Home > Pet Parrots > Living with a Jenday Conure

Living with a Jenday Conure

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 http://www.iucnredlist.org

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 http://maps.iucnredlist.org/

Range of the Sun Conure. From http://maps.iucnredlist.org/

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.

  1. November 16, 2014 at 6:36 am

    Aw too bad about her foot. 😦 My CAG has a bum toe as of a couple of years ago, and it’s all my fault after a nail trimming accident. Needless to say I no longer trim his nails. And that happened after having him some 15 years and my trimming him every so often (though not every time). He’s also adapted.

    Several years ago I almost adopted a Jenday Conure from Craig’s List but I think the people worried I wasn’t legit, wondering why I had other birds and wanted theirs. I think they weren’t sold on getting rid of theirs either. At the time I was more active in volunteering at rescues. Finding a bird on Craig’s List I thought well I could give it a good home. But I digress… How do your small birds, like Peggy, get along with your bigger birds? Or don’t they interact? That was always something I wondered about had I brought that Jenday home.

    Interesting that they don’t talk as I know it’s not because they’re smaller birds. Do you have any speculations, from your knowledge and experience, as to why they don’t speak? And you say that most don’t?

    They are beautiful birds for sure, as are Sun Conures…heck i think all Parrots are. 😉

    • November 16, 2014 at 5:37 pm

      Hi – thanks for you comments. I actually don’t let the smaller birds interact with the bigger birds. They have separate play stands. There’s just too much of a beak size difference between the conures and the macaw/cockatoo/Amazon and I don’t want to risk any accidents.

      It is interesting that the Jenday and Sun Conures rarely talk. Quakers are a similar size and can speak well, so I agree it’s not a size issue. It could be that their voices are so high-pitched that they have trouble clearly pronouncing words.

      • November 16, 2014 at 6:47 pm

        For sure, I’m glad to have found you & your blog. Always nice to connect with fellow bird enthusiasts.

        I completely understand not letting them interact with each other. The owner of a rescue I used to volunteer for has a pet U2 & AG in addition to others. Years ago the Too got into with the Grey and tore its lower beak off. The Grey survived and is rather amusing to watch as he tries to bite you but also sad as you can imagine. I’ve never forgotten that especially given I have the same species! I can’t imagine what could go wrong with much smaller species. My guys get along well enough but when the Cockatoo gets a hold of some paper or cardboard he decides it’s time to bully the Grey with the paper. But he’s not completely without fear for the Grey either who has come to allow him to preen him at times even soliciting him for it. However the Grey will NOT preen back, I’ve tried.

        I’ve heard that some Budgies can speak as well, so it’s definitely not like small birds can’t talk. It makes sense though that perhaps it is due to their small size and that it’s a physiological thing rather than lack of want or will.

      • November 21, 2014 at 4:17 am

        Oh no, that’s too bad about the African grey. I do know of a few inter-species relationships that work (such as between a Goffin’s cockatoo and a hawkhead) but it can be hard to predict if two birds will get along.

        I had a male budgie for many years who lived in an aviary with a bourke’s parakeet (his buddy) and two lineolated parakeets. He could imitate the bourke’s and linnie’s vocalizations perfectly. It was quite amazing.

      • December 2, 2014 at 1:45 am

        Wow, how cool to hear that I bet. I’m grateful though that they get along as well as they do. They’re sort of like bratty teenage siblings to each other more than anything. Seeing that Grey sure made me nervous but now preening between my guys has become a daily activity (even if it is one-sided), to the point that the Grey solicits the Too regularly. And right now he’s molting so it’s nice he’s got a buddy. It really makes me wonder how much he’s missed all these years, the Grey isn’t fond of me helping while the Too loves for me to.


  1. January 13, 2013 at 6:51 pm

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