Blue-crowned Conure

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Is the Blue-crowned Conure right for you?

Species group:

Other common names: Blue-crowned parakeet; Sharp-tailed Conure

Scientific name: Psittacara acuticaudatus

The basics:
Only a Blue-crowned Conure could have been the star of the big budget movie, Paulie, the story of an intelligent, determined conure who traveled the continent for 20 years in search of his lost owner. Although they lack flashy feathers, these calm and alert conures attract admirers because they enjoy people and they're relatively easy to train. They can be loud and out-going, but they're not as loud as the Sun Conures or as difficult as some Amazons. A nice parrot for someone who wants the spunk and personality of a large parrot, in an attractive mid-sized package.

There are four subspecies, with widely scattered populations ranging across South America. They avoid closed forests, but they can be found in partly open, moderately disturbed habitat, and small populations have been introduced into California and Florida. They are rather common in their natural range and can be fairly easily seen in small flocks. They may roost in fairly large colonies at night, with as many as 50 birds or more at the roost.

A large mostly-green conure with a blue head.

165 grams (5.8 0z.)

Average size:
37 centimeters (14.5 in.)

20 - 30 years

Behavior / temperament:
The Blue-crowned Conure is an affectionate, calm, friendly, and playful bird. They have been known to easily learn to mimic a variety of favorite sounds. This social bird enjoys attention and can make for a good companion. The bird is also a playful one – it likes to play with its toys and indulge in various playful activities such as playing with water and swinging from the cage bars. They can get a little loud, calling at sunrise and sunset, but a single pet kept in a quiet home shouldn't be too outrageous.

An interesting report from Blue-crowned Conure expert Robbie Harris, on the making of the movie Paulie, reveals that most of the Blue-crowns used in the film were purchased as untrained adults. Nonetheless, they were trained to perform the various tricks in the movie by providing sunflower or safflower seeds as a reward. Although you should consider hand-fed birds your first choice for a pet, it's worth understanding that these intelligent birds can actually continue to change and learn into adulthood. Keep them challenged with plenty of puzzle and foraging toys.

A single pet Blue-crowned Conure should have a powder-coated metal cage of at least 24”w x 24”d x 24”h with no more than ¾” bar spacing. 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 Blue-crowned 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 Blue-crowned 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 Blue-crowned 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 Blue-Crowned 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


entertaining, amazing learning capability, Beautiful colors, sweet, great family pet, funniest things


cage aggression, feather destructive behaviours, loud, habitat cleaning


adequate playstand, love thier toys, mental stimulation, poor talkers, outofcage time

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