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About Pyrrhura Conures
Pyrrhura Conures are beautiful,  feathered gems with an inquisitive nature and a seemingly endless amount of energy.  These entertaining little birds have big bird attitudes and combine the playful nature of the larger, more vocal Conures with the strong, independent, often dominant manner of Macaws.  
  
The Genus Pyrrhura is made up of a group of seventeen fairly similar species of Conure. These seventeen species range in size from P.calliptera (Brown-breasted Conure) and P.picta (Painted Conure) at 8.5 to the largest and most unique member of the group, P.cruentata (Blue-throated Conure) at 12.  Each species is colored uniquely, but they do share some like physical characteristics. Among these are size (with the exception of P.cruentata), a broad bill notched in the upper mandible, a long gradated tail, a naked cere and a ring of bare skin around each eye. Because there are seventeen species being discussed, I wont include specific descriptions here. However a short description of each species will be included with each species/ sub-species photo. 

There are currently eight species of Pyrrhura Conure available to breeders in the United States. In addition to these eight, there are also several sub-species and a few mutations being bred. European aviculturists have been working for years with species, sub-species and mutations that are not available in the U.S today, this is changing. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service has already approved a program that will enable several aviculturists(including myself) to import species, sub-species and mutations not currently available in this country. I feel lucky to participate in this program and recently had my first breeding success with some newly acquired Crimson-bellied Conures. This coming year will hopefully see the first breeding in this country of P.p.roseifrons, P.rhodocephala, P.l.emma, and P.egregia. The approval of this program coupled with the imminent approval of several other Pyrrhura Conure targeted breeding programs should make for an exciting new year for all Conure lovers.  

As a group, Pyrrhura Conures can be found all over South America as well as Costa Rica and Panama in Central America. They are forest dwellers for the most part and seem most comfortable playing and feeding high in the forest canopy. They are strong, swift flyers, gregarious, and sometimes quite raucous. Their wild diet consists of seeds, fruits, nuts, berries, some insects and their larvae.  

In captivity, most species of Pyrrhura Conures make enthusiastic and prolific breeders given the right environment.   In order to provide adequate wind and rain shelter for my Conures, yet allow free airflow and as much sun exposure as possible, I designed an open greenhouse facility for them. The greenhouse is 70 long and 24 wide and has an arched top that is 12 from the ground at its highest point. The entire structure is built using 2.5 diameter aluminum pipe. The sides, front and back are 7 high and completely open. The arched top is covered in agricultural grade UV-friendly plastic sheeting and that is topped with 50% shade cloth. Using Aluminum chain and s-hooks I suspended the 2x 2x 4 Pyrrhura cages side by side, so that the bottom of the cages are 5 from the ground. The number of cages(35 on each side, suspended side by side) keeps them stable. The cages are high enough so that the birds are always eye level or above. This affords each pair a sense of security as I move about feeding, cleaning water dishes or just observing. Because the cages are suspended, fallen seed and droppings are easy to rake, haul and compost and water dishes can be flushed with a high pressure hose as needed in between thorough cleanings.  

Proper nutrition is an essential part of any successful breeding program. As anyone knows from working with Pyrrhura Conures, they will eat or at least shred anything that you put in front of them, so it is our responsibility to put nutritious things in front of them. I start with a good basic seed mix (small hookbill), and clean, fresh drinking water. Fruits and vegetables supplement the seed mix and I try to rotate these daily to provide variety. Apples, pears, figs, persimmons, oranges, pomegranates, corn, squash, carrots, radishes, chard, kale, beans, brown rice, whole wheat bread along with hibiscus leaves and flowers are accepted and relished by my Conures. 

Because Pyrrhura Conures sleep in their nest box,  I leave one attached all year. The nest box I use for them is made out of 3/4 plywood and is 17 tall x 12 wide x 8.5 front to back. It has a 3 diameter entrance hole in the top right corner which leads into a small 4 wide antechamber. Once in this antechamber the bird can sit and watch the outside world or proceed through another 3 diameter hole into the actual nesting/sleeping area. This antechamber serves two purposes. It cuts the actual nesting area in half and eliminates direct light,  keeping the nesting area darker. Both of these, I believe, help the birds feel more secure in their box which can lead to improved breeding results.  

Age of maturity varies with each species. In southern California, most species(with the exception of White-ears) begin breeding preparations in January, with most actual breeding taking place between the start of February and the end of June. Courtship generally involves an increase in preening, feeding each other, nest box  modifications and sometimes, excited play that may resemble fighting. Mating may take place on a perch, but often happens on the floor of the cage or in the nest box. 

Typical clutch sizes vary between species, but will be anywhere from 4 to 9 eggs(1 every other day) with incubation lasting approximately 23 days. In most species, the hen does all of the sitting and hardly ever leaves the nest box until the hatched chicks are 2 to 3 weeks old. The young Pyrrhura Conures leave the nest at around 5 weeks of age and are fed another 2 weeks by their parents. Hand-rearing or fostering is necessary to ensure a second and even third clutch. 

Here is a list of the Pyrrhura Conure species, sub-species and mutations that I am hoping to produce this year. Some are linked to photographs of my breeders or their offspring. I hope to continue adding  pictures until all are represented. If you have further questions about Pyrrhura Conure care and breeding or about price and availability please call or email me anytime. 

*linked to a photo. 

*Pearly or Crimson-bellied Conure (P.perlata perlata) 
*Pearly Conure (P.perlata lepida)  
*Maroon-bellied Conure (P.frontalis frontalis)  
*Maroon-bellied Conure (Fallow mutation)
*Green-cheeked Conure 
Green-cheeked Conure (Cinnamon mutation)  
*Green-cheeked Conure (Yellow-sided mutation) 
*Green-cheeked Conure (Cinnamon Yellow-sided combination) 
*Green-cheeked Conure (Blue mutation) ** 
*Green-cheeked Conure (Pastelgrey mutation) 

*White-eared Conure (P.leucotis leucotis)  
*White-eared Conure (P.leucotis griseipectus)  
White-eared Conure (P.leucotis emma) ** 
*Painted Conure (P.picta picta)  
*Painted Conure (P.picta roseifrons) ** 
Fiery-shouldered Conure (P.egregia egregia) ** 
Maroon-tailed or Souance Conure (P.melanura souancei)  
*Black-capped Conure (P.rupicola ) 
Rose-crowned Conure (P.rhodocephala) **  
*Hoffmans Conure (P.hoffmanni hoffmanni) **  

** available soon  
all other species available now

 


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