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Green-Cheek Conure Care Sheet

Pyrrhura mollinae
Developed with and approved by qualified veterinarians

Typical green-cheek conure appearance and behavior 

  • Green-cheek conures are highly inquisitive, bold, comical and engaging birds
  • Extremely active, they need room for jumping and climbing
  • They can be taught to perform tricks and to dance
  • Not known to be avid talkers, they can be taught to speak a few words with practice
  • Like other conures, they can be playful and affectionate and bond closely with their caretakers
  • Their voices are softer than many other conures, but like other conures, they can sometimes be squawky
  • They are social birds who enjoy human interaction
  • They like to chew and require a lot of toys to chew up and destroy
  • Males and females look identical and can only be distinguished by blood testing

Green-cheek conure characteristics

Care Difficulty Moderate
Average Life Span 20+ years with proper care
Average Adult Size 10” long, from head to end of tail
Diet Herbivorous
Minimum Habitat Size 24” long x 24” wide x 30” tall

Habitat 

Habitat size

Provide the largest habitat possible for your bird. The minimum habitat size for one green-cheek conure is approximately 24" W x 24" D x 30" H, with metal bars spaced no more than 3/4" apart. Commercially available habitats are generally made with stainless steel bars (either with or without nontoxic coating); homemade habitats and those made of wood or galvanized wire are not recommended because wood cannot be disinfected properly, and birds can chew on their habitats and ingest potentially toxic chemicals.

Building your habitat

Green-cheek conures acclimate well to average household temperatures between 65°F and 80°F; be cautious of extreme temperature changes. Habitats should be placed off the floor in well-lit areas, away from drafts and inaccessible to other curious pets, such as cats and dogs. Conures are very social, so habitats should be placed in an area with lots of household activity. Ensure no habitat parts or toys contain lead, zinc, other potentially toxic heavy metals, lead-based paints or galvanized parts, as these can cause serious medical issues if birds ingest them.

  • Perches: Perches should be at least 9" long and 1/2" in diameter; provide a variety of perch sizes so your conure can exercise their feet and help prevent pressure sores from developing on their soles. Use perches made from different materials, such as wood, braided rope and natural branches, to give your bird their choice of surfaces to stand on. 
    • Sandpaper covers on perches are abrasive to the bottom of feet and are not recommended. 
    • To avoid contaminating food dishes with droppings, do not place food or water containers directly under perches
  • Toys: Conures are very intelligent birds; foraging toys are important for enrichment and mental stimulation
    • Toys should have a variety of colors, shapes and textures to entice birds to interact with them
    • Ensure toys are securely attached to the habitat because birds can unscrew the C-clamps that are typically used to hang toys and become injured. Toys also should not have small parts that birds can easily pull off and ingest; toys made from paper, cardboard or hard plastic that your conure can’t chew up are safest
    • Without toys and attention, birds can get bored, pick their feathers, scream or develop other destructive behaviors, so be sure to rotate their toys regularly to prevent boredom
  • Liner and litter: A metal grate over the habitat bottom will allow droppings to fall away from birds’ feet and keep the habitat cleaner; the tray in the habitat bottom should be lined with habitat paper or other paper-based substrate to ease cleanup and minimize dust
  • Ultraviolet (UV) light: Birds need exposure to UV light to make vitamin D in their skin, which enables them to absorb dietary calcium. UV light is filtered out by glass in windows, so placing the habitat next to a window is not sufficient; UV lights designed specifically for birds should shine on the habitat 10–12 hours a day and be changed every six months when their potency wanes
  • Bathing: Water dishes should be large enough for birds to bathe in. Birds who don’t bathe regularly can be misted gently a few times a week with warm water from a plant mister to maintain healthy plumage.

Cleaning your green-cheek conure’s habitat 

Spot clean the habitat daily, removing discarded food and droppings from perches. Thoroughly wash and dry food bowls daily. Replace substrate or habitat liner at least once a week or more often as needed, especially if the habitat houses more than one bird. Regularly clean and disinfect your pet’s habitat and perches by:

  • Moving your conure into a secure place (such as another habitat or travel carrier) in a separate air space
  • Washing the habitat, perches and toys with a bird habitat cleaner or 3% bleach solution, ensuring all trace amounts of habitat cleaner or bleach are washed off so there is no residue to which your bird could be exposed
    • Do not use any cleaning agents around your bird; birds’ respiratory tracts are very sensitive to anything aerosolized, and cleaning products’ fumes can be harmful
  • Thoroughly drying the habitat and its contents
  • Replacing substrate or liner, perches and toys
  • Returning your conure to their habitat

Replace perches, dishes, and toys when worn or damaged; rotate new toys into the habitat regularly.

What Do Green-Cheek Conures Eat

A well-balanced green-cheek conure diet consists of:

  • Nutritionally complete and balanced pelleted food specially formulated for conures, which should make up 60 to 70% of your conure’s diet, plus smaller amounts of fresh vegetables, fruits and fortified seeds as an occasional treat
  • Clean, fresh water, changed daily
  • Do not feed birds avocados, fruit seeds, chocolate, caffeine or alcohol, which are toxic to birds and can cause illness or death if consumed, and avoid salty, sugary and fatty treats

Things to remember when feeding your green-cheek conure:

  • Fresh food and water should always be available
  • Vegetables and fruits not eaten within a few hours should be discarded
  • Treats should not exceed 10% of total food intake
  • Provide separate food dishes for dry food, fresh food and water; if more than one conure is housed in a single habitat, provide multiple feeding stations to reduce competition
  • Although birds are social and like to eat when their flock mates eat, never share food from your plate or your mouth; people have microorganisms in their mouths that can cause illness in birds
  • Since conures remove the hulls from seeds before eating them, they do not need to be offered grit to grind up food

