The Green Cheeked Conure
THE Green-Cheeked conure (Pyrrhura molinae) is one of the smallest conures, and is often confused with the Maroon-bellied conure (Pyrrhura frontalis), a close relative. These birds are so similar in appearance; they are often identified incorrectly by pet stores or their owners. They are the same size, about 10 inches long, and both are primarily green. The Green-Cheeked is a bit brighter in color than the Maroon-bellied, and has gray barring on its chest, fading into a slightly reddish belly. Both have a dark grey beak and feet. They are most easily confused when they are young, before their full color comes in after the first molt.
The Green-Cheeked conure is a favorite among bird novices because of its relatively low price, small stature, temperament and relatively low noise level, at least compared to its larger cousins. Owners love the Green-Cheeked for its relative quietness compared to other conures. It is not as loud or as frequent in their calling, but it is a bird, and will make some noise. Green-Cheeked conures have been known to talk, but they are generally not prized for they're talking abilities.
The Green-Cheeked as a Companion
Because Green-Cheeked are highly affectionate and love their owners intensely, they need an owner who is able to give them a great deal of time out of the cage. If you express concern that you may not be able to provide sufficient attention to the bird, perhaps buy a pair.
Make sure that the pair get along before they leave, and we encourage you the customer to buy a larger cage than you may have previously intended. The Green-Cheeked will generally live peaceful with conures of similar size, though will not readily tolerate smaller birds, and might be in danger from the aggression of a larger bird. If you purchase or already own a "cousin" bird, like a Maroon-bellied conure, although companionship is great, they should not be allowed to breed the two species together as this leads to hybridization, which is abhorred in the bird community. The resulting babies will not be able to be sold or bred.
The Green-Cheeked is a little clown, always full of antics. These birds love to hang upside-down and clamor along the cage bars, waiting for their owners to play with them. Green-Cheeked are mischief-makers, so keep an eye on your bird at all times. This is a good second or third bird for children, as it is small enough for little hands to handle and is generally good-natured. However, realize that, if a bird has a beak, it can bite, and little fingers are tender. Always use caution around birds and children-especially for the bird's sake-it can be injured easily by a frightened child.
The Green-Cheeked conure will need a good deal of specific care to keep it happy and healthy-birds like these are easy to sustain but take some effort to keep properly. You will want a basic birdcare book, and perhaps add on a general conure book, as well. You will probably not be able to find a book specifically on the Green-Cheeked, although the internet is a great source of information.
Obviously, Green-Cheeked needs fresh water daily and a continuous nutritious diet. The breeder where you purchase your Green-Cheeked may have already weaned the youngster onto a specific diet. The customer needs to continue feeding their Green-Cheeked the food to which the bird has become accustomed. Greencheeks are not picky eaters if they learn to eat a variety of foods when they are youngsters, so you should feed your bird a wide variety of foods, fruits and vegetables including : apples, oranges, melon, berries, grapes, kiwifruit, pears, cherries, plums, peaches, spinach, corn, celery, capsicum, broccoli, cabbage, carrot, endive, beans and in moderation raw potato and wholegrain bread is a favourite.
Make sure you do not scrimp on the size of the cage. You should look at various, appropriately sized cages and steer toward the largest cage that you can afford.
Green-Cheeked conures enjoy space to ramble around, and they love hanging toys. A confined Green-Cheeked may become neurotic and may begin to self-mutilate or show other behavioral problems.
The Green-Cheeked can live up to 25 years or more, that represents many years of food and equipment purchases so choose your purchases wisely, looking for quality to last. Quality may be more expensive at first but if you only need to buy it once and not replace items then it makes good sense.
When choosing a cage, make sure that the width between bars is not wide enough for the Greencheeked to stick its head through, a common behavior which can lead to serious injury. The head of this little conure is far smaller than the heads of the larger conures, so a "conure" cage may not be appropriate. Cages with cockatiel bar spacing should do the trick. One with a large door as well as a small door is good as well, especially when your training your pet to sit on your finger.
Once you have decided on a cage, you should purchase the bird equipment and accessories you will need to get started. A cage will usually come with two bowls, but you will want to encourage the purchase of at least four additional bowls, as well as for food and water, for shell grit and the others for fresh foods. Some bowls come with a covered top and are perfect for avoiding mess, Green-Cheeked conures, like most birds, love to fling their food.
