Birds of a feather: Variation in Sun Conure Parrot feather color

my Sun Conure has more orange tonesParrots are a very diverse species with so many colorful feather variations. You can even notice a variation in Sun Conure Parrot feather color. Many people have told me recently that my Sun Conure Goldie seems to have a more reddish tone to her feathers. She indeed has gotten more orange in the last several years. When she was a bit younger Goldie displayed more yellow feathers which seemed to start out as a greener feathers.

Upon observation of Sun Conures, you may notice that some have a very yellow look, some that have more green, and some that are like Goldie that have more orange in them. Sun conures do change colors somewhat especially when they are young and as they become an adult. When I first purchased Goldie at PetCo in 2003 she was listed as being a Gold-capped Conure. This however of course is not correct as Gold-capped Conures are mostly green with a reddish area on the head and can be slightly bigger than Sun Conures.

This brings us to the interesting and beautiful Red Factor Sun Conure. The Red Factor Sun Conure which may originate from Hawaii and Florida has a distinctly red tone. Aubrie’s Animals has some pictures of the beautiful Red Factor Sun Conure. Goldie of course is no where near this beautiful color red however, but I do know that my Sun Conure was bred in Hawaii from her leg band.

Sun conures belong to the genus Aratingas of which the Jenday, Gold-Capped conure, and the Blue Crowned conure among others belong. Aratinga is Latin for ‘little macaw’. Howard Voren, in his article, The Gold-Capped, Jenday and Sun Conures, writes about Gold-capped Conures and Sun Conures being attracted to the most colorful mates and that perhaps Sun Conures decend from the Gold-capped Conure because of that attraction to bright colored feathers. It’s fascinating to think that at one time these three species of birds could have been one and have perhaps evolved to be such different colored birds with similar habits and features.

The evolution of these conures breeding seems to make sense, but not much is readily written about the suspected evolution. I do know that Goldie my conure is attracted to bright colors for instance. She really likes the color red- it’s her favorite color; and if she sees a reddish sweater or t-shirt, look out as she will walk, fly in order to get to it as quickly as possible. Remember the old saying, “Birds of a feather flock together”. Instead of only thinking only that birds flock together for safety in numbers, it is probable too that they like the brightly colored feathers of their mates as well.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

nurse anesthetist December 11, 2010 at 3:35 pm

Couldnt agree more with that, very attractive article


Tim & Tammy Bourbeau January 9, 2011 at 5:54 pm

Is it a law in Florida for a breeder to leg band a sun conure and if the bird is not leg banded is the bird breed illegally. I have read a lot but can’t find if it is the law. I have read why it is necessary. Please answer???????


Goldie's owner January 9, 2011 at 7:21 pm

Most birds in the US are banded by the time at around 3 weeks of age depending on the breed and size. Some breeders may choose not to band, it depends on the parrot. If they do not band then they should offer a hatch certificate however.

I have heard of many parrots domestic that do not have bands. Usually this is not a problem unless you need to travel to another state or out of the country. What you would need to do is go to an avian vet and get a health certificate, and maybe they can put on an open band on the parrot.

The whole purpose of banding is to guarantee that the bird is not wild caught. Domestically breed birds should have bands. This means that they were probably taken from their mother and hand raised, banded etc. If you have a bird that has no band hopefully you have a receipt or something to show that you bought it here. Breeders that want to ship birds to other states usually also put on bands. Some hobby breeders do not however put bands on. Some birds get them taken off because of injury also.

If a bird is breed in Florida and has no band it does not necessary mean it has been breed illegally. It may be best for you to talk to an avian certified vet in your area however for more information as I am not familiar with your local laws. There may be local zoning laws, homeowner association regulations also depending on the birds and number of birds in question.

I have a parrotlet that has no leg band. She is domestic of course and it will not be a problem unless I intend to travel out of state with her and even then there are options. Usually but not always parrots that do not have bands were parent raised. For instance my parrotlet was parent raised as opposed to Goldie who is banded and was hand raised. Hand raised parrots make better pets as they have been socialized by people.

So I don’t know if you currently own this sun conure or are thinking of buying it. If you are going to buy it try to make sure that it is hand raised and get a written verification and also get in writing that you have the chance to take the parrot to the vet to get it checked and if it doesn’t come out ok then you can return it. I generally would not recommend purchasing an unbanded parrot only because chances are that it is not socialized. My parrotlet however has warmed up to me and although she not ever going to be as social as Goldie, she is a wonderful pet.

I believe that most professional breeders do band for the most part. This way they can keep records to make sure they don’t inbreed and to help prevent health problems. It is also a great way to track down a lost bird.

Here is a link discussing limitations on importing by state.


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