The Blue-throated Conure (Pyrrhura cruentata) is a species that is currently increasing in popularity within Australia. Reasons for this include their small size, beautiful colouration, ease of care, quiet and inquisitive nature and their ability to make great pets. This is certainly one of the most stunning Pyrrhura Conures available to Australian aviculturalists and pet owners.
The Blue-throated Conure is a strong flyers which should be kept in a large spacious aviary. Here at Perky Parrots we keep our Blue-throated Conures in suspended aviaries measuring 4 metres long x 1.2 metres wide x 1.2 metres high. However a conventional aviary of approximately 1.5 to 2 metres long x 2 metres high x 1 metres wide is acceptable as is a suspended aviary measuring 1.5 to 2 metres long by 90 cm’s high x 90cm’s wide. As always each bank of aviaries should have a walkway to prevent birds from escaping if the do get out of their aviary.
If you are keeping your Blue-throated Conures side by side (or next to birds of another species in a row of aviaries) double wiring or a full partition down the middle of the aviary is suggested. At Perky Parrots however we have half of the side towards the back covered in colourbond sheeting and the adjoining front section double wired. As Blue-throated Conures can be highly social birds this gives the birds the ability to see their neighbors and get some privacy when required.
The back half of the roof of the aviary should be covered with a suitable colourbond sheeting like trimdeck and the front half with a suitable wire. This will allow the birds to sun themselves and enjoy rain showers at the front whilst being able to retreat to the back half during inclement weather or at times when birds of prey are about. Only aluminium or steel should be used to construct the aviary these birds are housed in as they are great lovers of wood and will ruin a wooden framed aviary in a matter of weeks.
Our Conure aviaries have a cement rat wall that is sunk into the ground to a depth of 600mm with an extra 200mm above ground adjoined by colourbond sheeting. The colourbond sheeting is 1.2 metres high and prevents rodents and snakes from entering the aviaries. We use quality 12.5mm x 12.5mm 1.6 guage wire. This wire is well suited to house our Amazons, Grey’s, Caiques, Hahn’s Macaws and Conures.
Each bank of aviaries is also fitted with a sprinkler system and automated water. The sprinkler system is turned on when required and provides the birds with a fine mist to bathe in. The automated watering system however comes on twice a day and is triggered by a computer. Regardless of this all water is checked twice daily.
If you intend on keeping your Blue-throated Conure as a pet it is advisable that you purchase a sturdy and spacious cage from your local pet shop. A cage that is longer in length will allow the bird to fly more. Although not great chewers Blue-throated Conures will chew wood and so a wooden cage is not advisable nor is a plastic cage. A cage that is round is also not recommended as birds do not feel at ease in round cages.
A good cage should not be flimsy and be constructed of quality materials, have a good latch for locking the cage, be easy to clean and have appropriate bar spacing so the bird can not stick its head out of the cage. A quality cage should also have a removable tray and grid at the bottom of the cage. The tray acts to collect the bird’s droppings and fallen foods whilst the grid is designed to keep the birds from accessing potentially fouled food and their droppings. A cage should be cleaned every two weeks and the perches should be replaced regularly.
Also essential for the cage are perches, branches and toys. Perches made out of non toxic branches such as those from eucalypts, bottlebrush, acacias or grevillia’s are great for use with both pet and aviary birds. It is wise to wash the perches and branches and allow them to dry before placing them in the cage. When selecting branches to use as perches and as toys, they should be selected from areas that are free from chemical sprays. The renewal of chewed or fouled perches should be undertaken regularly.
Blue-throated Conures love to play and for this reason sturdy toys should be provided. These toys can be purchased from pet shops, bird toy suppliers and bird clubs. Before purchasing any toy for a bird it is wise to talk with whom ever it is selling the toy to you to make sure the toy is safe for use with your bird. Incidences where inferior quality toys have killed or maimed birds have been reported and continue to do damage due to poor advice.
Blue-throated Conures love to sleep in a nestbox so if you are keeping your bird/s in an aviary it is advisable to keep a nestbox in the aviary at all times. The keeping of a nestbox in the aviaries at all times has several benefits. Two benefits that instantly spring to mind are that when a bird of prey is about the birds have somewhere to hide and during cold weather the birds have somewhere warm to sleep rather then having to sleep out on a perch exposed to cold temperatures of winter. The nestbox should be fitted with a wooden ladder rather then one made of wire to prevent heavy metal poisoning.
