The Blue-Crowned Conure (a/okay/a Blue-Crowned Parakeet, Sharp-Tailed Conure, Aratinga acuticaudata) has at all times had followers amongst parrot lovers, however its recognition exploded in 1998 with the discharge of Paulie, a film that featured one as the primary “actor”. Extra lately, The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill, a documentary, additionally highlighted this species. Sadly, this sort of publicity is just not at all times best, as pets are sometimes bought for the mistaken causes (owl gross sales soared in some locations after Harry Potter was launched!). Blue-Crowned Conures are little studied within the wild. I’ve had the nice fortune of observing each free-living and captive people, and immediately will concentrate on their pure historical past, and summarize their care wants.
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At 14.5 inches in size, the Blue-Crowned Conure is likely one of the largest species within the genus Aratinga. In frequent with different conures, it sports activities a heavy invoice and lengthy, tapered tail, however the sky to darkish blue coloration on the crown and cheeks is exclusive. Varied shades of inexperienced coloration the physique plumage, whereas the undersides of the tail feathers are reddish-brown and tipped with yellow. All-in-all, it’s a very engaging parrot.
The range extends from northern Venezuela and eastern Columbia south by way of Paraguay and Uruguay to northern Argentina.
5 subspecies, differing considerably in coloration and measurement, have been described. Whereas working in Venezuela, I had an opportunity to look at A. a. neoxina in riverside thickets and even nicely out into the llanos. On close by Margarita Island, I caught a glimpse of a number of of the few people that handle to outlive there.
Feral populations are established in Florida and southern California, USA.
The Blue-Crowned Conure is tailored to arid habitats, and will journey extensively when pressured by the dearth of meals and water. It’s most frequently related to deciduous forests, but in addition frequents riverside scrub, wooded grasslands, farms and metropolis outskirts. In Bolivia, desert fringes are occupied (a relative, the Cactus Conure, A. cactorum, is a real desert chook; please see article beneath).
The Margarita Island inhabitants, threatened by rat predation, habitat loss and assortment, is believed to quantity lower than 200 people. Different populations haven’t been well-studied.
In some areas, Blue-Crowned Conures are thought of to be crop pests, whereas elsewhere they’re valued for consuming weed seeds. The species is listed on Appendix II of Cites.
Adaptability has doubtless assisted the Blue-Crowned Conure in surviving the place associated parrots have disappeared. It forages on the bottom or in bushes, taking all kinds of seeds, tree and cactus fruits, berries, and a few bugs. The place roosting bushes are scarce, Blue-Crowns go the evening in shallow caves.
Outdoors of the breeding season, flocks of as much as 200 people kind, typically in affiliation with White-Eyed, Mitred and different Conures.
The breeding season extends from September to February. The two-3 eggs are deposited in a tree hole and incubated for 22-25 days. The chicks fledge in roughly 8 weeks, and are fed by the male alone for a while thereafter. Two (not often three) clutches are produced yearly.
Area research (please see article beneath) have revealed that this species makes use of 8 distinct vocalizations, and variations of every, to speak with others.
The 2 alarm calls present flock members with data regarding predators’ location and distance, and may additionally establish the kind of menace (i.e. hawk vs. snake). Different vocalizations name the group collectively, with variations being utilized when flock-mates are in or out of view. Coordination of flight path and mate-contact are additionally achieved by way of distinctive calls. I’m positive that additional analysis will reveal an much more subtle communication system.
Blue-Crowned Conures as Pets
Most conures have nice pet potential, and the Blue Crowned is not any exception; please see this text for an outline of in style species. Many conure specialists take into account the Blue Crown to be the friendliest and most clever of all. It’s also a greater mimic than its relations, however can’t be thought of particularly “gifted” on this regard. Hybrids with different species, such because the Golden-Crowned Conure, have been produced.
Potential house owners ought to keep in mind that, regardless of their small measurement, Blue-Crowned Conures have very loud voices, are extraordinarily energetic, and may scale back furnishings to wooden chips very quickly flat. Like all parrots, conures want a mate or near-constant affiliation with a well-liked particular person if they’re to thrive. Please see the articles beneath and write in for particular care data.