Pineapple Conure

Pineapple conures are a coloured variation of green-cheek conures.

But the term ‘conure’ is rather loose as it refers to a highly diverse group of medium-sized parrots which are native to the western hemisphere i.e. Central and South America.

Most conures have green plumage with varied coloured patches. But not all conures are ‘green’ and not all of them have ‘coloured patches’. 

Also, not all American parrots are conures either.

Now, all this may sound extremely confusing but it still indicates that:

Pineapple conures are neither edible fruits nor exclusive pineapple-eating birds. 

But if we are to discuss everything about pineapple conures, we must understand:

What is a Pineapple Conure?

Pineapple conures are bright-coloured South American parrots that were born through selective breeding of cinnamon green-cheek conures and opaline or yellow-sided green-cheek conures (See figure 1). 

Figure 1: Representing Pineapple Conures as a product of selective breeding among Cinnamon and Opaline Green-Cheek Conures.

An adult pineapple conure weighs about 60-80g and can grow as large as 10-12 inches in length, with a wingspan of 5-6 inches wide. 

While male pineapple conures have slightly longer tails compared to their female counterparts, there is no precise way to distinguish between the two except for DNA tests

But that still doesn’t explain:

Why are Pineapple Conures called ‘Pineapple’ Conures?

Probably, because they embody all the colours of pineapple fruit.

You see, pineapple conures have yellow-base feathers and lime-green wings.

These accentuate their ruby-red eyes contrasting their tan heads with small ceres and pink to orange beaks. 

But the most distinctive feature of pineapple conures is their bright-red chest feathers against their graded maroon-yellow tail feathers which create a halo effect. 

Interestingly, pineapple conures are from the Bolivian and Brazilian forests.

Meanwhile, pineapples are also believed to have originated from Brazilian rainforests.

However, ornithologists remain unsure if the association was considered while naming these birds.

And so, it’s safe to assume only pineapple colours were heeded while coining the term ‘Pineapple Conures’. 

That said, most people aren’t confused about a pineapple conure’s connection with ‘pineapple’ but its relation to a green-cheek conure.

Pineapple Conure vs Green Cheek (What’s The Difference) 

Technically, they are the same birds but with different colours.

You see, both pineapple conures and green-cheek conures are scientifically recognized as Pyrrhura molinae.

And so, they can interbreed and produce ‘predominantly’ fertile offspring. 

However, pineapple conures are a sub-specie of green-cheek conures.

Or say, 

All pineapple conures are green-cheek conures but not all green-cheek conures are pineapple conures. 

Therefore, Pineapple Conures are often called ‘Pineapple Green-Cheeked Conures’.

Figure 2: Showing all the Coloured Sub-species of Green-Cheeked Conures (Pyrrhura molinae)

Now, green-cheeked conures are native Brazilian parrots with green plumage and sharp markings of red, blue and yellow colours on their necks, chests, back feathers and tails.

They also have distinct white rings around their necks.

Green cheek conures resemble pineapple conures in size but the latter exhibit brighter colours.

For instance, green-cheek conures have olive-green heads with grey beaks and distinctive green cheeks.

This contrasts pineapple conures with tan heads and bright beaks.

Apart from the colours, the two differ in the following features:

  1. Green-cheek conures are more common among captive birds compared to pineapple conures.
  2. Pineapple conures are observed to have relatively calm personalities compared to most green cheeks. 

Why Do Pineapple Conures Look So Different From Green Cheeks?

Because breeders specifically selected pineapple conures for those traits.

You see, pineapple conures are a coloured variant of green-cheek conures but they are produced by the intermingling of two other colour variants (yellow-sided and cinnamon). 

Pineapple conures were bound to be distinct from the parent species – green cheeks.

That said, ornithologists have found that pineapple conure colours are sex-linked. 

In aviculture, that means a female pineapple conure will produce only male pineapple conures but her female offspring will be pineapple conures only if her mate is also a pineapple conure. 

