Happy Cinco de Mayo! We’re kicking off the month of May with a very special animal ambassador: Chico. Chico is a Sun Conure (Aratinga solstitialis) who came to us in July of 2015 after being surrendered from his previous owner. In their native habitats, these beautiful birds are found in the tropical forests of South America and especially in the countries of Brazil and Guyana.
At first glance, Chico looks just like the colors of the sun, making it obvious why he is called a Sun Conure. But if you are to look closely, you will notice he is also a mini macaw! Chico is a beautiful bird and definitely knows it, as he loves being the center of attention. But Chico not only has beauty, he also has the brains. Sun Conures are incredibly intelligent birds with great senses of humor. In addition to these things, Sun Conures are renown for their big mouths despite relatively small size. The squawks of him, along with other conures, would easily be heard throughout the rainforest. This allows them to locate each other out in the wild!
These birds live off a varied diet of vegetables, grains, beans, and fresh fruit every day. Chico is also given seeds and nuts a few times a week as a treat. Here’s a little secret: dried papaya is his all time favorite treat! With proper care and handling, these birds can live up to 30 years in captivity, making them a life-long companion!
Unfortunately, this beautiful species is endangered, with their population decreasing every year. This is due to habitat loss, hunting for their plumage, and being caught for the pet trade. Based off recent records, there is only an estimated 1,500-4,000 of these birds remaining. Many of the Sun Conures today exist in captivity. If you care for these beautiful birds and wish to help them, Chico has two messages for you: one, preserve their habitats! A big factor to the decrease in their population size is due to habitat loss and we can do our part through conservation. Secondly, adopt don’t shop! If you love birds (and not just Sun Conures!) then opt to adopt one instead of choosing from a pet store. There are plenty of animals in a need of a home and adopting can help eliminate the need for the pet trade, which will ultimately help keep this species safe!