Green-cheek conure care

  • Bird pet parents should avoid using nonstick cookware and other appliances with nonstick coating; when heated, these items can release colorless, odorless fumes that typically kill birds when inhaled.
  • Birds should be socialized daily by pet parents; they need daily time out of their habitat to exercise and get comfortable with their pet parents and families. When out of their habitat, conures must be supervised at all times so they don’t injure themselves or get into anything inappropriate
  • Birds need regular grooming, including nail trimming every few weeks to months; nails should be trimmed by a trained person to prevent injury to the bird
  • Beaks should not need regular trimming in most birds, unless they have an underlying condition (such as liver disease) that can cause abnormal beak growth; birds’ beaks normally maintain in good condition with daily use
  • Clipping the outermost five flight feathers, when done correctly, can help prevent injury or escape; consult an avian veterinarian on what is best for your bird

Where to buy a green-cheek conure

Petco sells green-cheek conures in select stores. Call your local location ahead of time to ensure availability.

Habitat mates 

Green-cheek conures can be kept alone to bond with pet parents or in pairs to bond with each other. Different types of birds should not be housed together.

Health 

Signs of a healthy green-cheek conure

  • Active, alert and sociable
  • Eats, drinks and passes droppings throughout the day
  • Dry nares and bright, dry eyes
  • Supple skin on legs and feet and smooth beak
  • Clean, dry vent
  • Smooth, well-groomed feathers

Red flags (contact your veterinarian if you notice these signs)

  • Fluffed, plucked or soiled feathers
  • Sitting on the habitat floor for an extended period of time
  • Wheezing, sneezing or coughing
  • Open-mouth or labored breathing and/or tail bobbing
  • Regurgitation or vomiting
  • Runny, bloody or discolored stools
  • Straining to pass droppings
  • Favoring one foot when not sleeping
  • Ocular or nasal discharge
  • Red or swollen eyes
  • Crusty skin around face and feet
  • Persistently closed eyes or sleeping during the day
  • Loss of appetite

 

Common green-cheek conure health issues

Health Issue Symptoms or Causes Suggested Action
Health Issue Chlamydiosis (psittacosis or parrot fever) Symptoms or Causes Appetite loss, fluffed feathers, nasal discharge, lime green feces, swollen abdomen, respiratory difficulty, conjunctivitis Suggested Action Seek immediate avian veterinary attention
Health Issue Diarrhea Symptoms or Causes Fecal portion of stool (versus solid white urine portion or clear liquid urine) not formed. Multiple causes, from change in diet to bacterial or viral infection to internal parasites. Suggested Action Consult your veterinarian and ensure proper diet
Health Issue Feather plucking Symptoms or Causes Bird plucks own feathers; may be due to boredom, stress, poor diet or other underlying illness Suggested Action Consult your veterinarian and relieve boredom with attention, new toys or more stimulation
Health Issue Polyoma virus Symptoms or Causes Anorexia, lethargy, weight loss, bruised areas of skin, sudden death Suggested Action Seek immediate avian veterinary attention

FAQs 

  • How long do green-cheeked conures live? They can live 20+ years with proper care and nutrition.
  • Where can I buy a green-cheeked conure? Petco sells green-cheeked conures in select stores. Call your local location ahead of time to ensure availability.
  • What do green-cheeked conures eat? Conures should have a base diet of at least 60–70% commercially available, nutritionally complete pellets, with smaller amounts of fresh vegetables, fruits and fortified seeds as an occasional treat.
  • What fruits can green-cheeked conures eat? Conures can eat most fruits but should not be offered fruit seeds or pits. They should never be fed avocados, which are toxic to birds.
  • How do I train a green-cheeked conure? By speaking softly to and gently handling your conure daily, as well as rewarding them with their favorite foods and treats for stepping on to your hand, you can socialize your conure and create a bond over time.
  • How do I train a green-cheeked conure not to bite? You can train your conure not to bite by putting them down if you are handling them when they bite you; don’t reprimand them. While it can be tempting to scold your bird for biting, all they understand is that you are giving them attention for performing the behavior of biting. Instead, ignore the biting by putting your bird down and walking away to teach them that biting doesn’t accomplish anything. Over time, the biting behavior should decrease if the bird doesn’t get anything (like attention) from you when they bite.
  • How do I potty train a green-cheeked conure? While some people want to potty train their birds to poop on command over the toilet or elsewhere, most veterinarians do not recommend this; birds who do this will hold in their droppings for long periods until their pet parents come to give them permission to go. This can lead to potentially serious health issues in birds.
  • How can I tell gender of a green-cheeked conure? Male and female green-cheeked conures look the same and must be distinguished with a DNA-based blood test performed by a veterinarian.
  • How do I bond with a green-cheeked conure? You can bond with your green-cheeked conure by spending time them daily, allowing them out of their habitat, talking to them and getting them used to being handled gently.

Additional care sheets

Notes and resources

Ask a Pet Care Center associate about Petco's selection of products available for the care and happiness of your new pet. All private brand products carry a 100% money-back guarantee.

Because all birds are potential carriers of infectious diseases, such as chlamydiosis (also called psittacosis or parrot fever), always wash your hands before and after handling your bird or habitat contents to help prevent the potential spread of disease.

Pregnant women, children under the age of 5, senior citizens and people with weakened immune systems should contact their physicians before purchasing or caring for birds and should consider having a pet other than a bird.

Go to cdc.gov/healthypets for more information about green-cheeked conures and disease.

This care sheet can cover the care needs of other similar species.

Note: The information in this care sheet is not a substitute for veterinary care. If you need additional information, please contact your veterinarian.