What’s instantly clear to anyone starting to get into the parrot-owning scene is that there are a lot of names and species to remember.
This can get confusing quite quickly, and you can forget what is what and who is who.
Conures are a popular household pet—but are they actually parrots?
Yes, conures are parrots. The classification actually includes a large and diverse group of parrots under the conure umbrella. They are small to medium parrots, sporting length tail feathers, ranging in size from roughly ten to twenty inches. Overall, the group is quite loosely defined.
Conures are parrots, then, but they are not a single kind of parrot.
It’s a large group of parrots with similar characteristics, although the term conure generally is not used in scientific discourse.
It’s primarily used in bird keeping.
Let’s find out more.
Table of Contents
Is a conure a parrot or a parakeet?
Let’s start by attempting to clear up some possible confusion.
Different names are used for conures in different contexts, and this can make things more than a little confusing.
However, by any definition, conures are definitely parrots.
They belong to the subfamily Arinae, or neotropical parrots.
This comprises around 150 species.
The wider family, Psittacidae, comprises virtually all parrots.
So, conures are parrots.
However, the confusion comes in the use of the term ‘parakeet’.
In American birdkeeping, parakeets are a single species: what is otherwise known as budgies.
Conures are a wide group, and in birdkeeping are referred to as such.
This is primarily where we find the term conure, in birdkeeping.
However, in scientific journals, conures are generally not called conures, but instead, parakeets.
In this context, the term parakeet refers to all species that otherwise called conures.
Some ornithologists do use the term conure, albeit considerably more rarely.
Classifications in ornithology and indeed zoology in general are often not as clear cut as we might expect them to be.
Between scientists and laypeople there is very often a disconnect as certain terms come into popular usage which are not hugely useful in scientific discourse.
Conure is a great example of this.
In any case, conures are definitely parrots.
If you are just a casual birdkeeper, then you don’t need to worry too much about whether a term is more correctly used in science or not.
Birdkeepers, and indeed even ornithologists, will know what you mean when you say conure.
Let’s look more closely at this classification issue.
Are conures part of the parrot family?
Yes, conures are part of the parrot family.
Parrot families can be divided in a number of ways.
They make up, on the broadest scale, the order Psittaciformes, which comprises around 92 genera including almost 400 different species of parrot.
So, this is the largest possible definition of parrot, of which conures are certainly a constituent part.
Given that these definitions are scientific, and the term conure is not widely used in scientific journals, the classification of conures doesn’t always line up as you might expect it to.
They are a highly diverse group, though they mostly come under the long-tailed group of Arinae, or neotropical, small to medium sized New World parrots.
They were once part of a scientific genus called Conorus, which has since fallen out of use.
In any case, all species which we now call conure are still defined and classified as parrots and are part of the parrot family.
Now, let’s turn away from classification terminology and look to what they’re like as pets.
Are conure parrots good pets?
Yes, conures are fantastic pets!
They’re friendly, inquisitive, playful, and best of all they form deep connections with their humans.
They have an affectionate temperament and enjoy being played with, they tame fairly easily and are overall very engaged in their personalities.
If you’ve never owned a parrot before, it’s really important that you fully understand what you’re getting into.
Conures are good as first-time parrots, but you need to have lots of space and you need to be able to spend lots of time with them.
Parrots are great pets, and conures in particular, but they can be uniquely difficult to care for.
Further, conures and parrots in general tend to live for a very long time.
So, again, just be aware of that before you make a commitment.
If all of that sounds good to you, then conures make great pets.
Do conure parrots talk?
Conures aren’t really the biggest talkers.
They certainly possess the ability to talk, but they usually prefer to mimic other sounds, like beeping or whistling.
Conures can be trained to talk, but it can be a fairly arduous process, and difficult to get right without any experience.
Whether or not a certain species of parrot talks is largely down to their disposition.
If you want a parrot that will just talk of its own accord without the need for training or positive reinforcement, then you should reconsider the conure.
They’re great pets, but they aren’t the keenest talkers. You’d be better off with a different species.
Do conures bond with one person?
Conures are thought of as family birds, meaning that they generally bonded with a few people, if they are in a household with multiple people.
However, this can be different depending on which kind of conure you are talking about.
There’s some variation between species.
That said, on the whole, they’re usually capable of bonding with multiple people.
If your conure will only be living with you, then it will just bond with you.
However, you’ve also got to consider whether you’ll be able to spend enough time with your conure to stop it from getting bored or lonely.
Parrots of all kinds are highly social birds to varying degrees, and conures need a good deal of care and attention in order to remain happy.
There’s some debate about whether you should have more than one conure in order for them to be happy.
It’s certainly a tricky question, as it can be difficult to introduce conures to one another when they’ve already matured.
Ideally, you should consider getting a pair of conures and naturalizing them to one another from an early age.
This will ensure that they have constant companionship to keep themselves happy when you can’t be around.
Do conures remember faces?
Yes, conures certainly do remember faces.
Despite what you might have heard, birds actually have a pretty terrible sense of smell—they tend to identify things by sight.
This is really important for something that needs to be able to identify food sources from the air.
So, they have a pretty developed ability to recognize your most distinguishing feature: your face.
After only quite a short time, they will begin to know your face.
But that isn’t the only way they will recognize you.
They’ll also be able to tell you by your clothes once they get to know your wardrobe.
But the face is definitely a very important identifying feature.
They can remember multiple faces, too. As I said, they tend to bond to multiple people, so they’ll need to be able to remember multiple faces.
They will use the same cognitive apparatus to identify bonded members of their own species, too, both in the wild and as pets.
So, yes, your conure will certainly learn to remember your face.
How long do conures live?
It’s worth mentioning that, again, there are many diverse species of conure, and life expectancy can be quite different between different kinds of conure.
That said, they all live for a reasonably long time, as pets go.
This is one of the big things you need to consider when getting a conure.
They will be around for a very long time, and you need to be prepared to care for them throughout that time.
A well-cared for conure in captivity can live for over 30 years, although this is quite rare.
They generally live 20 to 30 years, and average around 25 years.
This is still a really long time for a pet to be around.
Even in the wild, a healthy conure can sometimes live for up to 30 years. they are really quite long lived animals.
Conures definitely are parrots, then, but there is a fair amount of room for confusion on this question.
They are part of the parrot subfamily, so there’s no doubt about their classification.
But the term conure is only rarely used in scientific discourse.
There, they are called parakeets—which can be confusing since, here in the US, parakeet is what we call budgerigars.
But in scientific journals, it is more of a generic term for many kinds of parrots.
In any case, conures are definitely parrots.