dogs. All three will run around the floor and the dogs are usually be chased by Zora.
Green cheeks are not considered the best talkers. However, some particularly smart green cheeks learned to talk quite well, according to their owners. The majority of green cheeks say only a few things, and there is no guarantee that they will ever learn to talk. They also have soft and gravelly voices, so even if they try to talk, they may not say anything understandable.
But there are also some green cheeks who talk a lot. If you talk to some smart greencheeks in context they often learn to speak in context (i.e. "good night" at night, "bye bye" when you leave for work in the morning, "hello" when they greet you).
Despite their reputation for not being the "best talkers" some talented greencheeks do exist, as can be exemplified by the input from several Avianweb visitors:
Thomas Beccaris is owned by a a green cheek conure who says phrases like, 'Can I Have A Kiss,' 'I Love You.'' She will ask for a kiss and when you make a kissing sound she makes a little "thank you" chirp. And if you ask her for a kiss, she will make the kissing sound as well. Thomas also states that this talented greencheek is learning more by the day.
Another, anonymous, web visitor wrote: "My greencheek is a very talented talker, "with an extensive vocabulary and clear elocution."
Evelyn Blackburn, describes her pet greencheeks as follows:
" ... they both can talk, not real good, but they talk. The male says 'Lokee pretty bird' and the female says her name, Sweet Pea and baby. She can also say '"mommy, daddy, and Max' . She also sings along with a song my husband made for her. It goes Sweet Pea baby bee the bird (all of which she says along in the song in the right spots along with throwing a kiss). Her favorite word is 'baby' which she can say in several different voices."
Another webvisitor, Lorraine Gordon, states: "Green Cheek Conures are great talkers."
Katie wrote that her green cheek conure vocabulary consists " Its OK, Dont bite, Good morning, Whats the matter, I'll be back , Good boy" - amongst others.
They are cuddly birds:
It is said that they are second only to the cockatoos in terms of cuddliness. They like to be held (although some like it more than others) and can learn tricks such as lying on their backs and "kissing." However, individual differences do exist, as some green conures will accept cuddling only on their terms. But these are the exception to the rule. Most seem to thoroughly enjoy cuddling whenever their favorite human is available.
They are all play
They are very active parrots that like to play, explore and chew. Lots of toys are recommended to keep their beaks from "getting busy" on your furniture.
Smart Little Birds!
Most will hold their own with any of the mid-sized or medium-large parrots in terms of smartness. They are also, like most parrots, very smart and can be taught simple tricks pretty easily and more complicated tricks with some work.
How much attention do they need?
Like all parrots, the green cheeks are social birds. They do require daily interaction with their social group, entertainment, things to do -- or else they will become bored and develop behavioral problems. In the wild, they would never leave the company of their flockmates. In a captive pet situation, a hand-fed conure requires the same social interaction from you and your family.
If you have little time to give, a parrot would not be a good choice for you. You would need someone at home several hours a day at a minimum, preferably someone should be home most of the day. I would recommend that there be people at home, with the bird, for at least several hours every day or the majority of day.
It's best to keep your pet conure where the center of activity is, usually the family room, and leave the cage door open or allow your pet to be on a playpen whenever someone is at home. During this time some direct interaction should be provided, such as talking to your pet, petting it, or placing it on your shoulder while you surf the internet, watch tv or go about your other activities. My parrot even joins me in the gym!
Do they make good family pets?
In general, conures make good family pets as long as they have been well socialized. They don't mind a lot of activity - in fact, the more "fun stuff" is going on, the more entertained and happier they tend to be. They usually get along well with all family members, although they are likely to eventually choose a favorite; but as long as they are exposed to, and socialized by, other family members, they should maintain their friendliness with the others. Conures love to be touched and handled - another reason why they often do well with kids.
However, they go through nippy phases that can be hard on children as well as on adults. Teaching the child appropriate handling of the conure will help prevent some painful experiences - however, it will never entirely eliminate them. The tamest pet bird gets startled and bites - without this being a true reflection on its personality. It's a natural reaction. Experienced pet owners learn to read the body language of their pets and can avoid most of these "accidental encounters." Training is important to prevent an accidental bite from turning into a behavioral problem.
