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Sun conures, which are of the genus Aratinga, are perhaps the most popular of the conures because of their cheeky and friendly disposition. These parrots, which can grow up to 12 inches, are very social and are known for their ability to bond with humans. Like many other parrots, they are able to mimic and imitate humans; their stunning colors of bright yellow, orange and green add to their charm. Sun conures, however, can be quite noisy and obedience training is recommended, suggests bird veterinarian Dr. Rob Marshall on his Bird Health website.
Sun conures must be at least two years old before they can breed. According to the book “Conures: Everything About Purchase, Care, Nutrition and Behavior” by Matthew M. Vriends, Aratingas have no specific courtship behavior. Instead they form a strong bond and mutual feeding appears to be the only nuptial behavior as it is proof that they are interested in each other. During the feeding, the hen may let out an occasional call and may fluff out her feathers.
There is no obvious physical difference between a male and female conure so it is difficult to determine the gender. A vet must perform a surgical probe or conduct a DNA test to determine the sex. Avian veterinary clinics can conduct the DNA testing, which usually requires blood samples or sending a few feathers to a laboratory to be diagnosed.
Aratingas breed best when they get along with each other. A good pair preen each other’s feathers, sleep side by side on the perch and follow each other around. The environment can also impact the success of a pair. Barking dogs, yelling children or loud music, for example, could negatively impact their breeding, states Matthew M. Vriends in his book “Conures: Everything About Purchase, Care, Nutrition and Behavior.”
Sun conures are rather easy to breed once they are old enough and have adapted to their environment. Once they breed, they will continue to do so year after year. MySunConure.com recommends a metal nesting box over a wooden nest so the bird won’t chew on it. Place the nest high inside the cage and fill it with a soft material like pine shavings. After mating, the female will spend most of her time in the nest.
The female will lay an egg roughly every other day until she has laid between three and eight eggs. The incubation period is between 24 and 28 days. Once the baby birds hatch, they will stay in the nest for about a month and a half. While most broods are reared in the spring, these birds can actually breed any time of the year as long as a good nest box is available.
- Sun conure image by Tharasai Sangpakdee from Fotolia.com