Species group: Conures
Other common names: Mitred Parakeet
Scientific name: Psittacara mitratus
The Mitred Conure is a lively, noisy flocking species. In the wild, you don't have to look for these large conures; they'll find you. Intelligent and social, and rather Christmas-y looking in their green and red plumage, these snazzy Conures are vocal birds that can learn to talk and love to play. Not recommended for apartment living because they can really scream at dawn or dusk or any time that they feel you aren't listening.
The bold and adaptable Mitred Conure can be seen flying in small, noisy groups in the eastern Andes, at elevations from about 1,000 to 3,500 meters. They may be seen in wild, partly forested or even in cloud forest territory, yet they can also be seen feasting on some flowering trees in a courtyard in downtown Cochabamba, Bolivia. They are strong flyers, with a sense of community that causes them to call back and forth to their companions. You can hear them announce themselves, once your ears are attuned to their voice.
There are several closely related, red and green conures, but you can pick out the adult Mitred Conure because of the flecks of random red sprinkled on the green face or breast. It is worth noting that Cherry-headed Conures-- a species often confused with Mitred's-- develops a bright red color on the bend of the wing. When Cherry-heads open their wings, you can also see briight red patch on the "wrist" of the underwing. Mitred Conures lack this red on the wing.
200 - 240 grams (7 - 8.5 oz.)
38 centimeters (15 in.)
20 - 30 years
Behavior / temperament:
As a large, vocal conure, the Mitred Conure seems to have a better chance of developing a large vocabulary than some of the other conures. It's worth trying to channel this bird's energies into learning at least a few words or sounds. They are highly social and would never be alone in the wild, so expect to spend a lot of time with a single pet. They will want to be with you or near you on the play pen, so if you are extremely busy and just can't supervise an active, attention-loving, fairly large bird, the Mitred Conure might not be the right choice for you.
A single Mitred 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 Mitred 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.
The Mitred 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 Mitred 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 Mitred 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
ear shattering, scream, feather destructive behaviour, LOUD
trick training, bird mimicking obscenities, favourite person, favorite people, Aratinga cousin
Parrot like a plucked chicken
When I was growing up, my family’s house became something of an unofficial rescue shelter for friends’ and relatives’ unwanted animals. We had our share of lizards, fish and snakes, but mostly what we ended up with was birds. At one point, living in the house with my mother, father, brother and me (and the other aforementioned creatures) were nine birds, give or take a brood that the cockatiels might have been raising.
The largest and most intelligent bird to live with us was a male Mitred conure named Cruiser. My father’s brother, who had a habit of pawning his unwanted house pets off on us, had recently gotten married and moved into a new house, and his new wife had issued the “it’s him or me” ultimatum.
When Cruiser came to live with us he was about five years old. He was a foot long from head to the tips of his tail feathers and weighed perhaps half a pound. His head was emerald-green stained with red feathers, and his eyes were bright and inquisitive.
He was also bald from the neck down.
From the back, Cruiser was a handsome bird. Mitred conures are basically large parakeets, South American in origin. Cruiser was sleek and compact, with gracefully-shaped, fully-feathered wings and a clever face. His body, though, was naked and the color of a plucked chicken. It was incredibly disturbing.
I hadn’t remembered him being nearly featherless the few times I’d visited my uncle, but apparently this was a fairly recent development – a response to, a veterinarian conjectured, the stress of living with my uncle’s new wife and the change in environment. As soon as my uncle had moved his fiancée in, she began keeping Cruiser’s cage under a blanket in their basement. He would go for days without seeing the sunlight. When it all finally got to be too much for him, Cruiser began to yank his own feathers out, sparing only his wing and tail-feathers.
We did our best to work with him, spending as much time with him as we could and letting him out of his cage to walk around the house or perch on our shoulders. Somehow, though, the bird had been irreparably damaged. Without constant companionship, Cruiser would rip out his feathers and spit them on the floor of his cage. He wouldn’t do it when we were around. In my company he was sweet and gentle and learned a variety of words; he called me “Mom” and would politely request “apples” or “water” if I happened to overlook an empty container. When my parents were at work and my brother and I were at school, though, Cruiser constantly self-harmed and squawked harshly; we could hear him as we walked in the door before he changed his tune (literally) and began sweetly cooing, “Mom?”
My parents took Cruiser to a vet, who first prescribed an unpleasant tasting spray that we applied to Cruiser’s skin. This failed to work, so my parents returned to the vet and purchased a cone-shaped collar which they fastened around Cruiser’s neck. It took the bird all of a day to get the cone off and (I thought, vindictively) destroy it. We found it lying on the bottom of his cage, as he blinked at us and inclined his head, asking for a rub.
The vet gave up.
We had Cruiser many years, and although in most respects he was healthy, happy and friendly, he was never able to break his self-injurious habit. I never saw a single feather grow on his back or chest. Cruiser was a smart, funny and charming companion, good with children and adults alike, but something in his little bird-brain had been broken. There was nothing we could do but comfort him as much as possible. When I was in my mid-teens, my mother met someone who had a female Mitred and was interested in breeding. We thought maybe Cruiser would be happier with a companion of his own species and leave his destructive ways behind, so we, with regret, gave him to the breeder. My mom kept tabs on him for a few years but eventually lost touch with the breeder. Conures live about thirty years, and Cruiser was 12 when we gave him up so we figured he had a long time ahead of him.
Several years ago, my mother ran into the breeder to whom we’d given Cruiser. The breeder said that her conure and Cruiser had, indeed, managed to produce some little parrots, but that Cruiser had died a couple of years before – from a stress-induced heart attack. We were sad but not particularly surprised. It was good to know, too, that Cruiser had spent the last few years of his life rearing little Cruisers. It would be nice to run into one of his children or grandchildren someday – one can dream..
From Ericav Feb 16 2014 3:46PM
High Energy and Sassy.
I have worked with many of these birds and one thing is for sure: They are high energy! They need lots of attention and need to be played with a lot or they can become upset and destructive. They remain child-like for the majority of their lives, so please take note that they need a lot of attention. Aside from attention, they dont recquire anything extraordinary, and if you're willing to put in the time to raise and care for your bird, they will be your best friends. They can play rough, but are pretty easily trained. They get along with other animals well, but their relationship with other birds can be tricky. If you want to get your conure a friends, try another conure first! Its also a great idea to socialize your Conure with other people. I love these birds, they are all personality..
From kittypryde Nov 21 2012 5:20PM