Patagonian Conure – Profile & Care Guide

Common namePatagonian conure, burrowing parrot
Scientific nameCyanoliseus patagonus
Length45 cm/18 inches
Weight256-281 grams
Lifespan20-30 years
OriginSouth-Central Argentina, Chile
Noise levelHigh!

Natural habitat

Patagonian Conure Profile & Care Guide by Parrot Essentials

As its common name suggests, the Patagonian conure is mainly naturally found in the Argentinian-Chilean region of Patagonia, although it also pops up in the rest of Argentina. Its range occasionally extends into Uruguay, but the birds don’t stay here permanently.

Wild Patagonian conures live in large flocks. They prefer open country, often dry but with rivers and streams. High altitudes are no problem for this species: they can be found at up to 2000m.

Patagonian conure intelligence & personality

Patagonian conures, maybe even more so than other parrots, are known for their intelligence and playfulness. They have a knack for problem-solving and are ever-curious about their surroundings. Although they’re not the best talkers in the parrot family, they do have the ability to express a variety of emotions and needs through their vocalizations.

As with other parrots, social interaction is crucial to a Patagonian conure’s well-being. In their natural habitat, these birds live in large flocks and are highly social. In captivity, they crave forming the same bonds with their human families and can be quite cuddly! They need a lot of attention and will become depressed when left alone for too long.

Patagonian Conure Intelligence & Personality

Patagonian conure talking ability

Patagonian conures, while not at the top of the parrot linguistics league, do have the ability to mimic human speech and other sounds picked up from their surroundings. Their voices are a little harsher than those of other conures, especially when compared to good talkers like the blue crown.

The key to encouraging a Patagonian conure to talk is regular interaction and talking training. Repetition, patience, and positive reinforcement are essential in teaching them new words or phrases. Some birds pick it up better than others, but with some training, most will learn to imitate at least some words and tunes.

Noise level

Even for a conure, which are noisy parrots in general, the larger Patagonian conure is particularly loud. Their vocalizations include a variety of chirps, calls, and squawks, especially during mornings and evenings when they’re most active.

If you’re sensitive to noise, a Patagonian conure (or parrot in general) may not be for you. Their squawks can be exasperating, but it’s part of what makes them parrots and one of their main ways of expressing themselves.

Food & supplements for your Patagonian conure

A balanced diet is vital for your parrot’s well-being. A high-quality parrot pellet mix works best as a base. This prepared food should be supplemented with a variety of vegetables, some fruits, (sprouted) seeds, the occasional nut, and cooked grains. Mealworms or some boiled eggs are good protein-rich treats, occasionally.

Fresh produce for your Patagonian conure can include fruits like apples and grapes and vegetables such as spinach, lettuce, carrots, corn, peas, sweet potatoes, and much more. Remember, fresh produce is essential to give your parrot the variety and additional nutrients it needs! Try offering food in a foraging toy as a great way to combine mealtime with play and keep your bird busy eating for longer.

For calcium, provide a cuttlebone or a calcium block. Vitamins can be added to your bird’s food or water, but consult a veterinarian for specific recommendations to ensure a balanced diet.

Of course, fresh water should be available at all times. To maintain good hygiene, you should wash their food and water dishes daily.

Housing for your Patagonian conure

Patagonian conures are medium-sized, active parrots. In fact, they’re the largest of the conures! Additionally, they love to climb and explore, meaning they need a large cage to thrive. The recommended minimum size is 44 inches in length, 26 inches in width, and 40 inches in height (about 120 x 65 x 100 cm). Bigger is better, however.

In terms of cage décor, play is crucial for the well-being of any parrot. These intelligent and curious birds need a variety of colourful parrot toys to keep them engaged and prevent boredom. Pick toys that are colourful, shreddable, swingable, or that make noise. Puzzle toys are also a good option. Do remember that toys are not a replacement for out-of-cage time: your Patagonian needs to be able to explore freely and stretch its wings for at least a few hours a day.

Lastly, it’s important to include a bunch of natural wood parrot perches in different diameters. These help maintain healthy feet and can double as chew toys for your birds. You can also consider swings and ladders.

Remember to choose a location for the cage that is safe from harmful fumes and draughts. A spot where your conure can interact with its human family, like the living room, is ideal.

Manzanita Natural Flat Parrot Perch - Large

Manzanita Natural Flat Parrot Perch – Large

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Vine Ring Rattle Natural Foot Parrot Toy Parrot Essentials

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Binkies Ball Foot Parrot Toy - Small

Binkies Ball Foot Toy for Parrots – Small

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Feather plucking in Patagonian conures

Patagonian conures, like most parrots, may begin picking their feathers due to various factors such as stress, boredom, nutritional deficiencies, allergies, skin infections, and underlying medical conditions. Psychological stress, often due to a lack of mental stimulation or social interaction, is particularly prevalent in captive birds. Nutrition plays a critical role in the health of a bird’s feathers. A diet lacking in essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals can lead to poor feather condition and may trigger plucking. Regular veterinary check-ups and a stimulating environment are crucial for maintaining their health and preventing these issues. Treatment strategies vary based on the underlying cause. They can include dietary changes, environmental enrichment, behaviour modification techniques, and supplements.

Patagonian conure facts

Patagonian Conure Facts - Burrowing Parrot
  • The genus Cyanoliseus is monotypic. This means it only has one member, namely, the Patagonian conure.
  • There are four subspecies of Patagonian conure. They are Cyanoliseus patagonus patagonus, C. p. andinus, C. p. conlara, and C. p. bloxami.
  • The IUCN Red List considers the Patagonian conure to be a species of Least Concern, although it does note the wild population is likely dropping due to habitat loss and the pet trade. They’re still found on the black market in their native countries.
  • Unique among parrots, Patagonian Conures have remarkable nesting habits. They create extensive burrows in cliff faces or riverbanks. Hence the name “burrowing parrot”. These burrows, which are about several meters deep, are for roosting and raising their young.
  • In Spanish, which is spoken in this species’ native range, it’s referred to as “Tricahue”.
  • Patagonian Conures are highly social birds, often seen in large flocks. These flocks can sometimes consist of hundreds of birds. They maintain strong social bonds and are known for their loud, raucous calls that are used to communicate within the flock.
  • In some areas, Patagonian Conures undertake seasonal migrations, which is relatively uncommon among parrot species. They travel in large flocks to areas where food is more abundant.

Conclusion

Patagonian conures are unusual parrots that can make great pets, but only for the right owner. If you’d like to add one to your family, it’s important to keep their noise level and strong need for social interaction in mind. Parrots are not a set-and-forget pet: they need your almost constant attention and loads of mental stimulation to thrive.

If you don’t mind a noisy, destructive, and needy pet, a Patagonian can be for you. They’re playful, affectionate, and a friend for a long time to come (up to 30 years!).

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/

Sources

Ricci, M., Aguilar, Á., Carrasco, J., Donoso, M., Durán, H., Núñez, C., … & Torres-Mura, J. C. (2018). La colonia de tricahues (Cyanoliseus patagonus bloxami, Aves: Psittaciformes) del Alto Cachapoal, Chile: variaciones poblacionales entre 1985 y 2015. Ornitología Neotropical, 29, 159-165.

Tella, J. L., Canale, A., Carrete, M., Petracci, P., & Zalba, S. M. (2014). Anthropogenic nesting sites allow urban breeding in burrowing parrots Cyanoliseus patagonus. Ardeola, 61(2), 311-321.

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