The Sun Conure is a petite parrot species found in just one small region in the northeastern part of South America in Guyana and Brazil. In the wild, the Sun Conure is considered to be endangered. In captivity, however, the captive-bred Sun Conure is quite popular in the pet parrot trade.
Biologists still don’t know much about breeding patterns of the wild Sun Conures because they are hard to locate and observe. However, it is thought that this species mates for life, as is common for parrots.
Sun Conures are endangered in the wild for two key reasons: disappearing forest habitat and heavy illegal trapping and trafficking for the pet trade.
For this reason, it is so important to make your purchase decision not on the bird’s price alone, but also to take the time to verify that you are not purchasing a wild-caught bird and thus, further depleting the wild population.
Average Cost of a Sun Conure
The best and the safest approach for acquiring a Sun Conure is to work with a reputable breeder / aviary rather than purchasing it through a pet store. The primary reason is to ensure you can see the aviary first-hand and verify you are in fact purchasing a captive-bred pet born and raised in clean, safe, and healthy conditions.
Here, be aware that it is not necessarily more expensive to make your purchase through a breeder. Small boutique Sun Conure breeders do not need to bear the enormous overhead of operating a multi-species pet store which can mean the price you are charged may actually be lower and may also include valuable freebies a pet store would not be willing or able to give you.
For example, T&D Aviary has Sun Conure babies available for $400. This price includes DNA sexing (male and female look the same so testing is the only way to accurately determine gender, short of waiting to see if your new pet lays an egg).
The price also includes the breeder’s time to hand-socialize your new pet to enjoy your company and physical contact. This makes it much easier to tame and handle your parrot!
Wonderful Wings Aviary advertises starting prices for Sun Conures at $135 up to $250. Contrast this with the pricing of many local and online pet stores which can range from $300 to $799.
How is a Sun Conure Valued?
The process by which a Sun Conure is valued can vary depending on who is selling the bird, how they acquired it, and also what it looks like.
This is widely considered the most beautiful of all parrot species due to its intensely colored plumage. The more colorful the plumage, the higher the cost is likely to be.
A red factor Sun Conure – an extremely rare purebred coloration for this breed, can easily command prices of $900 or higher.
Sun Conure chicks grow relatively rapidly and are typically ready to go to their new homes between three and four months of age. Pricing for hand-raised, pre-socialized baby (juvenile) Sun Conures may be higher than for aviary-raised babies or grown adults that are poorly or not socialized.
An exception may be if the adult has unusual coloration which can raise demand, especially in breeder circles. Since the Sun Conure’s full adult plumage may not be apparent until 24 months of age, some adults may fetch a higher price than still-developing babies.
Be wary of extremely low Sun Conure parrot prices or advertisements for “low price” or “cheap”. These birds may be illegal, wild-caught or alternately, bird mill parrots bred in squalid aviary conditions that may carry parasites and poorly socialized for life as a companion parrot.
Why Adopt Instead?
Sun Conures may be beautiful and sociable but they are also intelligent, demanding, extremely loud for their size, and potentially destructive when bored or isolated. For this reason, they regularly wind up in rescue shelters – relinquished by owners who didn’t realize the work, time, and money involved to keep a companion parrot.
They can easily live 15 to 30 years which is another fact many owners do not realize when they make an impulse purchase to please their child or add some variety to their life.
For relinquished Sun Conures, the rescue shelter then has the financial and time burden to care for each bird until they are placed in a new (hopefully) forever home. For all of these valid reasons and others, the “adopt don’t shop” movement is gaining steam today not just for dogs and cats but also for many other companion animals; including parrots.
As a side benefit, many owners of rescue birds find that the cost of adoption is more affordable than purchasing a juvenile or adult bird outright. Also, many rescue organizations will gift the new owner with other valuable freebies (cage, food, toys, care sheets, et al) to help facilitate a forever match.
The price range to adopt this bird from a rescue organization can range from $100 to $500. However, some rescue organizations do not charge a fee.
Overall Living Expenses
The derogatory term “bird brain” has long since been debunked by trailblazing avian researchers such as Dr. Irene Pepperberg and her flock of African Grey parrots at the Alex Foundation.
Researchers now know the average parrot has the emotional intelligence of a two-year-old human child. So when you add a Sun Conure to your family, on some level, this means you are bringing a two-year-old into your home who will remain two years old for 15 to 30 years!
If you have spent any time with two-year-old human children, you know they need near-constant stimulation, interaction, and entertainment to remain healthy and happy. The same holds true for a Sun Conure.
Here, the size of the cage, a selection of varied and appropriately-sized perches, sanitary food and water holders, safe and enriching toys, and other factors can help ensure your parrot becomes a happy, cheerful family member and not a screaming pest.
Sometimes frustrated owners try to add a second bird to be a companion to the existing parrot, thinking this will ease their own workload, reduce noise, and calm the whole situation down. Sun Conure experts caution against taking this approach, especially if the bird in question is already strongly bonded to a human family member.
