Archive for January, 2013

Living with a Jenday Conure

January 13, 2013 6 comments

Hey, that Jenday Conure on the cover of the December 2012 “Parrots” magazine looks very familiar!


That’s Peggy, my Jenday Conure. She’s the subject of a feature article I wrote about Jenday Conures. I also outlined how she has adapted to living with only one foot.

She lost one foot in a mishap with a plush bird tent. She had chewed it up and gotten her leg caught in the loose threads and unfortunately, it couldn’t be saved. She’s not the first bird I’ve heard of who has lost an appendage that way, so be cautious with giving birds plush items or ropes.

She has adapted well to her handicap. She can perch just fine, although I do have to provide her with wide, textured perches so she doesn’t slip and fall. Her food also has to be chopped up into bite-sized pieces since she cannot hold food with her feet. Otherwise, she doesn’t need much in the way of special accomodations.

Jendays have a reputations for being extremely loud and screechy. Indeed, I usually warn prospective Jenday owners that these birds are shrill, loud, and are rarely good talkers. Peggy cannot talk at all. I must admit, however, that her other vocalizations don’t bother me much. She’s really not excessively noisy and doesn’t scream much. She will screech if startled or to answer another bird’s call, but she’s not nearly as loud as my cockatoo or macaw. Even so, a lot of Jendays (and the related Sun Conures) do lose their homes due to their voices. They are more likely to be noisy if neglected or if kept in a very noisy household.

Jendays are often mistaken for Sun Conures, but Sun Conures have yellow on the wings (that Jendays lack). Jendays are also similar in appearance to Gold-capped Conures, but the latter are largely green, with a bit of red on the belly and head.


The above illustration (by Frank Knight, from “Parrots of the World” by Joseph Forshaw) shows the difference between Sun and Jenday Conures. Note that the Sun Conure has yellow on the top of the wings, while the Jenday does not. Both species are brighter-coloured as adults than they are as juveniles.

Jendays occur in southeast Brazil (see range map below) and they are not considered endangered, although ultimately very little is known about population trends.


Range of the Jenday Conure. From

Sun Conures occur further north and west (see range map below), and they are considered endangered. Trapping for the pet trade and habitat destruction contintue to pose a threat to its continued existence in the wild.

Range of the Sun Conure. From

Range of the Sun Conure. From

There is one population of Sun Conure that some ornithologists have proposed is a separate species. It occurs in the southern part of the Sun Conure’s range and has some green shading on the upper part of the wings and less orange on the chest. It has been named Aratinga pintoi.


Aratinga pintoi. Painting by Eduardo Parentoni Brettas.

Sun Conures and Jenday Conures are likely the most popular of the Aratinga conures. While they can rarely talk, they can make interesting, interactive pets, due to their bold and curious personalities. They are also among the most beautifully-coloured of birds. They usually do well on a diet of parrot pellets, supplemented with fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grains, seeds and nuts. They can be quite demanding of attention, and require a good variety of chew toys.  Many conures are also acrobatic and enjoy swings and ropes (although I keep all my birds’ rope toys outside their cages so I can be sure they don’t unravel them).

Conures have a reputation for being nippy, although Peggy is actually quite gentle. She will grab onto people’s fingers with her beak before she will step up on someone’s hand, but that’s only so she can steady herself. Conures who are nippy often benefit from training with positive reinforcement (such as clicker training). Regular, gentle handling starting from the time of fledging can also help with preventing a bird from becoming nippy.

I’ll end with this photo I took of Peggy a few months ago. She’s incredibly photogenic!



Forshaw JM, Knight F (illustrator). 2010. Parrots of the World (Princeton Field Guides). Princeton University Press: Princeton, NJ, USA

Silveira LF, de Lima FCD, Høfling E. 2005. A new species of Aratinga parakeet (Psittaciformes: Psittacidae) from Brazil, with taxonomic remarks on the Aratinga solstitialis complex. The Auk 122: 292-305.

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