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Male-Female Conure Behavior Differences

Find out the differences between male and female Aratinga and Pyrrhura conures.

By Sally Blanchard

There is a vast range of parrot-family birds that are called conures, so it is almost impossible to generalize in regard to the differences between male and female birds. Within the Pyrrhura conures, such as the green-cheeked conuresblack-capped conures and painted conures, I would say that they are pretty much all a delightful combination of "sugar and spice."

Pyrrhura conures are generally a curious bunch of little conures. Perhaps the males are a bit more into exploring their whole world, but I have known female conures that also go on dramatic searches into the great unknown. Both male and females Pyrrhura conures are busy-bodies that like to use their beak and tongue to touch everything and learn everything about what there are touching. This makes these little birds a bit "beaky," but their need to check everything out with their beak is not aggressive. If the little pinches to your fingers are annoying, find a toy to stick in their beak instead of your fingers. A knotted leather strip usually works well for this purpose because it has texture that they usually like to check out.

The best known group of conures is the Aratinga conures. There are just over 20 species of Aratinga conures, with a few of the best known being the blue-crowned conure, cherry-headed conure, sun conurejenday conure and gold-capped conures. I have the most experience in working with blue-crowned conures and find the males and the female to be equally delightful. Sun conures are one of the most beautiful of all parrots with their bright yellow, orange and green colorations. I have met many sun conures and will make a generalization about those that I have worked with, but I know that there are definitely exceptions. The female sun conures I have known are generally sweet, very cuddly and quiet – yes, I said quiet!

All of the female Aratinga conures I have known well are happy to hang on their favorite person’s shirt, usually inside with their heads popping out at the collar. Male Aratinga conures are more likely to be a bit territorial around their pet cages and their favorite people. I think the male sun conures generally give the sun conure such a reputation for being loud screamers but that seems to be tied to their intense need to protect their territory. Although sun conures are not know for talking, I would guess that the males are probably better talkers because they are usually more vocal, but I doubt if this is always true.

There are other birds with great differences that are classed as conures, such as the Patagonian conures, slender-billed conures, Austral conures, and the amazing golden conure, that is endangered in the wild. Last year I had the opportunity to visit Nancy Speed at the P Patch in Mississippi. She has golden conures, Queens, as she calls them (because they are also known as Queen of Bavaria conures). She has a colony of about 100 golden conures in one building. Ear protection is needed to be able to stay in the building. The noise the each golden conure makes blends together to make an other-worldly sound that could be used as a soundtrack for a alien-invasion movie. Just about all conures have a reputation for noise making but I had never heard anything like this.

People often state that Patagonian conures are a misplaced cockatoo species because they are so cuddly. I have generally found this to be true with both males and female Patagonian conures. One of my favorite birds of all time is my slender-billed conure, Twiggy. More than any other bird I have met or lived with, she is a happy conure. Her sounds are happy, her play is happy, and she greets her food bowl with happy sounds. In talking to others who are lucky enough to live with these unusual birds, the males seem to be the same way.

As a generalization, I would state that in some conures, the males are more territorial and, therefore, a little bit more likely to be on guard for changes and intruders. This can make some males of some conure species more aggressive under certain situations. I would also make a generalization that the males tend to be more vocal, which can be positive in talking or negative in screaming. A knowledgeable caregiver can work with the screaming and channel it into talking or another more positive vocal trait. Again, as a generalization that can have many exceptions, female conures tend to be more affectionate and cuddly. My guess is that males can be just as affectionate if people work to develop that characteristic. All in all, if asked by someone if they should get a male or a female conure, I would quickly state that either can be a very rewarding companion.


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Reader Comments
The only time a bird does not make a good pet is when you don't so the research on them. I have a male sun conure and did lots if research and talked to my vet and have never had a "sound problem" I give him enough attention and things to do that he feels no need to tell unless I leave and then if I yell back he stays quite.
Ss, Indianapolis, IN
Posted: 1/11/2014 2:02:25 PM
the comment on the fact that birds do not make good pets is absolutely an awful thing to say! They do NOT make great pets to the wrong candidates is more like it. If you provide for them a loving home then they make absolutely wonderful pets!! each personality is different so I guess to each their own unless you keep acquiring nasty birds lol
my conure is a joy and sweetheart to have. IF you consider them "PETS" I assure you they will not be pleasant to live with! I treat mine as I treat my children! She bathes with them and sleeps with me and she is around us 24-7 and I only lock her up if I absolutely have to go somewhere and also when I attend night classes. I treat her just like an individual and not like a pet. She eats all meals with us as well so I guess this is just something or preference if one can actually accommodate a parrot into their lives. They are indeed NOT pets! They are companions! I actually think I give more attention to my bird than my partner hahahaha trust me he does not mind =P
Just take into account that if you are prepared to take on this role then do as much research as u can and visit rescues and folks who own birds and also breeders at that. If you are an active/busy person then I wouldn't suggest a bird UNLESS you bought a aviater harness or flight suit to take them on adventures with you. If you are a homebody like to stay at home, even stay at home mothers, or gardening as a job or hobby then a bird might be better suited for you. Alot of elderly have birds but just sad when they pass and the bird remains...these end up in foster care or rescues. There is no right or wrong answer and to each their own. I know that if you have 1 single bird, they MAY or may NOT be happy so if you have more than 1 it is even better. Guess that's why my bird is happy is because she is only locked up mon-thurs for only 3-4 hrs at a time and the rest of the time she is free. Gluck to others who may agree or not ;O)
kimmy, stockton, CA
Posted: 1/8/2014 3:43:54 PM
SS from Philadelphia. Your comment is complete nonsense. Parrots make noise. Period. This does not make them "Not good pets." They are amazing pets, even better than dogs and cats with their ability to connect with an owner. IF a person does their homework on bird species they'll find that conures are one of the more noisier species, and if they don't want a species known for noise will find a different one who albeit will still be noisy, but perhaps not as noisy.
S., Also from Chi-Town, IL
Posted: 11/18/2012 10:00:45 PM
This article is worthless. Totally off base regarding sun conures. Regardless of sex, all sun conures are loud. Quiet is not a word to describe any parrot. I really can't stress how HIGH the volume of noise is. It will drive you crazy and I have never met a sun conure owner that has not encountered screaming problems. Parrots DO NOT MAKE GOOD PETS. I just wish I has understood this more years ago when I bought my sun conure. Back then, I shrugged off the noise issue and was totally enthralled with their beauty. Parrots are not domesticated and there are few people that can provide the necessary level of care for a happy bird. This is simply the reality. I have worked with parrots in the wild through my work and also own a sun conure. I am 100% convinced that these animals are not good pets.
SS, Philadelphia, PA
Posted: 11/1/2012 4:54:23 PM
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