The Green-Cheeked, like all conures, are demolition machines and need lots of soft wood toys to keep them in good condition. Add on a few wooden toys and a couple of indestructible acrylic toys, and the Green-Cheeked is ready to play. Since you will not be with the bird 24 hours a day, it will need to be able to entertain itself. Puzzle toys that hide nuts or dried fruit can be especially entertaining for a Greencheeked, who is always ready for a challenge. Be sure you stock up on toys so they can be rotated in and out of the cage on a weekly basis. Be aware that they are masters of escape so all doors need to be clipped or pegged locked.
Finally, I would suggest a playgym. This purchase can be as elaborate as a hanging acrylic gym with tons of toys attached, or as simple as a cage-top stand made of safe wood. Look at gettine one, once you new mate is accustomed to his new surroundings and has begun well in his training.
An all-seed diet is lethal for a Green-Cheeked conure (as it is for all parrot-type birds) and will eventually lead to nutritional- related illnesses and death. Make sure to feed a well rounded, nutritious diet consisting of fruits and vegetables, seed and/or pellets. The more variety the better. Out-of-the-cage playtime is essential for your Greencheek's health and well being. Play with your bird as often as you can every single day. Find an avian veterinarian near you and be aware of the vet's location and telephone number in case of emergency.Buy a bird book or two. Do some research about your new pet. Each of the books will have something to offer. Purchase the largest cage you can afford. There's nothing unhappier than a confined bird. Toys are a must for the active Greencheeked, especially soft wood chewable toys, they will need to be replaced though. Green-Cheeked conures like to destroy things, and are happiest when they are making toothpicks of a wooden toy. The Green-Cheeked loves puzzle toys, seed stick treats and bird kababs that you can thread with fresh foods. These things stimulate this curious bird and will help prevent boredom. Green-Cheeked conures can pick up a few words and are often good whistlers. Pick up a whistling or talking CD or tape, and play it when you're not home. They are very inexpensive and can be played when your not there. Green-Cheeked conures, like all birds, have very sensitive respiratory systems. Non-stick cookware cleaning ovens, scented candles, and aerosol sprays can all be deadly to your bird. Make sure that you supervise your Green-Cheeked when it is out of the cage. These birds are highly curious and have a propensity to chew. A Greencheeked won't discriminate between a chew toy and your antique end tables!
A basic overview only. Dimensions are typical / average and can vary widely, influenced by the owner's preferences and the birds preferences. Parent bird's preferences can also be influenced by the size and type of nest-box / log in which the bird was hatched and reared. If space allows, offering a choice of sizes and types of logs or nest-boxes, and placed in various locations within the aviary, can allow the parent birds to make their own choice. Once a pair has chosen a specific nest-box/log and been successful in it, offer that one to them each breeding season. Try and keep that one for their exclusive use. Once a pair has chosen its log or nest-box, the other ones can generally be removed. If the "spare" boxes are to be removed and moved to another flight, ensure the log / nest-box is cleaned to ensure the receptacle has the minimal contamination of mites, parasites and pathogens.
Log internal diameter approx. 200 - 250 mm. (or approx. 10 inches)
Nest-box internal dimensions approx. 200 - 220 mm square (or approx. 8 - 9 inches square)
Diameter of entrance hole approx. 70 - 80 mm (or approx. 3 inches)
Inspection hole (square or round) 100 mm (or approx 4 inches)
A removable top / lid can be a useful access point for inspections and for cleaning.
Location and height of log / nest box: = in a sheltered part of the aviary and at about 1.5 - 1.8 metres height, but not too close to the roof to cause heat problems in the hotter months.
Nesting log / nest-box material: Decomposed non-toxic saw dust, wood shavings or other suitable material/s.
Who incubates the egg/s: Hen / cock / both share.
Timber nest-boxes generally require a climbing structure attached inside the box below the entrance hole. Both logs and nests need an entrance hole/opening about 100mm (about 4 inches) from the top. Many species of parrots like the entrance hole to be just big enough to squeeze through.
Egg Colour White. Clutch/s per year 2 - 3. Eggs per nest 4 - 6. Incubation approx. 22 - 24 days. Fledge approx 6 - 7 weeks. Independent approx. another 2 - 3 weeks.
Generally prolific breeders. Generally good parents. Young are often taken from the nest at 2 - 3 weeks of age if they are to be hand raised.
General practise is to remove the young birds from the parent birds and as soon as they are fully independent so as to avoid possible aggression from a parent.
The Pyrrhura genus hatchlings are difficult to hand rear as a hatchling and better results are obtained if they are fostered under other Pyrrhura species. Eggs placed in another Pyrrhura species nest should have a better chance of hatching and surviving than those that are placed in an incubator and hand reared.