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Rosella 2012

Created By: Anthony Waller

Green Cheek Conure

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As a result of a request one of our readers posted in a comment, the next two parrot species we will discuss here at Parrot Facts have jumped the line a bit – the first one is theGreen Cheek Conure.

The Green Cheek Conure is a small parrot of the pyhrrura genus that is native to the inland forests of South America – Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia and Argentina.

green cheek conure parrot facts - posing
Green Cheek Conure – Pyrrhura molinae

[1]This tiny parrot is mostly green with a grey head, leading to its Brazilian Portuguese name of “dirty-faced pyrrhura”.

The Green Cheek Conure is one of the smallest conure species, and also a popular bird in aviculture, as they are handsome, playful and intelligent. They are also very affectionate, and if you don’t have enough time in your hands to deal with their desire of attention you should strongly consider getting a pair. They can be loud, although not as loud as for example a Sun Conure, but for that reason they shouldn’t be kept in apartments.

If you’re considering purchasing a Green Cheek Conure at a pet store, you should make sure you’re buying what you’re looking for. A young Green Cheek Conure may be confused with a young Maroon Bellied Conure (Pyrrhura frontalis), a close relative, leading to mislabeling at general pet stores. What does a Green Cheek Conure look like and how can you tell the difference? They’re both the same size and they’re both primarily green with several other colour similarites. However, the Green Cheek Conure is generally brighter in color than the Maroon Bellied, and they have gray barring on their chest which fades into a reddish belly. Buying your bird from a breeder will help to ensure you’re getting the parrot you want.

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Oliver 2012

Created By: Anthony Waller

Green Cheeked Conures.
Everything you need to know before getting a Green cheeked conure.

The green cheeked conure is a very comical, friendly, smart, and loving pet. [1]They are known to be 2-3 Oz. in weight and 10 in. in length. These birds come in beautiful colors of Green, Blue, Red and there's a distinctive white mask around their eyes. Although these are the main colors, sometimes there can be mutations. There is nothing wrong with these birds, they are just different colors than the others. Mutation meaning difference or variation. Some of the variations are: pineapple, turquoise, and cinnamon. These birds rarely squawk which makes them good pets, but you can teach them to talk. Birds are incredibly smart they can have a vocab of up to 120 words! These are no bird brains! ;)

The green cheeked conure's diet contains of 30% pellet feed and 10% seeds. These birds LOVE fresh fruit and veggies! Their favorite snacks are bananas, raisins, and Popcorn! Make sure that you don't feed them things that are too fatty though, and make sure to clip their wings or they will fly away! If your bird has developed Kidney problems then Do not feed them pellets!!! If they get too much seeds it can be deadly.
Green cheeked conures need a very large cage to be happy and healthy, but if you were to have your Conure out around the house or apartment you could get a smaller cage.Make sure to get LOTS Of toys! They love toys and can easily entertain themselves given the toys to do so. Their favorites are bells, wooden toys, and mirrors. Make sure to get something to wear down their nails. I recommend that you get a stick with sand stuck to it this is fun for them to perch on, they come in a variation of cute colors, and it wears the nails down!
Brazil, Bolivia, Argentina, and Paraguay. But their native to south Africa.

The average conure will lay 4-6 eggs and the incubation time for these eggs are 22-26 days.

Claws, flying and biting. The bite of a parrot or other bird could take a chunk out of your finger so be careful!!

Fun Facts!:
~Did you know that the green cheeked conure loves to be held and bonds with whoever raises it.
~Did you know that the conure loves toys?
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Womach 2012

Created By: Anthony Waller

Green Cheek Conure Diet & Cage

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Proper Diet and Cage Information

The Green Cheek Conure is a small conure and the largest of all Conures and will therefore need a large cage because like all Conures, the Green Cheek Conure needs room to move about his cage.

