Choosing a Maroon-bellied Conure

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The colorful maroon-bellied conure (Pyrrhura frontalis) has the reputation of being the quiet member of the conure family. Relatively speaking that may be true; however, it is only in comparison to other conures. These sweet birds are loud, especially in the early morning; they get very excited when they see the sun rise, and they express their excitement with a series of loud, shrill screams.

The maroon-bellied conure is found in southeastern Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay and northern Argentina. They are smaller birds, approximately 9 to 10 inches in length. They are similar to the green-cheeked conures and are often identified incorrectly. Maroon-bellied conures are primarily green and have a golden barring on the chest and distinct heart-shaped maroon shading on the belly. The flight feathers are blue and the tail is green with a dull reddish color. The beaks and feet are dark grey or black. Their color comes in after the first molt.

Maroon-bellied conures are inquisitive, playful, active, spunky and curious. They love to hang upside down and clamor along the cage bars, while waiting for you to play with them. They have a sweet personality, and because they are small and not very messy, they are the perfect pet for people living in apartments.

Maroon-bellied conures are loveable and friendly and love to be cuddled and handled by their owners. They love to see their owners come into the room and will greet you in grand fashion. And one thing is for sure: Unless you wear ear plugs, you will never oversleep in the morning.

Maroon-bellies have the ability to learn to talk, although they usually don’t. However, they have their own language and you can learn theirs. Certain chirps mean certain things, such as “feed me” or “play with me” or “thank you” and especially “GOOD MORNING – EVERYBODY UP!” Some have learned to mimic other human sounds as well, like sneezes and coughs.

Most conures live 15 to 35 years.

Housing

Conures do best in a large cage that is 20 inches by 20 inches by 36 inches. Conures are active and playful birds, who need space to scramble around in. The cage should be large enough so that your bird can spread his wings without touching any wall or the roof.

Perches should be of different shapes and thickness and should be kept clean. You might want to place one near the door to allow your pet to come out easily on his own. Do not place perches directly over food or water.

Conures love to play and can become bored quickly if they don’t have anything to amuse them, so provide at least three toys and switch them around often, so they’ll keep your pet more entertained. They love wooden toys that they can chew up and these birds can reduce a wooden toy to shreds in a matter of hours. They enjoy pieces of balsa wood, clean Popsicle-type craft sticks, tissue boxes, paper towel cores and short pieces of knotted string to untie. They also love swings, rings and long plastic chains to swing from, and bells to ring – the louder the better.

Your conure will also appreciate a large play stand on top of the cage, again, equipped with lots of toys. These can be purchased or you can construct one of your own from dowel rods and a board. And don’t forget to take your pet out to play everyday.

Feeding

Maroon-bellies are amazingly willing to try new foods, and they adapt to a pelleted diet with remarkable ease. Being very curious and playful, they like a varied diet, which in addition to a pelleted diet should contain nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables. Food should also offer a wide variety of shapes, sizes, colors and textures. Pellets of different shapes and colors are often preferred over plain pellets. Conures are prone to conure bleeding syndrome, which is thought to be caused by a lack of Vitamin K, found in foods like broccoli.

Conures also enjoy extra treats such as shredded meat or pasta, hard boiled egg, peanut butter, bean sprouts, and torn up bread moistened with fruit juices. Anything you eat is pretty much okay with your conure, except for avocado, which is toxic to birds. Be sure to remove perishable food after a couple of hours so that it doesn’t spoil.

Birds that don’t get enough calcium get soft bones, and females who are calcium deficient may die if they try to lay eggs. Calcium is a necessity and you can offer this in the form of a cuttlebone or calcium block. If your conure does not take to these, you can scrape the soft surface of the cuttlebone with a knife over the dish of food every day.

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