Now, this is exactly where biologists complicate matters through their scientific gibberish of how genes for pineapple conure colours are on their X-chromosomes. Since female birds are  XX, therefore, they will only exhibit pineapple colours if both their parents are coloured.

However, I am ‘different’ so I will not bore you by telling you that male birds are XY and a single coloured gene on the X chromosome can make a male green-cheek into a pineapple conure.

Apparently, colours don’t affect much of conure habits.

After all, Pineapple conures are just as likely to bite as any other green cheek. 

This leads me to my next point

Do Pineapple Conures Bite?

They do sometimes, but pineapple conures can be trained otherwise.

Now, all birds have a nasty habit of biting because it’s their way to explore new things.

This is precisely why conures are notorious for biting as they are always ready to learn new things.

But a properly tamed pineapple conure doesn’t bite at all.

So, if a pineapple conure regularly bites its owner, it may be because

  1. The bird is either too young or untamed.
  2. The owner hasn’t spent enough time to earn the conure’s trust.
  3. The bird is experiencing stress from loneliness or rehoming. 
  4. The conure is traumatized because the previous owner abused it. 

Sometimes, a pineapple conure bites its owner only because the owner over-reacts and distracts the bird with a bird treat or rebuke.

While screaming and giving food treats will encourage the bird for biting further, the punishment will traumatize it.

I must add that You tapping a bird’s beak to discipline it from biting is nothing but absolute and brutal abuse. After all, it was you who wanted a bird and not otherwise.   

The best way to deal with a biting bird is to gently put it back without reacting.

That said,

While a traumatized pineapple conure will bite you, a loyal one may do the same.

You see, the first human to earn a conure’s trust is something like its first love.

So, a pineapple conure missing its affectionate breeder will find the new unfamiliar human owner just a hassle.

Consequently, it may revolt through biting.

To be fair, breeders sometimes do relish this selfish thought of a ‘bird misbehaving out of loyalty’ because it’s hard to part with a hand-tamed loving bird, even if it’s a regular business.

In such a case, I suggest you stop competing with the previous owner. 

Instead, you should give the pineapple conure enough time and respect to trust you.

It will eventually come to you on its own and will gradually transition into a cuddly bird.

Besides, pineapple conures are naturally genial birds. 

Are Pineapple Conures Friendly?

They are super-friendly to not just humans but also their fellow parrots.

You see, pineapple conures are social birds that prefer living in a flock of 20 or more birds.

They play around, forage in groups, mischievously poke each other, sing along to different tunes, and frequently snuggle together.

But pineapple conures become strangely more athletic in human presence to grab their attention.

And so, they are often observed climbing cage bars, pacing in circles, swaying their feathers and even hanging upside down. 

Since pineapple conures are bright-coloured jolly birds that constantly seek human attention, therefore, they are often called “Clowns of the Parrot World”.

But if a Pineapple parakeet dotes on a Human, it gets extremely chummy.

Such a conure will frequently beak its ‘Hooman’, sit on his shoulder and try to feed him, and even run on his arms as if marking its territory. 

That sounds like a dream pet.

This brings us to:

Do Pineapple Conures Make Good Pets?

Pineapple Conures make excellent pets.

You see, pineapple conures are the least picky eaters for any exotic pet.

They are not only social but also extremely intelligent and loyal.

They constantly explore new activities and openly express their affection through cuddles.

They keep their owners entertained through mood swings and individual behaviours. 

More like pineapple conures’ tiny bodies host entire personalities.

Therefore, some pineapple conures prefer sitting on their humans while others get jealous of any other bird sharing their ‘Hooman’.

Meanwhile, some like the attention but are too proud to sway around for it so they wait for their person to pick them first.

So, raising pineapple conures is both an amusing and a fulfilling experience.

But that’s too ideal.

So, you may be wondering:

What’s the catch?

