The Patagonian Conure has the distinction of being the biggest member of the Conure family. They are anywhere between 18 and 20 inches in length. Even though they may be fairly loud at times, these lovely birds make wonderful companions because of their kind nature. Patagonians are known to be excellent mimics and talkers. Patagonians, like other Conures, have a strong desire to fulfill their want to chew on wood, therefore you should provide them with plenty of safe toys, tree limbs, and twigs to play with. Patagonians are often affectionate, bright, and lively birds that form strong attachments to their owners. Patagonians are also known for their intelligence. Patagonian conures are fantastic pets for those who like a high level of stimulation. They spend most of the day moving about, dancing, bouncing, climbing, and rolling around while playing.
The Patagonian Conure is the lone member of its genus, which has just one species total. It has a subspecies that is 53 centimeters (20 inches) long from its forehead to the tip of its tail, making it the biggest member of the conure family. Patagonians may be divided into three categories: the Lesser, the Greater, and the Andean. The size difference, the amount of yellow and red on their abdomens, and the amount of white on their upper breasts are the distinguishing characteristics between them.
The Patagonian is characterized by its overall dark olive-green coloring with yellow accents on the head and the sides of the wings. A dark grey coloration may be seen on the breast, with some dark blue accents. The upper breast has a white streak that begins at the shoulders and reaches like a necklace towards the center of the breast. The Greater Patagonian has the necklace that is the most fully developed, but the Andean just has a little portion of it around the shoulders. The orange-red color may be seen in the middle of the belly and the inner thighs and the yellow color can be seen encircling this red area. The Andean kind contains either very little or none of the yellow pigment, and the red is relatively muted. The major flights and coverts both have a navy blue coloration. In the mature bird, the irises are almost completely white, and the beak is black. The irises of young birds are gray, and their top beaks are white. The region that surrounds the eye is completely white and naked. Only the Patagonian conure has feathers covering both of its nostrils, making it unique among conures.
It is possible to come across them in Northern and Central Argentina, as well as in select regions of Central Chile. The construction of buildings in their habitats (most notably the recent construction of a dam, which flooded a key nesting location), the killing of the birds by farmers who see them as a nuisance, and the theft of eggs from nests have all contributed to a decrease in their population (chicks are known to be a delicacy). Patagonian Conures have been dubbed the “cliff dwelling parrot” and the “burrowing parrot” due to the fact that they choose nesting places high up on barren cliffs and raise their young in deep tunnels inside those nesting sites.
Patagonians have a long history of being unfairly stereotyped as being infected with the Pacheco virus. The development of a vaccination that can protect against it as well as evidence that the outbreaks in recent years have been caused by other types of birds than conures have contributed to this beauty’s surge in popularity. Their energetic personalities, in addition to their manageable size, make them particularly appealing to keep as pets. Patagonians have a reputation for being loud, but most people are willing to overlook this trait since they are also excellent communicators.
It was believed for a long time that breeding them would be incredibly difficult, but in recent years there has been a lot of success with breeding them. It is possible to breed Patagonians in a colony if there is sufficient room for them to do so. It is nonetheless advised that they be bred in separate cages so that there is no risk of them fighting with one another. They should be presented with a deep box in the style of a grandfather clock that is either hung at an angle or placed on its side. They typically lay anywhere from two to four eggs, and the incubation period for those eggs is between twenty-four and twenty-six days. Typically, weaning occurs when a baby is around 10 weeks old. Due to the length of time that elapses between the laying of eggs and the maturation of the chicks, it is uncommon for the parents to produce a second clutch when the chicks are allowed to remain with them.
Pets who are nurtured from a young age by their owners tend to be highly affectionate and seldom aggressive. After they have been feathered, it is important to keep the babies apart while you are hand feeding them. The infants’ rough and tumble play may cause harm to themselves and each other. I have seen one of them being pinned on its back while the other is engaged in combat. They have so much fun when they play together that it would be a pity to keep them apart, hence it is essential that their playtime be monitored. Tame Patagonians seem to have a strong preference for toys and are willing to play with almost anything that can be grasped, thrown, or rubbed against. The majority of Patagonians are not particularly awful at eating, but since they are quite skilled at disassembling items, they may become escape artists.
- Lesser Patagonian Conure (Cyanoliseus Patagonus)
Description: general plumage brownish olive-green; head and throat slightly more tinged with green and yellow highlights; white marking to sides of upper breast, absent in some birds; dull orange-red center of the abdomen and lower thighs; lower back, upper tail-coverts, sides of the abdomen, under tail-coverts, and upper thigh area bright yellow with a light scattering of olive; bend of wing and wing-coverts olive; primary-coverts and outer webs of primaries
Length: Immatures have duller plumage and a horn-colored upper jaw; the iris is brown; adult plumage is achieved after 12 months.
45 cm (18 in) length, wing length 232 – 252 mm (9 – 10 in)
Distribution: Breeds in Cordoba and Chubut, north to southern Neuguin and southern Buenos Aires, Argentina; southern population migrates north to Mendoza, Entre Rios, and Uruguay in winter.
