Finsch's Conure

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Is the Finsch's Conure right for you?

Species group:

Other common names: Crimson-fronted Conure; Finsch's Parakeet

Scientific name: Psittacara finschi

The basics:
The Finsch's Conure is one of those confusing mostly green conures touched with a pop of red. They're actually rather common as pets in the United States, and they have an alert, engaging personality that makes them fun to be around, but many people probably don't know what species of conure they actually hold, so you don't hear the name very often.

This Central American species ranges up to 1,400 meters from Guatemala to Panama. They seem to like partly open areas, so it's possible that they may benefit from some land clearing, as they've been noted on agricultural and coffee plantations in western Panama. They may even form their communal nighttime roosts in tall trees in urban areas. They can be talkative and then suddenly fade into the canopy, almost impossible to pick out if they're not squawking because of their natural camouflage.

Although they can be confused with other green and red conures, here's an easy way to check the ID of an adult: Look under the wing. If you see a small red and yellow patch, then you have either a White-eyed Conure or a Finsch's. Now, look at the forehead. If you see a bright red forehead, you have Finsch's. White-eyes are also quite a bit bigger than Finsch's. An easy way to check the ID of the baby you're buying is to look at the parents.

150 grams (5.3 oz.)

Average size:
32 centimeters (12.6 in.)

20 - 30 years

Behavior / temperament:
The Finsch's Conure is a typical boisterous, social, active conure. They may learn to say a few words, so you may enjoy offering voice lessons, but it's most important to provide them with opportunities to play with you every day. They may enjoy learning tricks, chewing their toys to destruction, or scrambling across your arms and shoulders. This species would never be alone in the wild, and they should not be neglected, or else they may be at risk for feather plucking, screaming, or other problems. Spend time with your pet every day, and have a playpen where the Finsch's Conure can “talk” to you in its indoor voice, instead of letting loose with a loud, jungle-shattering “contact call."

A single pet Finsch's Conure should have a powder-coated metal cage that is at least 24” wide by 24“ deep by 24“ high. Use a manzanita perch in any area where you don't want to have to replace the perch too often. Any other perches or toys should be rated as safe for a strong chewer such as a large conure or an Amazon. These energetic birds should also have a playpen outside the cage, where they can explore, investigate other perches and toys, and indulge in foraging for hidden treats.

If you place a pair in an outdoor aviary, you should include a sturdy roostbox made of a wood which is safe for a strong beak to chew. Check the box often to make sure that your Finsch's Conures are not chewing through the wood. For the safety of the birds, you need a double screen system for any outdoor aviary – 1) hardware cloth to keep rats, raccoons, cats, and other pests from entering the aviary, and 2) mosquito netting to prevent the spread of mosquito-borne disease such as West Nile Encephalitis.

The Finsch's Conure demands a varied, nutrient-rich diet that includes lots of fruits, vegetables, and protein sources. There are several diets that work for this species. A good pellet-based diet, with lots of chopped vegetables and fruits on the side, can be a good daily diet. Soak-and-cook, either from a vet or a commercial supplier, is fine too. Many people like to create their own grain and legume based diet, which generally includes a mix of well-cooked beans and grains, including brown rice. As a practical matter, you will probably want to prepare the cooked diet in large batches, freezing what you're not using in a couple of days, and then defrosting it as you need it.

Small, high carbohydrate seeds like millet can be included in the mix. Larger “treat” oil seeds like sunflower can be given by hand. A variety of nuts can also be given by hand or hidden around the bird's playpen to encourage the Finsch's Conure to forage. Crack any nuts that are too hard for your pet to crack by itself. No conure should be allowed to eat avocado or chocolate.

Important Note: Since the Finsch's Conure may be at risk for Conure Bleeding Syndrome, they do need vitamin K rich sources in the diet, such as turnip greens and other dark, leafy greens.

Written by Elaine Radford

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