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Patagonian Conure

Cyanoliseus patagonus

  1. Not Evaluated
  2. Data Deficient
  3. Least Concern
  4. Near Threatened
  5. Vulnerable
  6. Endangered
  7. Critically Endangered
  8. Extinct in the Wild
  9. Extinct

About Us

Experience Woburn Safari Park’s free flying bird demonstration, see these magnificent parrots soaring and swooping in the Birds in Action Amphitheatre. Learn about these intelligent birds, how they adapt and survive in the wild.

Distribution
Central Argentina and Chile
Habitat
Grassland, savannah, wooded valleys with cliffs and farmland
Height
Length 45cm
Lifespan
20 -30 years
Threats
Hunted for food, habitat loss and competition for food from other species.

Social structure

These are sociable birds, forming large flocks; sometimes in excess of 1,000 birds, with communal roosts in tress, on wires (sometimes in towns) and in tunnels excavated for nesting during breeding season. These flocks can travel large distances, sometimes hundreds of kilometres away from the breeding grounds, gathering together often feeding on or near the ground.

Diet

Patagonian Conure natural diet comprises of nuts, seeds, berries and fruit during the summer month. Sometimes these birds have been known to damage grain crops as they often feed on or near the ground. They have the ability to manipulate food items, moving them with their feet, testing them with their dry tongues, and tossing food around in their beaks. 

Physical features

Both female and male adults have an olive/brown head, neck, back and breast; yellow lower back to tail and upper abdomen; orange/red thighs and centre of abdomen; grey/brown throat and breast; white marks at bend of wing on breast; tail is olive/green tinted with blue and the under tail is brown/grey. Their eye ring is white in colour. The bill (beak) is dark greyish-black. To determine the gender of adult birds, a blood test or DNA test could be taken if you wanted to be certain.

Breeding behaviour

Breeding activity can vary depending on the region, climate and food availability. Breeding pairs gather in burrows excavated in cliffs (usually limestone or sandstone in Chile). In San Luis, Argentina, breeding has been reported during the wet season (November-April), with birds returning to the nesting cliffs in September. Egg-laying occurs in November-December, 2-5 eggs will be laid, where they are incubated by the female for around 24 days while the male provides food. Fledging takes place after around 60 days, after which time the young can leave the nest, but are believed to still rely on their parents for food for a further four months. 

Communication

Patagonian Conures are extremely active and loud birds, communicating with noisy screeching, squawks and constant shrieking.

Threats and conservation

Today the Patagonian Conure is listed on CITES lists them in their Appendix II, meaning these Conures are not currently threatened with extinction.

Parrots at risk in the wild face a wide range of pressures. The main sources of threat are they are hunted for food, habitat loss and introduced species to their region mean problems through predation and competition for food. The conversion of grasslands to croplands has led to these birds being persecuted as crop pests. Collection of birds for the live pet trade has been a major threat for many species of parrots. These birds high level of intelligence, potential for tameness, bright plumage and the ability to mimic human voices, have led to the parrot’s popularity as cage birds.

Overall, the global population size has not been quantified, but the species is still common in many parts of its range in Argentina. That said with the threats that these birds face at present, the overall population trend is decreasing. 

Fun facts

Patagonian Conures prefer to nest inside cliffs. Their nests are made of tunnels that are deeply rooted into the rocks. That's why this Conure has been named the Cliff-Dwelling or the Burrowing Parrot.

There are four subspecies of Patagonian Conures:

  • C. p. patagonus
  • C. p. andinus
  • C. p. conlara
  • C. p. bloxami