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Black-capped Conure

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Is the Black-capped Conure right for you?

Species group:

Other common names: Black-capped Parakeet; Rock Conure; Rock Parakeet (although there is also a better-known Australian species with this name); Peruvian Black-capped Conure

Scientific name: Pyrrhura rupicola

The basics:
The striking Black-capped Conures are probably under-rated pets. In the early 1980s, the few legal imports from Bolivia were snatched up by breeders, eager to work with this eye-catching, easy-to-manage, reliable Pyrrhura conure. Although the domestic hand-fed birds have a good reputation for being friendly, even when placed with a mate for breeding purposes, the Black-capped Conure hasn't always received concentrated attention as a single pet. Be realistic and understand that you will need to spend time with your bird to keep it happy and tamed. These social birds crave attention, and a solo pet should have the opportunity to spend lots of time with you.

The Black-capped Conure lives in fairly humid lowland areas of the western Amazon River basin, ranging from central or southeastern Peru into western Brazil and northern Bolivia. Like many other South American parrots, they may forage in pairs or small flocks during the day, then gather in large communal roosts at night.

Appearance:
A small but dapper mostly green conure with a black cap and a scalloped "bib."

Weight:
70 grams (2.5 oz.)

Average size:
25 centimeters (10 in.)

Lifespan:
20 - 30 years

Behavior / temperament:
A properly socialized Black-capped Conure will be an engaging, social pet who wants to spend a lot of time with you. They aren't particularly noted as good talkers, but some birds have picked up a few words, so it's worth a try. A better outlet for their energy may be to train them to perform some simple tricks. Have a playpen in a room close to you, or allow them to spend some time on your shoulder or arm in close contact with you each day to keep their trust and sweetness. While not necessarily rated as a noisy bird, if you are always in a different room, you are going to inadvertently train this social bird to make loud “contact calls” to get your attention.

Housing:
A single Black-capped Conure needs a cage at least 24”w by 18”d by 24” h, with a bar spacing of around ½ inch. Although the birds may not chew as recklessly as some species, they will chew, so the cage should be made of a bird-safe powder-coated metal. Place a sturdy manzanita perch anywhere that you do not want to have to replace perches frequently, but it is equally important to provide these birds with something safe that they can chew, such as appropriate bird-safe perches and toys. Every pet Black-capped Conure should have a play gym to encourage these active birds to exercise.

Diet:
Like all conures, the Black-capped Conure demands a varied, nutrient-rich diet that includes lots of fruits, vegetables, and protein sources. Many people recommend a good pellet-based diet, with lots of chopped vegetables and fruits on the side. Others are using a part seed, part pellet-based diet but, again, there must be plenty of chopped fresh produce included. Whole nuts and bigger, more satisfying seeds like sunflower seeds can be held back to be fed by hand or as part of a daily trick-training routine. They can also be hidden around the playpen to encourage healthy foraging. Crack those nuts that are too hard for the bird to crack by itself. No conure should ever be fed avocado or chocolate.

Important Note: All conures may be at risk for Conure Bleeding Syndrome, caused by a vitamin K deficiency, so it's important to add vitamin K rich food like turnip tops and other dark leafy greens to their diet.

Written by Elaine Radford

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snuggle, beautiful colors, personality, Clown

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