- Andean Patagonian Conure (Cyanoliseus Patagonus Andinus)
Description: similar to Patagonus, but with slightly darker overall plumage; throat dark brown; upper breast in most birds without white marking; sides of the abdomen, under tail-coverts, and upper thigh area olive, tinged with yellow in some birds; red abdomen patch washed with dark olive; lower back dirty olive-yellow.
Length: 45 cm (18 in) length, 238 – 242 mm wing length (9 – 9.5 in)
Distribution: Mountains of northeast Argentina, Salta, Catamarca, Tucum n, San Luis, and La Rioja provinces.
- Greater Patagonian Conure (Cyanoliseus Patagonus Byroni)
Description: similar to patagonus, but much bigger; white patches to upper breast always present, and in half of the birds across the breast to form a white band; brilliant yellow to sides of the abdomen, under tail-coverts, and upper thigh region without olive tint; abdomen patch orange-red.
Length: Wing length: 249-270 mm, length: 48 cm (19 in) (10 – 11 in)
Distribution: coastal region in central Chile between Atacama and Colchagua; historically from Aconagua to Valdivia.
All sorts of open territory; favors arid areas with thorn shrub and cactus along with water courses to 2,000 m (6,700 ft); often seen on agricultural land.
Patagonus is common, but there has been a significant population decline in some areas due to trapping for trade and persecution as a pest; andean patagonian is common in some areas; greater patagonian is very endangered, with a population estimated at 4,000 birds in 12 breeding colonies; main cause trapping and nest-robbing by local people.
Outside of the mating season, congregations of over 1,000 birds have been recorded; pairs are plainly visible within flocks. Conspicuous due to very loud shrieking; energetic; agile climber on bushes’ branches; not timid and approachable; if disturbed, the whole flock flies off screeching loudly; When feeding on the ground, one bird keeps watch and notifies the rest of the flock if required. The plumage offers great ground camouflage. Visits water courses early in the morning to drink; then forages for food; rests during the hot midday hours; starts foraging in the afternoon; then flies to roosting locations at a great height and in a long-drawn, irregular formation; roosts at night in tall trees or holes in sandstone cliffs, and on telephone wires near cities on occasion; spotted flying right inside sleeping burrows with wings folded; also reported flying at night seasonal migrations; migrates north in cold weather to a warmer environment; Regular, straight flight with loud screaming; low level over short distances at between 2 m (6 ft) and 10 m (33 ft) above ground; call boisterous croaking or harsh screech.
Natural food consists of seeds (thistle and wild squash), berries, nuts, fruits, and vegetative debris; flocks feed in grain and corn fields on a regular basis.
Breeding behavior: Patagonus and Andinus breed in December or January; Byroni breeds in September; nests very high in sandstone or limestone cliffs with a good view over a lake or river at the base of the cliff; excavates burrow 8 cm (3 in) to 18 cm (7 in) wide and up to 3 m (10 ft) long; terminates in nest chamber approx. 40 cm (16 in) deep and 15 cm (6 in) high; breeds in colonies; nest burrows (1.43 x 1.16 in).
A cautious parrot that is frequently very noisy; newly imported bird shy; does not become as confiding to the keeper as other neotropical parrots; enjoys bathing; occasionally hard chewer, but often does not chew at all; provides rotten tree stump for chewing; can be kept in a spacious communal aviary with Monk Parakeet (Myiopsitta monachus), Slender-billed Conure (Enicognathus leptorhy Breeding couples, on the other hand, might be antagonistic to other birds in the aviary during the breeding season. Very sluggish to adjust to new circumstances; sometimes takes a long time to transition from outside flight to inside aviary; prefers to stay on the ground.
Flight 4 x 1.5 x 2 m (12 x 4.5 x 6 foot) with adjoining shelter; big community aviary also available; allow 2 square meters (22 square feet) each pair; may be kept in outdoor flight all year.
Seed mix of safflower, hemp, wheat, oats, canary grass seed, rowanberries, sunflower, and various millets; soaked pigeon food in summer; softened maize and soya bean; fruit and vegetables (half-ripe maize, rose-hips, elderberries); green food (chickweed, dandelion, etc.); regular vitamin and mineral supplements; white bread, biscuit and egg food for rearing; tendency to biased diet; often very conservative in feeding habits.
Breeding in aviculture
Breeding in aviculture: often achieved, also in colony system; however, breeding in pairs is more successful; breeds primarily from March to May; clutch 2 to 5 eggs; usually 3 to 4 eggs; incubation time 23 to 24 days; fledging period 8 weeks; not all hatchlings reared; occasionally sensitive to nest box inspection; pairs frequently take years to breed; nest box 35 x 35 x 60 cm (14 x 14 x 24 in).
History of the name
Patagonian Arara, anyone? Have you heard of this name? It won’t come up in any search engines, but this was the name given to the Patagonian conure before they were classified as part of the conure family.
The Patagonian conure was not always recognized as such. This parrot was formerly known as the Patagonian Arara. They were really classified as a small macaw that was supposed to be related to the macaw. The term “Arara” is translated as “Macaw” in South American Spanish (Argentina’s accent).
They were not classified as conures until the early 1900s. That is when they evolved into the bird we know today.