Green Cheek ConureYour Green Cheek Conure is an active bird and will want to hang from the cage bars, climb, hop from perch to perch, and even lie on the bottom of the cage and play with his feet.

Like many Conures, the Green Cheek Conure enjoys bathing and will require a daily bath. This can be accomplished by misting them, taking them into the shower, or if they’re self sufficient bathers then you can offer a dish of water for them to splash around in. The Green Cheek Conure is also good flyer and will want to be exercised daily.

Take care to make flying inside the home a safe exercise. Remove toxic plants, turn off ceiling fans, make sure that nothing is cooking on the stove, and make sure that all doors and windows are closed. Never leave your Green Cheek Conure unattended.

To keep your Green Cheek occupied and not destroying your home, offer your Green Cheek Conure a variety of toys. Green Cheeks love to chew, so toys made of soft wood are ideal as well as shiny unbreakable objects and toys that make noises. Green Cheeks are natural climbers and acrobats, give them a perch or a climbing branch to help them express this natural tendency.

Providing your Green Cheek lava blocks and grinding perches inside their cage, will help keep their beaks and nails trimmed. If your Green Cheek isn’t doing their job and keeping themselves groomed, you may need to trim their beak and clip their nails.

Green Cheek Conures enjoy plenty of social interaction. Set aside time every day for you and your bird to play and interact. This can be as simple as hanging out together or as detailed as teaching him a new trick. If you plan on spending time with your bird, you can get by with a cage size, 18″ x 18″ x 24″, with ½” bar spacing.

If you’re unable to spend time with your bird, then a much larger cage is required. Additionally, if you’re unable to spend time with your Green Cheek, consider getting a second Green Cheek or Maroon Bellied to keep them company. Of course two Conures will need a large cage to move around in.

Conures live significantly less active lives in captivity than in the wild which means a restricted diet will prevent weight gain and illness. This can be easily accomplished by putting your bird on a feeding schedule. Offering treats is a great way to introduce variety and reward your bird for good behavior.

Variety is the spice of life. A Green Cheek Conure diet, as well as their well being, is significantly benefited by offering a variety of fruits and vegetables. Additionally, Conures are prone to “Conure Bleeding Sydrome”, thought to be caused by a lack of Vitamin K. Here are some options to provide variety and nutrients:

  • [1]Broccoli,
  • Apples without the seeds,
  • Grapes,
  • Spinach,
  • Chickweed,
  • Kale
  • Dandelions,
  • Carrots,
  • Corn on the cob,
  • Peas,
  • Sweet potatoes.

The absolute best way to keep your Green Cheek Conure healthy is to make sure they have plenty of daily stimulation, an appropriate sized cage, a wide variety of healthy fruits and vegetables, toys to keep them busy, and of course plenty of love and TLC from their owners.

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Jenkins 2012

Created By: Anthony Waller

Care in Captivity
Pet Suitability:
Medium voice; may learn to mimic. Handraised babies have sweet disposition, but may go through a 'nippy' period. Lively and playful.

Captive Status:
Unknown until the 1970s; now fairly common.


Aviary or suspended enclosure, minimum length 2m (6.5 ft).

Fruits such as: apple, pear, banana, cactus fruits, pomegranate, forming about 30 percent of diet; vegetables such as: carrot, celery, green beans and peas in the pod; fresh corn; green leaves such as: Swiss chard, lettuce, sowthistle, dandelion, chickweed; spray millet; small seed mix such as: canary, millet and smaller amounts of oats, buckwheat and safflower; soaked and sprouted sunflower seed; cooked beans and pulses and boiled maize; limited cubed hard cheese; complete pellet.

Are avid bathers; provide fresh water daily. Are very active so provide foraging toys, swings, ladders, bird-safe (unsprayed) wood chew toys, vegetable tanned leather toys.

Nest Box Size:
Vertical box 12" x 12" x 18"(30.5cm x 30.5cm x 46cm).