Well, pineapple conures can get easily bored so they need new activities all the time.

But you can manage that by spending quality time and providing them with new toys. 

However, if you aren’t home much then pineapple conure is probably not for you. 

Now, that also sounds reasonable enough.

So, What’s the real catch?

Probably, the costs.

Now, you may be wondering:

How Much Does a Pineapple Conure Cost?

About $400-750 per bird.

But the cost varies with different factors including 

Criteria Effects on Pineapple Conure Price
Age Young birds are untamed and difficult to maintain, therefore, they are cheaper compared to tamed adult birds.

But pineapple conures older than 7 years are often cheap as they are harder to tame and have already spent about half their life.

Size Anomaly in normal size reduces the price.
Colour Bright colours and unique markings increase the price.
Gender Females are generally more expensive compared to males, owing to their egg-laying capacity.
Breeder A well-reputed breeder will likely charge more. But a shelter may sell cheaper birds. 
Number of Birds Buying a pair from one breeder costs less than buying two birds from two different breeders.

If you are considering raising a pineapple conure then I recommend:

  1. Buy a pair instead of a solo bird as pineapple conures crave conure company. This will also keep them from biting, and depressive disorders and will ease them through the mating season.
  2. Verify the birds you are about to buy through DNA testing as it will reveal their genders as well as hereditary diseases.

Aside from buying the bird, you would also need regular cage maintenance, breeding essentials, new toys, new treats and above all your time. 

Even if you get a pair of Pineapple Conures for $800 then, the initial investment will be about $1150-1300 including the cage, toys, food supplies, DNA certification and nesting materials. 

But maintenance costs will be about $200-300 per year if you are an experienced birder.

Now, if you are a budgie-keeper who bought his first bird for like $10, this may sound way too expensive.

But to be fair, pineapple conure is a cheap bird for an exotic bird enthusiast.

So, rearing pineapple conures is about bird-keeping taste more than anything else. 

However, budgies are also supposedly exotic.

So, you may be wondering, what makes pineapple conures special? 

Let’s find out why

Are Pineapple Conures Rare?

Well, they are kinda rare. 

You see, conures have been poached for decades.

Meanwhile, their natural habitat i.e. Brazilian rainforests are reducing in size owing to deforestation and forest fires.

Consequently, the conure population has reduced from millions of birds to barely a few thousand parrots. 

In fact, most conure species have reached the edge of endangerment.

For instance, Golden or Queen of Bavaria Conures has barely 10,000 surviving individuals.

Though green-cheeked parakeets are not yet endangered, pineapple conures remain the rarest green-cheeked conures around the globe. 

This is precisely why a pineapple conure is twice the price of a green-cheek conure. 

But if you are considering getting a conure, you may be curious:

Can Pineapple Conures Talk?

Though they can mimic humans, their speech remains limited to a few words.

You see, pineapple conures are parrots that live in flocks.

Therefore, they too have a special portion of their brains reserved to mimic sounds and communicate with their flock members through ‘contact calls’

Related article – How do parrots talk without lips?

These contact calls are essential for parrots to find potential mates, new food resources and information about incoming predators.

Therefore, pineapple conures that spend a lot of time in the human company are extremely good at reciprocating several tunes and certain words. 

But they aren’t as good as African Grey Parrot or Rose-Ringed Parakeets. 

Besides, even if pineapple conures learn to say more than a few words, it seems they don’t understand what they are saying.

Related article – Do Parrots know what they are saying?

But if pineapple conures don’t talk, you may be interested in knowing:

Pineapple Conure Sounds – What Sounds Do They Make?

