The Green Cheek Conure is a small, affectionate, and fun bird that is great for those looking for their first parrot. They have strong personalities for such small birds and exhibit many of the behaviors of their larger cousins.
An Overview of The Green Cheek Conure
The Green Cheek Conure’s scientific name is Pyrrhura Molinae. It is also known as Green Cheek Parakeet, Argentine Conure, Santa Cruz Conure, and Yellow-sided Conure. It is a small, companion parrot with 6 distinct races which exhibit varietal coloration. One is the Pyrrhura molinae sordida is commonly available as a Cinnamon, Pineapple, or Fancy Green Cheek Conure.
According to parrots.org, these birds’ native range is in South America, and they are found primarily in dense forests in Bolivia and Brazil. In the wild, they form large flocks of 20 or more, forage in treetops, and tend to nest in tree hollows. They average around 10 inches (26 cm) in size and weigh about 2.5 ounces (70 grams).
The standard Green Cheeked Conure’s nails and beak are black, and their feet are pink. The top of their head is black, with grayish ear coverts and green cheeks. Their chest is gray with a dark green body. Varying size maroon spots are on many conures’ abdomens. Their tail is dark maroon and the flight feathers are colored cobalt blue. Brown eyes with a bare white eye-ring round out the coloration of the standard molinae.
Lighter green feathers mixed with yellow and blue are typical of the sordida variation. In addition, selective breeding is introducing new strains. Here are some great pictures from the avian resources website showing the diversity of these beautiful birds.
Males and females look very similar. Though there are some subtle differences in the shape of the head, and a pelvic exam will show wider hips for a female, in practice the best bet is to get your bird DNA tested if it is a concern.
Green Cheek Conures’ Appearance and Vocalizations
Green Cheek Conures are among the quietest of all parrots. They are not particularly adept at learning human words, though they may pick up a few. Their deep, low voices sometimes make it hard to hear these words clearly.
These birds do have a wide range of vocalizations, and over time you can get to know what they mean. Short legs and a rather stout, yet sleek profile describes their appearance, here is a nice video that demonstrates some of their sounds.
Lots Of Personality In A Compact Package
Green Cheeks have a tendency to believe they are in control, even when they are the smallest creature in the room. They can be very affectionate, especially with their human of choice. They enjoy being within sight of their human companion when at all possible, and thrive on human interaction.
At times they can be moody with that same person and strongly reject any attempt to cuddle or pet them. This makes them somewhat unsuitable for small children as these small birds can give you a good nip when they so desire. The birds exhibit a wide range of physical behaviors that reflect their mental state, as seen in this video. Proper recognition of these signals will allow you to better interact with your bird.
Very active when first waking and in the evening before bedtime, they are moderately energetic during the day. Routine is important to your conures, and they will look for daily events such as feeding, out of cage time, and lights on and off to regularly occur at the same time. Breaking their routine will lead to some squawks and calls to remind you of your obligations.
According to the World Parrot Trust website, avian companions should be considered carefully. They need to be properly sized, with other conures one of the best choices. You need to have a separate cage for both birds, as socialization and bonding between parrots must occur naturally. There is a risk that the birds will bond so strongly that they no longer desire to interact with you, or that they will not get along at all.
Green Cheek Conures are intelligent and understand many words and gestures. With patience, you can train them to do some tricks like waving and turning around as seen in this clip below. Teaching simple commands like “step-up” and “no-biting” should be your first goal, and using treats will speed up the process.
Keeping Your Conure Happy And Healthy
Your birds will do well in household temperatures between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Birdtricks.com states that the minimum size for your conure’s cage is 18 x 18 x 24 inches with 1/2 inch bar spacing. A larger cage is better particularly if your bird spends significant time alone or in its cage.
Multiple levels of perches and food cups or foraging locations will help your bird get sufficient exercise. A varying selection of toys will also help keep your bird mentally and physically stimulated. Chewing toys and bells are big hits.
Their diet should consist of a well-balanced pellet food supplemented with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Apples, strawberries, and broccoli are favorites, and some seeds and walnuts can be offered as treats.
Green cheeks love to bathe, and they should be offered a bath at least every other day. A low, glass pie pan or dish makes a great bathtub.
Your birds will molt, with the first molt usually occurring at about 8 months. They will generally molt in the autumn to replace feathers damaged throughout the year. Nail clipping can be avoided by the strategic placement of some rough perches to keep them from getting too sharp.
Green cheeks can be bred in captivity after they are a year old, and on average will lay 4-6 eggs. They are protected from international wild trade by CITES as they are endangered in their native habitat.
How Long Will My Conure Live?
In captivity, these birds can live from 10 to 15 years. At beautyofbirds.com they talk about common conure diseases which include Conure Bleeding Syndrome, which indicates a lack of vitamin K, and Pacheco’s disease. Proper diet and exercise are critical to maintaining your bird’s health.
Green Cheek Conure Price
Prices for Green Cheek Conures are on average around $375, but the range is fairly large, starting from $250 on the lower end and going up to $500 at the high end. Special breeds of Green Cheek Conures can command even higher prices with Pineapple, Yellow Sided and Turquoise mutations ranging from $500 to $800.
However, this is not the only cost you need to consider. The age of the green cheek will affect its price with older birds being cheaper. Very young baby green cheek conures are also cheaper and increase in price until just after they have been weaned, at which point they will be most expensive.
You can also find green cheek conures sold as pairs, which will be more expensive in terms of total cost but will be priced cheaper in terms of cost per bird. Markings and blemishes on the birds body or feathers will decrease the cost of the bird.
You can test your green cheek with DNA testing to determine its sex and test for any diseases. Certificates and proof of genetic testing will increase the price of the bird and if you want to do this yourself then you also need to factor in the cost of these tests.
Bird supply costs should also be considered. For example, you’ll need an initial bird cage setup with perches, toys and stands which will set you back around another $200 to $300. Plus on top of that there is the ongoing food costs and yearly medical checks, which together can also cost you another few hundred dollars.
Are You Ready For A Green Cheek Conure?
These conures make great pets and are an excellent introduction into the world of parrots. If you have the time to interact with them on a regular basis, provide for their needs, and are prepared for what is hopefully a long-term relationship, then getting a Green Cheek Conure will enrich your life.