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Apollo the Sun Conure Parrot

Photo by Jon Perry

Experience level: Moderate to Advanced
Lifespan: approximately 25 to 30 years
Size: approximately 12 in length
Voice Volume: Loud
Price Range: $200 to $800
Parrot Talking Ability: Poor

The Sun Conure Parrot (also called the Sun Parakeet) is arguably the most beautifully colored parrot you will ever see. They are small in size but have huge personalities. The Sun Conure bird is about 12 inches long if you include the tail feathers and only weigh about 110 grams full grown. In spite of the small size, they are very loud, rowdy, and fun!

Conure Parrot Distribution

Conure Parrot Map by Google

Distribution in the wild

Sun Conures are new world birds living in the north east region of South American. In the wild they have been seen living in flocks of 5-40 birds and are very social. Unfortunately, their wild numbers are dwindling because of loss of habitat, hunting for plumage, and the pet trade. There is no reason to ever buy a Sun Conure that is wild caught, captive birds can be easily bred and purchased at a very reasonable price.

Personality

These little Conure Parrots can be very curious, active, and playful. They are wonderful climbers and even love to hang upside down from perches and cage ceilings to get their owners attention. They can be very loving and even cuddly to people they trust but are sometimes extremely aggressive to strangers, especially during puberty which starts at about 2 years of age.  The aggression can continue for years if they are not carefully handled by a wide variety of people to keep them tame towards new folks.

These conures are very clever animals that have been trained to perform a large number of tricks (see videos below) and tend to do well performing for large audiences.

Voice Volume

These little guys really know how to make some noise. In the rain forest where they evolved, it is easy to get separated from the group. To find their way back to the flock, they squawk and scream in a high pitch voice that can easily carry for hundreds of yards through the thickest of forests. This means that if you live in an apartment, they will drive your neighbors crazy!

These birds have such a loud and shrill voice that they are often returned to the pet store place in bird sanctuaries by their owners who simply can’t stand the noise. Be warned, if you want a nice quite parrot, THIS IS NOT THE BIRD FOR YOU!

sun conure

photo: Michael Gwyther-Jones

Sun Conure Talking Ability

Sun Conure Parrots will sometimes try to mimic speech but they normally don’t do a very good job. Many pet owners report that their birds will imitate simple things like human laughter and some short words, but nothing clean and clear every seems to come out of their mouths.

Sun Conures and flight

Many people clip their birds wings for safety but this is not needed if precautions is taken. Sun Conures are small enough to easily fly through a house with out bumping into walls once they are confident fliers. When panicked they will fly into windows if they are not covered so it’s important to keep that in mind when your bird is out of his cage. Do not let a flighted bird explore the house unsupervised. Their are all sorts of dangers ranging from ceilings fans, open toilette bowls, and electrical chords for him to chew on.

Out Door Free Flight

Sun Conure Flying

Sun Conure Flying out doors

Sun conures are flock birds who hate to be separated from their friends. This makes them good candidates for out door free flight birds because they usually stay with their owners. Unfortunately, their small size and bright colors make them perfect targets for birds of prey. Free Flight should only be attempted after the bird has been properly trained and only by parrot owners who understand the risks. Read more about Free Flight out doors.

Read More about Sun Conures

Cool Sun Conure Videos

Leo the Sun Conure goes night night

This is a Sun Conure Screaming!

Leo the Sun Conure Parrot meets a Waterfall

Kiwi the Sun Conure takes a bath

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I have been flying my parrot Apollo out doors for over 2 years now. It works because Apollo is strongly bonded to me and the small group of friends who fly him with me. If it weren’t for this, he would probably fly away and never come back.

I feel that Free Flying your parrot outdoors is the ultimate experience  a bird keeper can have. It’s amazing to watch my little parrot use his incredible natural talents. That said, before you fly your parrot, you need to know the dangers.

Flying your bird outside is risky for the following reasons:

  1. Bird could easily fly away if he doesn’t like you or he could accidentally get lost while exploring.
  2. Bird could get attacked by a hawk (since captive birds are usually weak fliers, they are prime targets for hawks who seem to pick up on animals with strange flying patterns)
  3. Bird could get attacked by other birds (seagulls, crows and so on)
  4. Bird could get hit by a car
  5. Attacked by a dog or cat
  6. Get sick from eating or drinking something poisonous or contaminated by another wild bird
  7. The bird could attack a pedestrian and get you sued

Those are just seven potential problems but there are many more. In the wild, your parrot would have belonged to a flock of other birds who would warn him of danger and also  teach him how to deal with certain obstacles and predators. In captivity, they have been severed from this group and all they have is you and their basic instincts to keep them safe. To make matters worse, their instincts are only meant to tell them how to survive in their native habitat. They don’t do so well in American cities where most people usually try to fly them.

Flying indoors instead

You may consider indoor flight as a respectable alternative to free flight. This takes out the risk but still allows your bird to get his exercise and be happy. It’s not quite as fun of course and it can be difficult to find a good location but it is much better for most bird owners due to the high risk of outdoor flight. You do still have risks though, windows are dangerous because birds usually can’t see glass. Ceiling fans, hot stoves, open toilettes and other things can also be a danger.

Places to fly indoors (if you can get permission)

  • In your own home if you have a room that’s big enough (vaulted ceilings are a plus)
  • YMCA basketball gym
  • Church gym
  • Home made aviary in your own backyard
  • Abandoned warehouse

How to learn more about Free Flight

Before you take your bird outside, make sure he (or she) is properly trained. I’m not an expert. I’ve only trained one bird. To learn about training your bird for outdoor flight, visit the website of flight expert, Chris Biro by going here: www.wingsatliberty.com

Chris has trained dozens of birds for free flight and has worked with several different species. His website is full of articles, videos, and interviews that will really help you understand the basics and then some. In my opinion he gets over technical at times but it’s important to be precise when dealing with the safety of your bird.

Join the free flight yahoo group for discussion on free flight. You can ask questions and share your thoughts in the group.  The people of the group are serious about parrots and won’t hesitate to pick argue with you if they don’t like what you say.  You really should join the group if you’re going to fly outdoors but make sure you wear a thick skin when posting: Free Flight Yahoo Group

Good luck.

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