(Pyrrhura perlata perlata)


Like most birds of its kind, the Crimson-bellied Conure lives in the equatorial jungle of Northern Brazil, south of the Amazon.

These birds are difficult to detect in their natural habitat and are rarely seen, as they tend to stand still and hide in the foliage at the slightest noise. Their ability to remain completely silent and to blend in with the environment allows them to escape from predators and birdwatchers alike. In 1916, a few, very quiet birders managed to spot a small group of 4 to 6 individuals. In 1970, more bird lovers were lucky enough to see a few Crimson-bellied Conures eating fruit and flowers in the canopy.

The Crimson-bellied Conure is about 24 cm long and weighs between 75 and 85 g. The bright crimson-red lower breast and abdomen in adults of both sexes are of course the most outstanding features of this conure. It has greenish cheeks with a little bit of blue, and sports a bluish collar on its nape. Its tail is reddish-brown with a green base and blue tips. It has a grey-brown bill and dark brown eyes.

With its bright red belly, the Crimson-bellied Conure is likely the most spectacular member of the Pyrrhura family. Otherwise, it is similar to other representatives of that family as it is a small vivacious parrot, playful and active. Despite its small size, it needs a lot of exercise, and a large cage is essential to its well-being. Its swift and graceful flight is amazingly agile.

A Crimson-bellied Conure that has been handfed is easily approachable, and is not overly noisy or destructive. If you’re lucky enough to hear it, you’ll find its voice rather pleasing. These birds call out or vocalize when excited or suddenly disturbed. Like all psittacines, they enjoy gnawing and chewing wood. As their bill is small, they inflict little damage to furniture and window or door frames; that said, it’s easy to avoid damage by supervising the bird’s outings and by providing enough branches and twigs in the cage to satisfy its chewing needs.

Any tame Crimson-bellied Conure will love to take part in your family life. It will share your meals by tasting the foods on your plate that are appropriate for parrots (see chapter on food); it enjoys moments of supervised freedom out of the cage: if its wings are trimmed, bring your conure to the different rooms by carrying it on your hand, or put it down in its playpen; if its wings are intact, make sure that doors and windows are shut and stay so throughout the free-flight session.

Crimson-bellied Conures are sensitive to the atmosphere of the household and can become nervous if their surroundings are noisy, if they are disturbed too often, or if their resting, playing and feeding needs are not satisfied: a nervous bird tends to nip the hand or finger that gets too close. Before letting it out of the cage, make sure that your conure is ready to come out by talking to it and watching its attitude: pupils pinning, wings spread slightly and a forward-moving bill are all signs that your bird does not wish to come out. Just wait a few minutes before renewing your invitation; a bird rarely resists coming out of its cage very long.

Crimson-bellied Conures love to play; these active birds are always busy destroying a toy or a perch; they swing vigorously, and can hang by a toe from the ceiling of their cage. They rarely sit still; everything amuses these birds that love to interact with family members but will not resort to screams when left alone. Because this small parrot is curious and fearless, one must keep an eye on it to avoid accidents such as the bird landing on a hot stove burner, falling in a boiling pot or a toilet bowl, smashing its head against a window pane, and being bitten or scratched while pestering the cat or the dog…When spent, the Crimson-bellied Conure likes to retire in the cosy tent it sleeps in at night (see Organizing the cages).