It is difficult to instruct smaller children on proper parrot handling, and their interactions with the conure should always be supervised. But children who have learned to handle the conure gently and confidently usually don't have a big problem with aggression. How well the child-parrot interaction goes really depends on the maturity level of the child, as well as the proper socialization-level of the parrot. Admittedly though, some genetics come into play as well. Some individual parrots are more aggressive than others. Often this is a family trait and one parrot pair produces sweet babies, while others produce nippy offspring. Sweet babies can turn nippy, if not socialized well, and nippy (usually nervous / fearful birds) can be taught to be good family pets. Birds do pick up on stress and anger that we humans may feel and this can impact their personality and likelihood to be aggressive towards us. It is always best to approach a bird calmly and focus on, and enjoy, the interaction with the parrot rather than reflecting on problems in your life. Doing so will actually be conducive to your own health, as it will help you relax.
There never will be a guarantee that a meaningful relationship between the children in the family and the pet parrot develops and if things don't go well, the conure may end up being a pet for the adults only. For this reason, it is not recommended to buy a parrot as a pet for the kids - this needs to be a family pet, with the adults taking on most of the responsibility.
Green-cheeked Conures can be noisy (although less so than other conures). They can be prone to biting, particularly when young, but an owner can cure this behavior with patience and time. Behavioral issues can be avoided or minimized with proper handling and socialization.
Conures in general present their challenges and they are not the best "starter" birds, although some species are easier to keep than others, as is the case with the green cheek. It is, however, really important to learn to understand them and to guide their behavior before an undesirable behavior has been established.
Conures are known for their loud and harsh calls, which is a natural way of communication and social interaction and shouldn't be "trained away" -- however, they can develop into excessive screamers, which really requires early intervention. Noise is less of a problem with green cheeks, although their call can be irritating to sensitive ears.
Even a young bird that has not been neglected and abused requires proper guidance; this becomes even more challenging when it involves a rescued bird that may require rehabilitation. Behavioral challenges that conures present include:
- Chewing / Destructiveness: Green cheeks will chew on wood, on paper or, in fact, on anything that their beak can destroy. If you have something that you don't want chewed, don't allow your pet around it! Any parrot will chew. This is natural behavior. In nature, they use their beak to "customize" their favorite tree, to enlarge the size of their nest in a tree hollow. Doing this keeps their beaks in good condition. Provide ample opportunities for chewing, specifically bird toys, natural branches, etc. The problem only is EXCESSIVE and undesirable chewing.
- Biting: Conures can become nippy. Like most parrots they are likely to discover their beaks as a method of "disciplining us" once they are out of the "baby stage." This being said, some green cheeks never bite a person in their lives; and most green cheeks bite very rarely, but may do so during certain periods in their lives or under certain circumstances. However, there are a few green cheeks who are very aggressive and will bite quite a lot. It depends on the individual, and also a great deal on how that individual was raised and socialized. Nippiness and biting are probably the most common behavioral complaint from green cheek owners. It really is important to learn to understand them and to guide their behavior before undesirable habits have been established.
- The "Noise" Factor: Along with other Pyrrhura conures, they are only moderately loud, therefore making acceptable pets for apartment dwellers for the most part. However, green-cheeks are still noisy enough to potentially upset the neighbors of apartment dwellers or annoy those that are sensitive to noise. Like other conures, they tend to express excitement with a series of loud, shrill screams.
Training and behavioral guidance will help your pet be the kind of companion you want it to be ...
- AvianWeb Resources: I put together web resources for you to help you understand your pet bird and properly direct him. Please visit this website for valuable tips on parrot behavior and training. If you found a way to resolve a "parrot behavioral issue" please share it with others.
- If you are, as I am, a visual learner and prefer step-by-step instructions to train your pet, I recommend:
If you are considering a conure as a pet, the following web resources might be of interest:
- Procuring your Parrot
- Housing & Caring for Your Conure: Conures love to climb and play and need to be provided with a cage that allows them to move around freely and toys to entertain themselves with. Please refer to the following websites for information:
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