Species group: Conures
Other common names: Painted Parakeet
Scientific name: Pyrrhura picta
Widely regarded as one of the most beautiful of the Pyrrhura conures, the smallish Painted Conure looks like it got in the way of an explosion in a paint factory. If these little birds were more widely available, they might be considered a top pet species, since they are not as big, noisy, or beaky as some of the other better-known conures. However, as it stands, they often represent a bigger investment in time and money than a beginner might be ready for.
In the wild, the Painted Conure is a successful bird of the lowlands and foothills of northern South America, where they are often seen in smallish flocks of ten to fifteen birds.
At first glance, the Painted Conure is just another slender green parakeet with the typcial Pyrrhura maroon belly and undertail. It has several close relatives that look very similar, some of them former subspecies of P. picta, so you will want to look closely to make sure you have correctly identified your bird. Look for a combination that includes a scalloped breast, a chestnut face, a blue forecrown, and a red bend in the wings that looks like a shoulder-patch when the wings are closed.
54 - 70 grams (2 - 2.5 oz.)
22 centimeters (8.5 in.)
20 - 30 years
Behavior / temperament:
A hand-fed domestic-bred Painted Conure can be a charming pet, but these birds may be a little more nervous than the more familiar Green-cheeked Conure. Some pairs may be more difficult to breed than the better-known Pyrrhuras. Treat them with love and respect, and don't neglect these social birds. They are more than just a beautiful flower. They are social animals who thrive on attention.
A single Painted Conure needs a cage at least 24”w by 18”d by 24” h, with a bar spacing of around ½ inch. Although these 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 Painted Conure should have a play gym to allow these active birds to exercise.
Like all conures, the Painted 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: Since conures 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