Nanday Conure

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Is the Nanday Conure right for you?

Species group:

Other common names: Black-Headed Parakeet; Black-Headed Conure; Black-masked Conure

Scientific name: Aratinga nenday

The basics:
The Nanday Conure captures the heart with its rambunctious, active nature and its alert personality. This hardy, adaptable pet can bond quickly to the new pet owner or even to another lonely mid-sized parrot. However, it has a loud, carrying voice, and it cannot be recommended as a good apartment pet. The Nanday is very affectionate and will expect to spend a lot of time kissing and nuzzling you.

The natural range of the Nanday Conure is a relatively small area in South America, the Upper Rio Paraguay basin, including a flooded pantanal area and ranging up to 800 meters. Where they occur, they can be common or even abundant, wandering freely mostly in small flocks in search of food. The species is adaptable, and escapees will try to form flocks in North America. Small introduced populations may be found in Florida and California, but whether they will become established in the long term remains to be seen. A small population that produced a few young in New Orleans in the 1980s seems to have vanished.

An attractive green conure with a black-masked head and the bright red “stockings”on its thighs.

140 grams (5 oz.)

Average size:
30 centimeters (12 in.)

20 - 30 years

Behavior / temperament:
The Nanday Conure is well-regarded for its looks and intelligence, because it is an alert bird that loves to learn tricks and to spend time playing with its owner. However, before you choose a Nanday, you do need to be aware of the voice. Some of these birds are loud, and it's in their nature to call to you if you're out of sight. Have a play gym in your home office or TV room or another place where you can spend a lot of time close together. Don't make the Nanday Conure yell to get your attention. As with most vocal birds, it's possible for some individuals to learn how to talk or to mimic sounds. Get them started early, and give them something positive to do with those powerful lungs. They also need lots of wooden toys that can be chewed to destruction. They just can't resist a good chew.

A single Nanday 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.

The energetic Nanday Conure 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 Nanday 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.

Like most South American parrots, the Nanday 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 Nanday 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 Nanday 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


clownish, good potential talker, acrobatic stunts, pretty bird, contrasting colours


loudest, alarm birds, feather destructive behaviours, noisiest bird, ear pierceing screech, LOUDLY


trainable, lifetime commitment, kisses, little red pantaloons, Sensitive Nanday Conures

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