Clutch Size:

Incubation Time:
22-24 days

Fledging Age:
7 weeks

[1]Hatch Weight:
5g (0.1 oz)

Peak Weight:
Not available 
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Renner 2012

Created By: Anthony Waller

Ancestors of our Birds: Agile, Cunning, Feathered, and… Toothed?

by Tanya Renner
[1]I am more than confident my green-cheeked conure ‘Purby’ descended from a dinosaur. However, there is much more evidence for a close relationship between birds and dinosaurs than an interpretation of behavior from a Hollywood movie.

You may have heard that birds evolved from dinosaurs, but it’s a little more complicated than T-Rex slowly becoming a chicken over time! Some scientists think that birds shared an ancient common ancestor with only a certain group of dinosaurs, and over time, birds and dinosaurs took separate evolutionary paths.

Which types of bird-like dinosaurs do paleontologists think are closely related to modern birds and when do we start to see early birds in the fossil record? Has a fossil of Purby’s ancestor been found? In this article we will explore the origin of birds (and parrots!) by taking a look at a few fossil finds that have helped scientists further understand how modern birds arose.

Invasion of the ‘Hand-Snatchers’
Scientists place birds or Aves in a large clade called Maniraptora (‘hand-snatchers’); a group of organisms that includes dinosaurs like Velociraptor. Maniraptora share numerous features related to a bird's body plan, but the most obvious is the presence of long forearms and hands that could have been used for grasping. It is in the Aves and their closest relatives that we start to notice modifications of these long forearms and hands, which may have been co-opted for flight.

Microraptor: Your Pigeon’s Second Cousin 
Can you imagine your foster King pigeon with four wings? Weighing in around 2 pounds and about 2 feet long, Microraptor was about the size of a large pigeon. Classified by scientists as a non-bird dinosaur and a possible ‘cousin’ to the Aves, Microraptor had long contour feathers on its tail, forearms, and hind legs. This meant species of Microraptorhad four wings like a biplane, each capable of providing some lift for gliding! Yet the wings found on the hind legs would have been problematic when Microraptor landed on the ground, as the feathers that made up these wings were actually anchored to the feet and would have hindered walking or running. Based on this observation, Microraptor probably spent most of his time in the tree canopies gliding around searching for prey 125 million years ago. So why do we not see four-winged pigeons today? It could be possible that this biplane design was an evolutionary dead-end or just a stepping-stone to two-winged flight in modern birds.

Familiar Ancestors
As scientists continue to find fossils, the distinction between bird and non-bird dinosaurs becomes increasingly difficult. Microraptor is an example of this scenario where a recent fossil with feathers and the capability of limited flight was placed in a group outside of the Aves due to features that made Microraptor more dinosaur-like than bird-like. So which features make a bird a bird? Let’s take a look at three ancestors to modern birds to answer this question.

Scansoriopteryx: Let’s Leap
As small as a sparrow, Scansoriopteryx was an arboreal (tree-living) dinosaur with arms that would have folded similarly to a modern bird’s, allowing for leaping between branches and possibly flight. Probably an avid tree-climber, Scansoriopteryx had features similar to modern tree-dwelling birds like woodpeckers: feet with a backward-pointing toe and a short tail for propping itself upright on tree trunks. Down-like feathers are evident in the fossil impressions of Scansoriopteryx, but so are scales at the base of the tail!

Archaeopteryx: Ancient Wings 
Scientists first pondered over the close relationship between birds and dinosaurs when a 150 million-year-old fossil known as Archaeopteryx (archaeo = ancient, pteryx = wing) was unearthed in Berlin, Germany in 1861. Archaeopteryx provided a perfect example of the transition from dinosaur to bird as the specimen had features of both: sharp teeth, three-fingered claws, a sharp ‘killing claw’ on the second toe, a long bony tail, and feathers that were well developed for flight and insulation. Flapping around the same time asBrachiosaurus (“veggie-saurus” in Jurassic Park), this little guy weighed in close to 270 grams, and was no larger than the size of a smaller Amazon parrot.

