Patagonian conures are quickly becoming popular birds to own so maybe you’re considering getting one. Or maybe you just find them fascinating and are eager to find out more about them.
The Patagonian conure is a large, gentle, friendly bird with extremely interesting breeding, feeding, and vocal habits who are fairly easy to train. There are so many great things you can do with and learn from your Patagonian conure and they make wonderful companions for the right person.
There are many unique things that make the Patagonian conure different from other birds — and even other conures— that are useful to know about if you’re deciding to get one.
They Are Also Referred To By Several Other Names
In addition to being commonly referred to as a “Patty” as a short version of their name, Patagonian conures are commonly referred to by several other names. A few commonly used names you may hear include:
Burrowing Parrot. Patagonian conures love to burrow! And it’s not uncommon to see them burrow up to 6 feet deep into the side of a sandstone cliff or in a tree or dirt bank to build their nests.
Cliff-dwelling Parrot. Of all the parrots, Patagonian conures seem to like nesting on cliffs more than others who prefer to nest in tree cavities. And they will burrow into them deeply — often building winding tunnels.
This Species Has Its Own Genus
This particular species of conure has its own genus that is compromised of three species who all look very similar, except in size:
- The Lesser Patagonian Conure
- The Andean Patagonian Conure
- The Greater Patagonian Conure
They Are The Largest Bird In The Conure Family
Patagonian conures are the largest in the parrot family and come in at roughly 18 – 20 inches long. They are robustly built but have heads which are small compared to the rest of their body.
Interestingly, although they have small heads, they have feet that are larger than the proportion of their body! In fact, they have the biggest feet of any bird in the parrot family.
They Come From An Interesting Habitat
Patagonian conures thrive in conditions most other birds would find rather harsh. They love arid conditions and are found mainly in the Monte Desert as well as several habitats throughout Argentina. These birds love to create their (deeply burrowed) nests in savannahs near rivers, streams, and open grasslands.
They Are Not Endangered
The Patagonian conure is sadly extremely vulnerable to harsh declines due to large amounts of trapping. And unfortunately, because they like to hang out in larger groups in grasslands some farmers find them to be pests and may shoot them if they see them. And some cultures within Chile consider a fat Patagonian conure a delicacy — causing even more decline to the numbers in the wild. It’s estimated that there are only a few thousand Patagonian conures left in the wild.
However, because of their vast breeding habits and their nesting habits, they’re considered to be of the “least concern” status for becoming extinct and are only a protected species in a few select areas.
They Eat A Lot Of Different Foods
In the wild, Patagonian conures will eat any seeds, fruits (especially berries), and any vegetable matter they can find. However, when you have one as a pet you can feed it any nutritious food that you eat — especially fruits and vegetables! Make sure that any nuts and/or seeds you feed your bird are free of mold. You can supplement them with pellets and seeds you get from your local pet food store.
You must never feed your Patagonian conure chocolate, alcohol, or avocado because these foods could make them very sick and may even lead to death. Limiting peanuts is also a good idea since they can lead to a blockage of the digestive system.
Always provide them with plenty of filtered, unchlorinated water and change it often — several times a day, if possible. Clean their bowls thoroughly and dry it well between uses.
They Have Super Interesting Breeding Behavior
The breeding behavior of a Patagonian conure is really fascinating and differs from most other species.
They’re monogamous. The Patagonian conure is one of the only species that are monogamous. Nest parasitism doesn’t seem to occur in this species and both parents offer care to the eggs and babies.
Age of breeding. Most Patagonian conures aren’t mature enough to breed until they are about three years of age, but there has been successful hatching done in Patagonian conures as young as one year old.
Egg incubation and hatching. The incubation period for eggs laid by a Patagonian conure is 24 or 25 days. Egg-laying happens in intervals of two to three days. And three to five eggs are typical for a hatch, with three or four young hatchings typically surviving. Having one clutch per season is typical, although in certain climates they could have two.
Fledging. Young Patagonian conures fledge after approximately eight days. If you’re going to ring the chicks do so at about 15 days with an 8.5mm ring.
They Can Be Incredibly Loud
All conures are known to be loud and will scream quite often. However, since Patagonian conures are larger birds, they also have a much louder scream and their screams will be extremely piercing to the ears. In addition to screaming to get your attention, out of fear, hunger, or illness they are also quite vocal and will chatter and talk a lot.
They Will Live For Many Years
With proper care and being fed good food, Patagonian conures can have a long healthy life. It’s not uncommon for a Patagonian conure to live for at least 30 years!
Their Coloring Is Quite Unique
For a parrot, the Patagonian conure isn’t the flashiest looking bird — but it is one of the most unique looking! These birds are olive green in color and have some yellow, blue, and red on the plumage with a splash of white on the shoulders and occasionally the breast.
They Are Escape Artists
Patagonian conures are birds who love to spread their wings, play, and explore. And they’re surprisingly smart and often are able to figure out how their cage works — even opening it and escaping! So, in addition to setting up a cage that is large enough for them, you’ll also need to make sure you can secure it well.
And don’t forget to keep all your doors and windows firmly closed and latched if you’ve let your Patagonian conure out of its cage to fly around. It’s not that they want to get away from you, it’s just in their nature to explore.
They Love To Bathe
You’ll often find your Patagonian conure bathing because they take pride in their appearance. They are very clean birds and enjoy taking a bird bath most mornings.
If you can, provide a dish of (unchlorinated, metal free) water for them to dip their feathers and beak in. They will use their beaks to toss water onto their feathers. And once they get comfortable with you, they may like it if you spritz them with lukewarm water. Expect a lot of preening after their bath as they use their beak to pull the oils through their feathers to help keep them shiny and beautiful.
They Are Quite Healthy Birds
Patagonian conures are quite robust and luckily don’t have too many health conditions but are still somewhat susceptible to certain health conditions that other conures are such as:
They should be seen regularly by an avian veterinarian for a health check, and as soon as possible if you notice a change in behavior in your Patagonian conure.
You Can Teach Them To Talk
Although they likely won’t be able to learn to say long sentences and chat along with you, Patagonian conures have a higher level of talking ability than most other parrots. Take some time (be patient!) to train them to say a few words or short phrases.
They Are Very Affectionate
Patagonian conures are very affectionate birds who love to spend time with their family members. They love to play and cuddle and are extremely fun birds to be around. If you have the space to make a Patagonian conure comfortable in, are able to commit to them for their lifespan, and don’t have neighbors who will get too angry at all their noise, they make fabulous pets!