|Common name||Green Cheeked Conure|
|Latin name||Pyrrhura molinae|
|Length||26 cm /10 inches|
|Weight||60 – 80 grams|
|Life Span||Up to 30 years|
|Origin||South America (Brazil, Bolivia, Argentina and Paraguay)|
|Noise Level||Low to Moderate; quieter than other Conures|
The green cheek conure inhabits multiple countries in South America. They can be found in the subtropical and tropical regions of Bolivia, Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay. On the whole, The species doesn’t have much of a preference when it comes to habitat type. It can be found anywhere from lush forests to savannas. As long as there are some trees available, green cheeks will be able to find food, shelter, and nesting sites.
In the wild, green-cheeked conures are social creatures, often forming groups of 10-20 individuals with other conures while foraging or roosting. Their nests are usually located in tree cavities, which offer protection from predators and harsh weather.
There are six subspecies of the green cheek conure, scientifically known as Pyrrhura molinae:
- Pyrrhura molinae molinae: Highlands of Eastern Bolivia
- Pyrrhura molinae phoenicura: North-East Bolivia and West Brazil
- Pyrrhura molinae restricta: Lowlands of Eastern Bolivia (Palmarito)
- Pyrrhura molinae australis: Southern Bolivia (Tarija) to North-West Argentina
- Pyrrhura molinae flavoptera: Western Bolivia (intermontane valleys in La Paz and Cochabamba)
- Pyrrhura molinae hypoxantha: Extreme East Bolivia and South West Brazil (Mato Grosso)
According to the IUCN, due to deforestation and habitat loss, Pyrrhura molinae populations are decreasing. This makes it crucial to conserve their natural environments.
INTELLIGENCE & PERSONALITY
Outgoing, playful, active, and mischievous are just a few words to describe this charming little parrot, which explains why it’s such a popular companion bird. Known for their big personalities in small bodies, green-cheeked conures tend to be affectionate and intelligent. They enjoy learning tricks like fetch, lying on their backs or figuring out puzzles. They’ve even been known to use tools, like their own feathers, to help scratch hard-to-reach places.
Young birds can be prone to biting, but with time and patience, this behaviour can be curbed. For this reason, and because birds are particularly fragile, children should always be supervised when interacting with these parrots.
These birds easily recognize their owners and can usually be tamed with relative ease. With the right training, within a few weeks, your conure will eat from your hand without hesitation. Once bonded, they’ll often seek out their owners for attention and playtime.
Do keep in mind that as parrots, green cheeks require ample physical exercise and mental stimulation. In the wild, they travel great distances daily, facing constant challenges while foraging for food. This stimulation is often lacking in captivity.
It’s recommended to let your conure out of its cage daily for exercise. Regularly swapping old toys for new ones provides additional mental stimulation, as they love destroying things. Investing in a parrot play gym that fits on top of the bird’s cage is a smart idea. It allows your bird to rest, play, and stretch its wings when outside the cage. And don’t forget to spend plenty of time playing, training and just hanging out together!
Green cheek conures are quiet birds and aren’t known to be great talkers. They can learn very limited vocabulary or replicate sounds, albeit with a gravelly voice. You may have better luck with whistles or simple tunes!
In the wild, these birds primarily consume seeds and plant pulp. However, an all-seed diet is not suitable for a healthy green-cheeked conure in captivity. Although dry seed mixes have long been seen as the standard, this is actually the case for all parrot-type birds. Such an unvaried diet could lead to malnutrition and related illnesses.
Variety is crucial. Provide a well-rounded, nutritious diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, formulated pellets, and a small percentage of seeds to help keep your conure happy and healthy. As described in the full post on switching a parrot from seeds to pellets, if your bird is hesitant to try new foods, patience and persistence are key.
Always provide fresh, clean water. Wash food and water dishes daily.
Green-cheeked Conures benefit from additional vitamin A and vitamin K in their diet. You can either supplement these vitamins or choose vegetables that are rich in these nutrients. Leafy greens make a particularly good choice, and most parrots like them.