A Pineapple Conure has a deep, rough voice and it makes all those sounds that you expect from any other parrot. These include

Sound Details Remarks
Chatter Chirps. Standard parrot talk.
Clicking Sounds Tongue against the roof of their mouths. Indicates contentment.
Whistling Expressing Joy. Usually, encouraging their owners to cuddle.
Hissing When they meet unfamiliar people or new birds. Warning the intruder.
Screeching Anger
Shrieking Warning against predators like cats. If the bird also has feather bars and an unkempt appearance then see a vet ASAP.
Kissing Sounds Expressing affection for fellow birds and humans.
Beak Grinding Cracking sounds coming from rubbing the top and bottom of their beaks together.  Indicates comfort or sleepiness.
Laughter Typically, copying their human owner.  Birds showing affection for their owner.
Singing Happiness You can teach the bird some songs but they should have straightforward tunes.

Now, you would assume that singles would make better birders because they will have more time for their parrots.

But it’s the parents of young kids who ask the right questions when buying a bird.

I suppose it comes with the experience of raising human kids because parents know that a good toy is neither the prettiest thing nor the most expensive one. 

Instead, it’s the one with the minimum noise so it doesn’t become a headache later on.  

This brings us to

Are Pineapple Conures Loud?

No, they are usually calm and quiet.

In fact, even a playful pineapple conure tends to play mostly in silence.

But a pineapple conure can grow loud if

  1. It’s a solo parrot without any fellow birds.
  2. Their cage is not against the wall, so they feel scared or startled all the time.
  3. You have recently changed your place and rehoming is stressing your bird.
  4. Someone regularly talks loudly with your bird or worse shouts at them.
  5. You are not giving them your attention unless they scream.

So, depending on what’s causing your pineapple conure to become loud, you can remedy the situation. 

What Do Pineapple Conures Eat?

Everything that is safe for any other parrot. 

On average, a pineapple conure diet should be about 40% fresh food, with the pellets, seeds and treats making the rest of 60% (See figure 4).

Figure 4: Pie Chart representing balanced diet composition for pineapple conures.

Pineapple Conures can eat the following foods:

  1. Vegetables like spinach, kale, cucumber, carrots, broccoli, peas, boiled potatoes, cooked beans etc.
  2. Fruits including papaya, figs, melons, grapes, bananas, apples and pineapples etc.
  3. Nuts such as almonds, walnuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios, brazil nuts.
  4. Seeds especially sunflower seeds, niger, millet and safflower.
  5. Grains like oats, wheat, corn, barley, and brown rice.
  6. Pellets and prescribed supplements.
  7. Occasional Treats of boiled eggs, mealworms and salmon.

But you must avoid the following foods:

  1. Avocado
  2. Coffee
  3. Chocolate
  4. Seasonings
  5. Fried and junk food.

How Long Do Pineapple Conures Live For?

About 12-15 years in the wild and 20-30 years in captivity.

Now, captive parrots outlive their wild counterparts because the former are often well taken care of, with better living conditions and diets.

Another thing is, the cage protects ageing pets against predators that can easily snap an old slow-moving parrot. 

However, if a domesticated conure is not well-nourished and lacks regular physical activities, then it doesn’t even survive for 10 years. 

That said, several captive pineapple green cheeks don’t live beyond a few months.

It usually happens when a new and inexperienced birder adopts a pineapple conure as his first-ever bird.

So, if you are new to bird-keeping, I recommend you pick a local bird or a budgie. 

It’s not that I don’t value budgie lives.

It’s because budgies are the most common pet birds.

Therefore, you are highly likely to find accurate information as well as a skilled budgie-keeper in your social circle – someone you can call in case of emergencies.

Besides, budgies are relatively inexpensive and they represent only a 7-year commitment.

Otherwise, you can easily find another birder to rehome them. 

Meanwhile, getting a Pineapple Conure is like a marriage commitment. They need your attention and love for 15+ years but if you give them up in the middle, you will traumatize them for a lifetime. 

That said, I am not discouraging you from getting the pet of your dreams. I am merely suggesting that you should be aware if you are even a bird person, before getting a conure.

I hope the article answered all your queries regarding pineapple conures. 

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