ConfuciusornisOld Crow
A genus of crow-sized birds from the early Cretaceous (~125 million years ago),Confuciusornis was a primitive bird with a pygostyle (a bone formed from fused tail vertebrae) and toothless beak—characteristics of modern birds and featuresArchaeopteryx did not have. Yet unlike modern birds, it had large claws on its forearms and was unable to produce flapping flight as the position of the shoulder joint did not allowConfuciusornis to lift its wings up and over its back. In the air, this bird probably glided likeScansoriopteryx and Archaeopteryx, but when on the ground, ran and hopped similar to what we see modern crows do today. Interestingly, earlier this year scientists utilized an electron microscope to identify certain pigments found in Confuciusornis fossils, which indicate feathers had hues of grey, red, brown, and black.

Modern Birds
Modern birds comprise the first (and now extinct) birds on earth in addition to all living birds today. Whether extinct or extant, modern birds share a variety of features, which include the presence of feathers, a toothless beak, production of hard-shelled eggs, a four-chambered heart, lightweight skeleton, and two-winged flight—with the exception of some species such as penguins. Within the last few years two exciting modern bird fossil finds have been made, one of which is an ancestor of the parrots.

Pelagornis: Pseudoteeth
Some extinct modern birds were amazing in their size, morphology, and certainly would have been very daunting if you came across one! Of these awesome birds is a type ofPelagornis, a group of extinct seabirds closely related to pelicans with wingspans up to 20 feet—some of the largest birds to have ever lived. The most notable morphological feature of these 2.5-23 million year old birds is the presence of pseudoteeth; serrated structures at the beak edge that may have functioned in prey capture. Although pseudoteeth may resemble true teeth at first glance, they were much different anatomically from the true teeth found in Microraptor, Scansoriopteryx, and Archaeopteryx.

Mopsitta: Purby’s Danish Ancestor
The oldest parrot fossil described lived in quite an unexpected place: what is now Denmark! Named Mopsitta, this ancient parrot flew among what were once lush and tropical landscapes 54 million years ago. Evidence of parrots in Scandinavia may suggest that parrots first evolved in the Northern Hemisphere and later diversified into the species we find later in the fossil record from the Southern Hemisphere.
What do you think this ancient parrot looked like? Did he have zygodactyl feet (2 toes facing forward and backward) and a curved bill? Although we know Mopsitta was about the size of a lesser sulfur-crested cockatoo, we do not have much information on what this ancient parrot could have really looked like. What we know about Mopsitta is based entirely upon fossil remains of a single humerus, a long arm bone that runs from the shoulder to the elbow. This bone has very similar attributes in shape to a humerus found in today’s parrots. So, your guess is as good as mine as to what other features Mopsitta would have had!

All in the Family
It is apparent that the evolution of birds is pretty complicated. Having feathers does not automatically categorize an animal as a bird. It is a combination of certain features that defines a bird, many of which we can identify in our Mickaboo birds today. Next time you say hello to your feathered kid, take a good look at his or her feathers, toothless beak, and wings. You might be able to identify which features are similar to those in ancient birds or dinosaurs.

References and Further Reading on the Evolution of Birds
Bourdon, E. (2005). Osteological evidence for sister group relationship between pseudo-toothed birds (Aves: Odontopterygiformes) and waterfowls (Anseriformes).

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Ethan 2012

Created By: Anthony Waller

Green Cheek Conure Parrot

[1]The Green Cheek Conure is a type of parrot, and belongs to the family Psittacidae. Cockatoos, parakeets, macaws, lories, and many others belong to this same family. All have hook shaped bills and zyodactal feet, meaning two toes pointing forward and two toes pointing backwards. Small conures such as the Green Cheek are often mistaken for parakeets due to their smaller size and long tails. Green Read more....
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