As a general rule, the larger the cage, the better! Although Green-cheeked Conures are smaller birds, they are quite active and will utilise all the space you can provide. Make sure your bird can stretch its wings.
Ideally, the cage size should be a minimum of 16″ x 16″ x 18″. Horizontal bars are preferable, as they enable the bird to climb. The cage should be positioned in a part of the house where your conure can have plenty of contact with people, like in the living room. Keep it away from windows where direct sunlight could cause overheating.
Like most Conures, green cheeks sleep in their nesting area year-round. They naturally seek a dark, quiet place to rest. Products like Snuggle Huts, which are cloth tubes hung from the top of the cage, can be a solution. Young birds often take to these right away, but older birds may be more cautious about new objects. Given time, they should eventually realize the hut is safe.
Another option is adding a permanent nesting block to the cage, even if you don’t plan on breeding your bird. These birds prefer nesting blocks with a tight openings, which would offer protection against predators in the wild.
Be sure to also provide a selection of appropriate toys – suitable for their size – and rotate them through the cage to offer entertainment and stimulation. This helps prevent boredom, stress and destructive behaviours in your conure.
Regular baths are important for the well-being of this parrot. Adding a permanent bath to the cage is a good idea, or if this is not possible, make sure to allow it to bath under the tap or in a shallow dish.
Never place the cage in a room with smoke, toxic paint, pesticides, or other harmful chemicals. Remember that parrots and other birds are very fragile!
FEATHER PLUCKING & COMMON ISSUES
These birds aren’t typically prone to feather plucking. However, they do require plenty of stimulation, such as toys and human interaction, to prevent boredom.
There are no diseases specific to Green-cheeked Conures. Maintaining a healthy diet, providing sufficient physical exercise, and ensuring a suitable living environment are the keys to helping to prevent illnesses.
FACTS & FAQ
- Green-cheeked conures have the ability to recognize themselves in a mirror, displaying self-awareness – a trait that was once believed to be exclusive to humans and a few other intelligent animals.
- These conures exhibit strong emotional bonds with their human caregivers, often forming lifelong partnerships based on trust and affection.
- Green-cheeked conures possess an exceptional problem-solving abilities. They can learn to unlock simple latches, solve puzzles, and even imitate actions they observe to achieve a desired outcome.
- When feeling content or excited, green-cheeked conures can display a unique behaviour known as “blushing.” The feathers on their cheeks turn a deeper shade of red, indicating their emotional state.
- Green-cheeked conures possess an impressive vocal range and can mimic various sounds and voices. They can even learn to imitate human speech.
- These conures demonstrate a high level of empathy. They can sense when their human companions are upset or distressed, offering comfort through gentle beak nuzzling or soothing sounds.
- Green-cheeked conures have been observed engaging in cooperative problem-solving. In the wild, they work together to gather food, protect their nests, and defend against predators.
- Conures have the skill to learn and recognise specific human facial expressions. They can differentiate between a smile, a frown, and other facial cues, responding accordingly with either curiosity or caution.
- Green-cheeked conures have a remarkable memory. They can recall familiar faces, locations, and routines over extended periods, showcasing their ability to retain and recall information.
- These conures have a sense of humour. They enjoy playful interactions with their human companions, engaging in games like hide-and-seek or initiating laughter-like vocalizations to express amusement.
- These birds are relatively easy to breed, but sexing them can be challenging.
- Their quiet nature makes them suitable for apartment living.
To view other Parrot Profiles & Care Guides, visit our Alphabetical list of Parrot Fact Sheets by visiting https://blog.parrotessentials.co.uk/parrot-profiles-care-guides/
Koffron, D. A. Breeding the Green-cheeked Conure. AFA Watchbird, 21(4), 61-insert.
Ragusa-Netto, J.. (2007). Feeding ecology of the Green-cheeked parakeet (Pyrrhura molinae) in dry forests in western Brazil. Brazilian Journal of Biology, 67(2), 243–249. https://doi.org/10.1590/S1519-69842007000200009