If however you are keeping your Blue-throated Conure as a pet you may choose to keep a nestbox or conure tent in the cage for the bird to roost in. Regular cleaning of the conure tent or nestbox may be undertaken to keep mites and lice and other nasties at bay. Alternatively you may place a cover over the cage at night. The cage cover should be made of a dark and durable material which will allow the bird/s to breath when it is placed over the cage. Allowing the bird to chew the cover is not advisable as it could have severe if not fatal effects on the bird. Feeding
Here at Perky Parrots we feed our Blue-throated Conures a mix of dry seed, sprouted seed, and fruit and vegetables on a daily basis. The dry seed is placed in a separate bowl to the fruits and vegetables which are mixed with the sprouted seed. Each day in the morning the birds receive fresh water and a mix of fruits, vegetables and sprouted seed. In the afternoon the water is changed and dry seed is given whilst any uneaten parts of the fruit, vegetable and sprouted seed mixture are removed from the aviary. During the breeding season fruits, vegetables and sprouted seed are provided twice a day to birds with young.
Fruits and vegetables which may be fed to these birds include carrot (boiled first and allowed to cool), grape, pear, apple, peas, corn on the cob, orange, star fruit, pumpkin, passionfruit etc. Avocado and Rhubarb are two such foods which should never be fed as they have may prove fatal to your bird/s. Chocolate, coffee, salt, tea, alcohol, sweets and food scraps are also not recommended. Calcium supplements may be given particularly in the leed up to the breeding season however the directions on the bottle should be followed and your vet should be consulted with to prevent overdosing your bird/s.
Fruits and vegetables should only be kept in the aviary or cage for approximately four to six hours (depending on where you live and the climate in your area) and be kept out of direct sunlight so the fruits and vegetables won’t become spoiled and go sour or begin to ferment. Water should be replaced daily and water bowls should not be kept under perches as the birds may contaminate it with their droppings. Seed should be replaced on a daily basis if need be.
Blue-throated Conures love to bathe even on the coldest of mornings and so a large shallow bowl filled with water may be placed in the bird/s cage or aviary. Take care however that if you are doing this that you have put the cage in a place where items around it are not of great value such as paper work as these birds will flick their water everywhere. Branches of non toxic trees or plants may also be given to the birds when wet as they love to crawl about the wet foliage.
Handreared Blue-throated Conures (although rarely kept as pets within Australia at present) make great pets particularly for those who live in small apartments or have neighbours that are not appreciative of noise. They are low maintenance, playful, cuddly, quiet and may learn to talk although their ability to talk is limited.
Blue-throated Conures although not as inquisitive as Caiques will find any trouble in sight. Beware that many dangers exist in each household and that prevention is better then cure. Some of these dangers include poisonous plants, exposed electrical leads and wires, windows, water sources and Teflon cookware. Of course a number of other dangers may exist but those previously mentioned are amongst the most common.
Teflon cookware when heated can give off fumes that are poisonous to birds so it is recommended that you keep your birds well away from any area where you are using Teflon cookware. Failing to do this can result in the death of your bird/s. Glass windows pose a serious threat to both wild and pet birds which rarely notice them. It is for this reason that windows should be covered with blinds or curtains to prevent your bird/s from hitting them. Window strikes can prove to be fatal in some situations.
Commonly grown plants can also be poisonous, as can fertilizers and potting mixes so it is advisable that you keep all plants, fertilizers and potting mixes out of reach of your birds. Of course the washed branches of non toxic plants can be given to your bird/s to keep boredom at bay. If you are in doubt about whether or not a plant is poisonous or not then refrain from using it.
Exposed leads and wires are also a potential danger and should be kept well hidden to prevent your bird/s from chewing them. Conures do not possess the webbed feet that ducks and other water birds have and thus are not good swimmers. Due to this they will find themselves in danger if they happen to land or fall into a large water source such as a kitchen sink filled with water, a toilet bowl or a fish tank. For this reason it is recommended that you keep your water sources covered or the birds well away from them. Keeping an eye on your bird/s at all times is highly recommended to avoid possible heartbreak.