The green-cheeked parakeet is a parrot native to forests in South America. A member of the conure family, it has the scientific name Pyrrhura molinae and is commonly called the green-cheeked conure. It is considered to be a small parrot, with a length from head to tail of 10 inches (25 centimeters) at maturity and a weight of 2 to 3 ounces (60 to 90 grams).
This parakeet reaches maturity by the age of three, and when living in a safe environment can live past 30 years. It is mostly green with a gray chest, dark gray on top of its head, green cheeks, blue and green wings, and maroon tail feathers. Many specimens also have blue feathers underneath their tails.
Some color mutations are found in the wild. Cinnamon, yellow-sided, and turquoise green-cheeked parakeets are natural mutations, while some other variations, such as the pineapple green-cheeked parakeet, have been deliberately bred in captivity to produce new color mutations. The pineapple green-cheeked parakeet was created by breeding a yellow-sided with a cinnamon green-cheeked parakeet. Cross-breeding these two natural mutations resulted in a parakeet with brilliant coloration, featuring orange and yellow on its chest and belly. Variations command a higher price from breeders and pet stores than the standard green-cheeked parakeet.
The green-cheeked conure is herbivorous in the wild, eating flowers, fruit, seeds, and vegetation. Like all conures, it is a social creature, with flocks of around 20 birds living together high in the treetops. Coloration on both genders is identical, making it impossible to determine the bird’s gender with the naked eye. If a person plans to breed green-cheeked parakeets, it will be necessary to have DNA testing done to determine the sex of the birds. Kits are available to perform this test at home.
This parrot squawks as other conures do, but it is the quietest bird in the conure family, making it a good choice for an apartment dweller who wants to adopt a parrot. Green-cheeked conures don’t speak as clearly as Amazons, Quaker parrots, or Indian ring-necked parakeets, but they can be taught to whisper a few words. When choosing to bring home a pet green-cheeked conure, it is important to keep in mind that this kind of bird requires a lot of attention and needs time outside the cage every day to exercise and snuggle with its owner. The bird needs lots of toys to play with, and soft wood to chew on as well.