Also, it is likely that the noise level will only increase rather than decrease as the two birds call to one another all day long.
But by far the most critical element of success with keeping this kind of bird for a pet is the amount of face-time and interaction you are able to give it. Sun Conures not only bond closely with people, but often come to strongly prefer a single family member and crave that individual’s undivided attention.
It is also necessary to bird-proof the living space in the same way as you would to protect a human child.
Self-cleaning ovens and Teflon pans are deadly to birds and must never be used. Electrical outlets and power cords must be kept out of beak’s reach and toilet lids must always be kept closed.
Clipping a Sun Conure’s wings is not recommended, unless safety demands it. Rather, consider providing both a “home” cage and a much larger flight cage where your bird can fly for enrichment and exercise.
Here are other important enrichment and wellness expenses to provide.
Feeding – In a wild environment, Sun Conures eat fruits, berries, leaves, insects, larva and seeds. In captivity, a Sun Conure requires a similarly varied diet.
Conures can suffer from Vitamin A deficiency. Take your exotic veterinarian’s advice regarding additional supplementation of Vitamin A or other vitamins/minerals. Never start supplementing without your veterinarian’s guidance.
Sun Conures fed a seed-based blend will often pick out favorite seeds and leave the rest – causing dangerous dietary imbalance and obesity. For this reason, veterinarians recommend feeding a pelleted food which includes whole and complete nutrition in each pellet so birds can’t preferentially single out their favorites.
Supplementing with fresh fruits and vegetables that are seasonally available can round out a Sun Conure’s daily diet. You can just offer your parrot a bit of what you have in your refrigerator; making sure to mix up the rotation for dietary variety and daily enrichment.
A Sun Conure must always have access to clean, fresh drinking water.
Be aware though that Sun Conures, like many parrots, often enjoy bathing in their water dish. A safe and sanitary alternative is to use a small animal water bottle for drinking water and provide a separate larger water dish for bathing.
Like all parrot species, they do not require grit or gravel for digestive purposes. However, they will appreciate a calcium cuttle bone and/or mineral block to help keep the beak naturally trimmed.
- Cage: Up to $82
- Flight cage: Up to $110
- Pelleted food: $16 per 2-lb. bag
- Small animal water bottle: Up to $12
- Food bowl: Up to $9
- Water bowl (for bathing): Up to $19
- Calcium cuttle bone: Up to $9
- Mineral block: Up to $5
- Millet for treats: Up to $16 per 500g bag
Hygiene – It is best to leave your Sun Conure’s wings flighted (un-clipped) unless safety concerns absolutely prohibit this.
You will need to have your Sun Conure’s claws clipped every few months to avoid dangerous overgrowth. Alternately, you can ask your veterinarian to teach you how to do this task at home.
It is important to clean your parrot’s cage daily to remove food waste, soiled water and bedding, and dried poop. Failure to do so can lead to chronic health issues.
- Claw clippers: Up to $6
Equipment – Not all toys are safe for Sun Conures to play with. Particularly avoid “bird hammocks” as these birds are known to like to chew on them; extracting the threads that can then wind around legs, wings, and necks – causing serious injury and sometimes death.
Always observe your pet bird playing with any new toy until you are absolutely sure it is safe. Remember, the “toy” your parrot will always want and crave most is your attention and companionship.
- Bells: Up to $10
- Mirror: Up to $10
- Bird kabob: Up to $17
- Foraging toys: Up to $15
- Travel cage: Up to $77
- Perches: Up to $20 per perch
- Cage cover: Up to $21
- Cage skirt: Up to $11
- Cage bottom liners: Up to $41
Health – A general practice veterinarian is not the right medical professional to treat a Sun Conure. It needs to be treated by an avian veterinary specialist. A specialist has undergone additional training to learn about health issues specific to avian species.
It is important to establish a relationship right away with an avian veterinarian. You can start by scheduling a “well bird” initial exam as soon as your Sun Conure joins your family.
- Office visit: Up to $54
- Emergency walk-in exam: Up to $160
- DNA sexing: Up to $25
- Blood test: Up to $30
- Fecal gram stain: Up to $85
- X-ray: Up to $125
- Inpatient hospitalization (medical kenneling): Up to $25 per night
- Exotic avian pet insurance: Up to $20 per month
Sun Conures can be vulnerable to a variety of diseases including fungi/yeast, bacterial, viral and parasitic.
The Sun Conure, sometimes also called the sun parakeet, is a very colorful parrot species. The species name evokes the bird’s bright yellow, orange, and red body plumage which is so reminiscent of a particularly spectacular sunrise or sunset.
The wing colors can include green, blue, and yellow. But colorful plumage is not the only reason this is a popular pet choice for parrot lovers.
This parrot is extremely social and quite talkative as well as eye-catching in appearance. Its small size is also an advantage since even owners living in small spaces can typically find sufficient space to set up a suitably-sized cage.