|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
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 2’x 2’x 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.
to a photo.
or Crimson-bellied Conure (P.perlata perlata)
Conure (P.perlata lepida)
Conure (P.frontalis frontalis)
Conure (Fallow mutation)
Conure (Cinnamon mutation)
(Cinnamon Yellow-sided combination)
(Blue mutation) **
Conure (P.leucotis leucotis)
Conure (P.leucotis griseipectus)
White-eared Conure (P.leucotis
Conure (P.picta picta)
Conure (P.picta roseifrons) **
(P.egregia egregia) **
Maroon-tailed or Souance
Conure (P.melanura souancei)
Conure (P.rupicola )
Rose-crowned Conure (P.rhodocephala)
Conure (P.hoffmanni hoffmanni) **
** available soon
all other species available