Posted: April 3, 2013, 4:15 p.m. PDT
Gina Cioli/I-5 Studios/Courtesy Catherine M. Cross
Green-cheeked conures are often described as clowns, snuggly and nippy.
When it comes to pet birds, sometimes it is hard to come up with a few words to describe the personality of a bird. If you ask people who live with those birds, some will tell you they are quiet while others say they are noisy. Some say their pet birds are fun loving, and others say they are moody.
Like with people, each individual parrot is different. Some have been socialized at an early age, some have not. Some have been trained, some have not. Some eat plenty of healthy bird foods, some don't. All of these things can affect your bird's behavior along with your bird being an individual, so all birds do not fall into some kind of exacting species personality mold. However, different bird species do have a tendency toward certain characteristics. So we asked more than 50 green-cheeked conure owners on the BirdChannel Facebook to tell us about their birds, and we put all their descriptive words together. Three words consistently came up over and over again to describe green-cheeked conures: clown, snuggly and nippy.
Green Cheek Clowns
This was overwhelmingly used to describe the green-cheeked conure. It by far was used more than any other word. This is not a surprise as green cheeks are conures, considered one of the most playful, acrobatic and entertaining groups of parrots.
When it comes to green cheeks, Erika Hallace Kikuchi said that the green cheeks seem more acrobatic than her sun conure. Green cheek owner, Marla Powell says that her green-cheeked conure is by far the most entertaining and talkative of her four birds, which includes a sun conure. Patti Cosby Morgan describes green cheeks as having a “wonderfully playful spirit.”
Leigh Bantly Billingsley said, “My green-cheeked conure is so sweet! She likes to cuddle and is a terrific acrobat and clown!”
“My green cheek is a clown,” Arlene Balaban said, “and loves to make anyone who watches him laugh. He is very active, very sweet, a very gifted talker and has amazing flying skills. He does need to be watched when he's out of his cage or he will explore everything. He is louder and more needy than my peach front. My two [conures] are night and day, but I wouldn't have it any other way.”
Sherry Birdo Lynn adopted her 5-year-old green-cheeked conure about 6 months ago. “He has a huge personality,” she said. “I would say that from my experience green-cheeked conures are very silly birds. Mine makes me laugh all the time. They love getting into whatever you are working on at the time. My guy even has to sit on my hand while I'm doing my makeup every morning. He is instantly on my plate whenever I eat a meal, so I have to share a bird-safe portion of my meal with him.”
Rita Oshea added, “My green cheek is so playful! He's a clown, likes to hide in my shirt and peek out my sleeve. He talks a lot and, at times, in full sentences.”
Julie Marae describes green-cheeked conures as little parrots with huge personalities! She added that they were totally full of themselves. “I have two,” Marae said, “and they are absolute clowns. Love to talk and their favorite thing to say is ‘Mama loves greeeeeencheeeeks' and then make a drawn out kissy noise. They think they are bigger than they are. They may be small but should have a large cage since they are so busy all of the time.”
Snuggle Up With Green-Cheeked Conures
The word "snuggly" came in second as the word most used to describe the green-cheeked conure. Briana Gooden said her green cheek loves to snuggle into her hand. Chad Weeks describes his green cheek as very playful and snuggly.
“I love my green-cheek!” Veronica Wichrowski said. “He loves to snuggle under my chin while I sleep. He also likes to hide under my long hair. Green-cheeks are very loyal birds with great character!”
“I have one named Luna,” Melanie Rehrig said, “and I love her to pieces.” Rehrig said that Luna is spoiled rotten, independent and opinionated, plus she lets her know exactly what she wants. “She is also affectionate when she wants to be,” she added. “Nests in my hair, gives me kisses and cuddles up under my chin when we're relaxing.”
April Sanson's pineapple mutation green-cheeked conure, Prim, gives kisses and says ‘whatcha doin?' “But the best part,” Sanson said, “is how physical [green-cheeked conures] are! They are such snugglers!”
Gina Cioli/I-5 Studios/Courtesy Catherine M. Cross
Green-cheeked conures are also described as "sweet, affectionate and good talkers."
Elaine Michael Urrutia concurred. “Very snuggly!” she said. “Will lay on his back in our hands.”
