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Golden-capped Conure

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Is the Golden-capped Conure right for you?

Species group:

Other common names: Gold Capped Parakeet; Golden-capped Parakeet; Gold Capped Conure; Golden-headed Conure; Flame-capped Conure; Flame-capped Parakeet; Golden-fronted Conure; Gold Cap Conure

Scientific name: Aratinga auricapilla

The basics:
The Golden-capped Conure is very closely related to the Jenday and the Sun Conures, as you can tell from inspecting the juveniles of all three species. The Golden-cap has much the same personality as its relatives, being active, playful, demanding, and loud. Not recommended for apartment living or for anyone who can't tolerate a certain amount of noise, since even the most agreeable Golden-cap is likely to scream at sunrise and when you first get home from work.

There are two subspecies of Golden-capped Conure, both of which seem to be confined all or mostly to Brazil, which has not allowed legal export of their birds since the 1960s. Nonetheless, the species has been rated as Near Threatened because its habitat is vanishing thanks to expanding agriculture in the region. While it once formed large flocks that threatened crops, the species has been persecuted or even wiped out in many areas, and now apparently it is mostly encountered in small flocks of 10 to 20 individuals.

Appearance:
An attractive green conure with a deep yellow-orange cap and face.

Weight:
140 - 150 grams (5 oz.)

Average size:
30 centimeters (12 in.)

Lifespan:
20 - 30 years

Behavior / temperament:
Bring on your best parrot behavior skills to transform your Golden-capped Conure into a charming pet. These active, intelligent birds need to be gently but firmly socialized. Do not reward screaming birds by running at their beck and call. Instead, create a system of play gyms and safe spots so that the bird can be with you or see you and not ever have a need to scream in the first place. Be sensitive to a young or hormonal Gold-cap's nippy moods, so that you can distract the bird from biting and get its beak busy with some harmless chewing. Always have plenty of toys on hand for these birds.

As with their close relatives, the Suns and Jendays, some Golden-capped Conures may learn a few words, so why not offer some speech lessons to channel some of their verbal ability? They will probably never say much, but you never know. And, of course, all Gold-caps should be trained very early so that they automatically step on a handheld perch on command. In that way, you can carry them away from a cage, where they might react by instinct and indulge in territorial biting, to a more neutral territory like the playpen.

Housing:
A single Golden-capped Conure needs a powder-coated metal cage of comfortable dimensions, maybe a minimum of 24”wide x 24”deep x 36”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.

Train your Golden-capped Conure to step up on a perch on command, so that you can easily remove the bird from its cage to the play area. In that way, even if the bird becomes somewhat territorial about its cage, you can still enjoy the bird on neutral territory. A “beaky” bird can be broken of the habit of biting by using a simple distraction technique. Be a close observer of the Gold-cap's body language, and when you sense the bird is likely to nip, distract your pet by offering something to chew.

Diet:
Like all Aratinga conures, the Golden-capped 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 Golden-capped 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 Golden-capped 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

wonderful

gregarious, feathered love, cuddly

challenging

dusk, challenging creatures, loud, little noisy, emotional issues., strangers

interesting

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