The sun conure, Aratinga solstitialis, is a parrot endemic to northeastern South America. Also known as the sun parakeet, the sun conure is brightly colored with plumage of yellow, green, and blue. These birds can be taught to speak a few words clearly, but their ability to speak is more limited than that of larger parrots. Trapping for the pet trade, hunting for its feathers, and loss of habitat have led to the bird being listed as an endangered species.
An adult sun conure weighs about 4 ounces (110 grams) and is about 12 inches (30 cm) tall. The bird is mostly yellow in color, but has an orange face and belly. The wings and tail have both blue and green coloring, while the bill and the legs are black. The ring around the bird’s eye is gray, but often fades to white if the bird is captive. The juvenile sun conure is mostly green, with the more colorful plumage developing as it matures.
The male and female birds are nearly identical. They reach sexual maturity at about 2 years. The birds can live to be 25 to 30 years old. The female bird lays four to five eggs that she incubates for about 23 days. The male bird usually sits near the nest, but doesn’t help incubate the eggs. He does help to feed the babies after they hatch.
The sun conure is found in savannas, coastal forests, and at the edges of humid forests. They are native to Roraima in Brazil, southern Guyana, and southern Suriname and southern French Guiana. The birds usually live in groups of up to 30 individuals. Their diet consists of fruits, berries, and nuts. They have a loud squawking call and can mimic humans.
Popular as pets, the sun conure breeds readily in captivity. They are known for alerting their owners with their shrill call if they notice something out of the ordinary. While they bond with the people who interact with them regularly, they may be wary of strangers. These playful birds enjoy toys and are noted for their jumping, curiosity, and hanging by one foot from the tops of cages while swinging back and forth.
While relatively healthy, the sun conure is prone to some illnesses common in captive birds. These include aspergillosis, psittacosis, and psittacine beak and feather disease. The birds are also susceptible to conure bleeding syndrome.