Species group: Conures
Other common names: Blue-crowned parakeet; Sharp-tailed Conure
Scientific name: Psittacara acuticaudatus
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.)
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
Friendly and loud
Rovin is a great pet bird. From the day I got him he was curious and wanting to engage me – many birds, even hand-fed as he was, are not so quick to warm up to new people. His curiosity applied to most things; he went through life tongue-first, testing all objects around him for more information, and this characteristic focus made him very easy to train. He would poop on command(“Where's the poop, Rovin?”), which was tremendly helpful, and did many funny tricks. Teaching tricks to parrots, even apparently useless ones like waving, is a very good idea, as it entertains and challenges their intelect.
Rovin was also cuddly and playful, and learned a number of words. It seems many owners say these tend to be one-person birds, but Rovin did take to my roomates in college very well. He delighted guests, too, when he wasn't stealing their earings. It did help that my roomates were animal lovers who socialized him.
Having to give him away was entirely my fault. I did not predict moving, to another house and another degree, and having less time to spend with him daily. He responded to this by screaming for attention. He had been somewhat noisy at times(not quite as much, though), but in my old neighbourhood everyone was too used to the students' noise to care about a couple of screeches in the morning. In the new one he did not pas unnoticed. Even if he had, my availability did not look like it was about to increase any time soon, and I wanted him to have all the attention he needed.
I contacted a breeder who practiced free-flight with his agapornis and had very good infrastructures. At first he wanted Rovin for a pet, seeing how friendly he was. Even an owner that was with him practially all day – during work, no less – was not enough, however. I visited, and could tell Rovin was happy, but still he screamed, a habit that is hard to break. So the breeder got a female: 24/7 companionship and a huge cage, and the problem was solved.
When I get to a point where I have a stable life and job, and enough time to give, I might just get another – who knows, maybe one of Rovin's babies. Not if I live in an apartment that is not 100% soundproof, however. It is not easy going through a separation from an amazing friend, and I will not risk it again.
These are not apartment birds, in general – they're just too loud, eveven when just being sociable. If you have little time to give and must have one anyway, get more than one bird. Ideally, though, in that circumstance, choose another bird or pet..
From RSilva Jan 22 2014 6:33PM
The Blue-Crowned Conure - A Perfect Match
My two experiences with Blue-Crowned Conures have both been exceptional. Both of my birds were male, and were extremely sweet, affectionate, and relentlessly playful.
The most tedious of commitments I had to make to these birds were regular preening of feathers and habitat cleaning. However, in comparison to larger species of parrots, this maintenance was very minimal. They are a small breed of parrot, and therefore require relatively inexpensive and small toys and food supplies.
Both of my birds picked up tricks and mimicking very easily, although their mimicking abilities are muffled and more difficult to understand than other species of more articulate parrots. One of my Conures, Spud, would reply to my question of "what does a dog say?" with a "woof!". He also easily picked up on a trick where he would stand upright on my fingers and do a flip back to his perching position. My other bird had a wider vocabulary, and was capable of saying full phrases such as "what ya doing?" and other greetings.
These birds, like all parrots, do make noise, and if you are easily irritated with somewhat frequent coos and squaks, I would not recommend this bird. Although they are significantly less loud than other larger parrots, they do love to vocalize and play with bells and other noise-making toys.
They also sometimes will nip at your fingers, even those that are well trained and loyal to their owners. However by maintaining dominance, not allowing them to climb all over you without obvious consent, and maintaining loving but firm training methods of obedience, these birds are very compliant and easy to handle. (It also doesn't hurt that their beaks are much smaller, and therefore less capable of inflicting overly painful bites, at most it is usually a sharp pinch).
All in all, I would highly recommend this bird for a pet owner who is looking for a simple, playful, and loving companion, and for someone who has less time to dedicate to the training and upkeep of a more complex and high-maintenance exotic bird..
From MelissaJuliette Nov 6 2014 6:05PM
Loyalty to one
This is my boyfriend's bird, Tango. She is only loyal to him and nobody else. When there are other women in the room, she gets jealous. I'm usually very good with birds, but this one doesn't like me at all, or anyone for that matter. I don't usually even try to take her out of the cage and leave it up to him. Most the time I just leave the door open but it makes it difficult for anyone else to care for her unless my boyfriend is around. According to him, she has a beak of steel. She tries to bite the cage anytime I get near it. Feisty little thing.
On the upside, she does all sorts of tricks. He can flip her on his finger and he's trained her to say things like "bye bye" and "I love you." She can get pretty loud sometimes and needs lots of attention..
From zumbally Sep 25 2013 4:53PM