The Nanday Conure is one of the larger conures commonly kept in captivity. It is a very curious and social bird that bonds easily to its owner and can be a good companion for other similar sized parrots. Apartment dwellers need to take caution as this bird can be prone to screaming and its voice is loud and shrill.
Overview of the Nanday Conure
Nanday Conures are companion parrots native to northern South America and according to parrots.org, there are feral nanday conures in Argentina and in parts of the United States. They form large flocks of up to several hundred birds in the wild and feed on fruits and cultivated crops.
The Nanday’s scientific name is Aratinga nenday and there are no sub-species. Other common names for this parrot are the Black-headed and Black-masked Conure.
These conures measure about 11.7 inches (30 cm) and weigh about 5 ounces (140 grams). Their bodies are primarily green with a blue breast with a black head and face. The only way to distinguish males from females is with DNA testing.
Appearance and Vocalization of the Nanday Conure
Nanday Conures have sleek bodies and long tail feathers. Their common names are derived from the bird’s black, rounded head. Nandays can be very loud parrots and are not recommended for apartment dwellers.
They have raspy voices and can be taught to talk if trained from an early age. According to parrotfeather.com, hand-fed birds are more apt to talk, and if your bird doesn’t learn the word you are trying to teach it, move on to a different word. Below is a video that demonstrates their talking and screaming abilities:
What Are A Nanday Conure’s Personality Traits?
Nandays are very entertaining as pets as they exhibit a fun, clown-like personality. One distinctive behavior that can be alarming when first observed is their propensity to fall asleep on their backs with their legs sticking straight out. Don’t worry, your bird is fine!
These energetic conures bond with their owners and love to spend time sitting on your shoulder and investigating your shirt pockets. They love to cuddle and to be scratched on the head. Nandays are very curious and will readily go to new people if properly socialized when young. They do need daily interaction with their human companion and require plenty of time spent outside of their cage for their physical and mental well-being.
Though generally affectionate to its owner, the Nanday does possess a strong beak and will use it on occasion. For this reason, it is not a great bird for those with small children. They can be kept on their own when given enough attention by the humans in the home. Other Nandays or Quaker Parrots make good avian companions for your conure if you are considering multiple birds.
You can teach a Nanday Conure tricks and they are often used as performers in bird shows due to their moderate size and bright colors. They are adept at retrieving dollar bills from patrons’ pockets, among other tricks. These intelligent parrots are best trained by hand-feeding and offering treats as positive reinforcement. Some birds can develop vocabularies of up to 20 words or short phrases. Below is a video of a Nanday showing off some tricks it has learned.
How Should I Care For My Nanday Conure?
You should keep the temperature between 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit (20 to 25 C) to keep your Nanday comfortable. At a minimum, a cage for a single Nanday should be 24x24x30 inches with 3/4 inch bar spacing. Larger is better as these birds love to climb around inside their cages. Perches should be of various diameters to exercise their feet and avoid issues such as arthritis.
Mental stimulation is key for these birds, and according to birdtricks.com, lack of mental stimulation can lead to behavioral problems including excessive screaming. This behavior can also occur due to lack of sleep, so you should ensure that your conure gets at least 10 hours of uninterrupted sleep nightly. They love to bathe and should be offered the chance regularly.
Provide plenty of diverse toys to keep them mentally stimulated. Chew toys are a favorite as are toys with bells. Daily interaction with your conure is key to their happiness, as is plenty of time spent out of the cage. Proper care of your bird will minimize its screaming and make for a more pleasant experience for both the humans and birds in the household.
Your bird should be fed a high-quality pellet diet supplemented with plenty of fruits, seeds, nuts, and vegetables. Avocado and chocolate are toxic and should be avoided. They may need to have their nails clipped every few months, but with proper placement of some rough perches, you may be able to reduce the frequency of clippings. Your conure will undergo a yearly molt where it will replace its feathers systemically.
Breeding is legal and Nandays are sexually mature at 3 years of age. A nest-box should be used and hens will lay from 2 to 6 small white eggs which will hatch in about 25 days. The male will spend time guarding the nest box during incubation.
How Healthy Are Nanday Conures?
In captivity, Nandays can live for up to 30 years when cared for correctly. Some common ailments are Conure Bleeding Syndrome, Pacheco’s disease, and respiratory problems. Chronic depression can be caused by the same issues that lead to excessive screaming, so be sure to keep your bird well rested and stimulated.
How Much Does A Nanday Conure Cost?
Expect to pay between $500 and $700 for a hand-raised Nanday Conure. Additional costs include a spacious cage and plenty of toys. They will chew up their toys so some will need to be replaced regularly. Nail and feather clipping if required and maintaining a well-balanced diet round out your recurring costs to care for your Nanday.
Is A Nanday Conure A Good Bird For Me?
If you can tolerate the occasional bouts of screaming that even well-adjusted birds exhibit, and give it the attention it needs to thrive, then a Nanday conure is an excellent choice for a companion parrot. They are fun, sociable and affectionate birds that will become an important part of your family.