Craig Hunter has a green cheek that is an extremely cuddly little guy. “He loves attention!” said Hunter. “He wants to be on me or around me at all times.”
“I had a green cheek for years given to me as the best present ever from my daughter,” said Wendy Arblaster about her green cheek that had passed away. “He would hang out and snuggle all night if he was allowed -- would snuggle more than my mini macaw or my [Congo African grey].”
Are Green Cheeks Nippy?
Coming in at third was the word nippy. Katrina Webster described it this way. “They are "beaky," she said, “and if you respond negatively to a beak touch, they will learn to get a reaction and then start to bite. You have to be zen about any beak contact. If you don't like it, put the bird down. Don't yell or do anything negative.”
Briana Gooden said, “I love my green cheek! He can be moody and nippy at times when he doesn't get what he wants, but all he wants is love and attention.”
“They are very smart, determined, stubborn birds and very loveable,” said Jason E. Kulyan. “The only downside I've found with mine is that he bites, and I can't seem to get him past this habit. He's just a baby, so I'm hoping the problem is outgrown.”
Sherry Birdo Lynn adopted a 5-year-old green-cheeked conure about 6 months ago. “He has a huge personality. He loves taking baths in his water bowl and has to be on or around me at all times,” she said. “He nibbles on everything and had a very bad biting problem when I first got him. I had to train him not to bite and he learned very fast.”
Dawn Nelson has a female cinnamon mutation green-cheeked conure that she “loves to pieces.” Nelson describes her green cheek as loving, a great eater and also nippy. “But I think she's more nippy when she's hormonal,” said Nelson.
“Mine is nippy,” said Tricia Bertrand, “but he loves attention! He also talks and is eager to learn. I recommend finding a hand-fed baby to avoid the nippiness! He is definitely part of the family and is so cool!”
Although clownish, snuggly and nippy were the most used words to describe green-cheeked conures, the word “sweet, affectionate and talker” did come up more than a few times.
“Our green cheek is a sweetheart,” said Russ Risley. “He is very social, likes to snuggle and has a great personality. We just have to keep small items out if his way or he causes them to disappear.”
Sarah Ragsdale says green cheeks are not loud, but lovable, curious and playful. “They LOVE your attention as does any bird,” said Ragsdale, “but they are very sweet.”
“They are wonderful birds,” explained John Mattson. “Can be a bit domineering if you let them. They are very affectionate (on their terms) and will do almost anything for head scratchies.”
Lynne Anderson said, “They would have to be the most affectionate and loving birds I have ever owned. My Kato is adorable.”
Valerie Serrano has three green-cheeked conures named Tiki, Tango and Trixy. “They are very loving birds,” she said. “My conures are my kids. Tiki is very talkative and knows many tricks.”
“I love my green cheek so much!” said Miranda Rice. “She loves to talk and she is just so adorable!”
Marie Jankowski has a GCC named Tilly. “Her personality is through the roof,” she said. “I'd always read that GCC's don't speak clearly and are prone to nippiness. They haven't met Tilly. Got her directly from a breeder and ever since she's been my little sidekick. She's got a vocabulary of about 25 words and can correctly make short sentences. She absolutely knows when she's being naughty. She will tell herself "Uh-uh!" and "Stop it!" when naughty. She will also tell the parakeet this when he's eating his own treats and she's jealous of him. Then comes the cuddly -- this bird is insanely cuddly and loving.”
A few people did mention that green-cheeked conures were good eaters, which is always a plus when it comes to trying to feed your pet bird and get it to accept a healthy diet.
“I have two green cheeks, Echo and Ozzy.” Said Anita L Ferraris Sisk. “They are about one year old. They love to eat! We fix cooked beans, brown rice and grains, veggies and fruits daily and they eat every bite. They also love their pellets. I have several other parrots but the green checks are the best eaters.”
Karen Powell Atwood said “My experience with all of the foster green cheeks I have had is that they are very good eaters and will try anything you offer them.” Atwood found finds it easy to convert green cheeks to healthy bird foods.
There were many words that people used to describe green cheeks, but the basic sentiment seemed to be the same. Mandy Kelly summed up her thoughts on green-cheeked conures this way. “Always remember that a green-cheeked conure will steal your heart and never give it back. And then when she leaves, she'll take it and a part of you with her.”
Read more about the popular and playful green-cheeked conure here.