Golden Conure Parrot Profile | (Queen of Bavaria Conure)

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Home » Conures » Golden Conure Parrot Profile | (Queen of Bavaria Conure)

Golden Conure Parrot Profile | (Queen of Bavaria Conure)

Looking to add a parrot to your family? If the golden conure has caught your eye, you’re not alone. This super-colorful species is considered one of the most beautiful in the entire parrot family! But is it the right pet for you?

Below, we’ll have a look at everything there is to know about golden conures. I’ll discuss what they look like, where they’re from, what they eat, and how to make sure yours lives a long and happy life.

Name(s) (common, scientific)Golden conure, Queen of Bavaria conure, golden parakeet, Guaruba guarouba (formerly Aratinga guarouba)
Natural habitatBrazilian Amazon Basin
Adult sizeUp to 14″ (35 cm) in length, average 250 grams
LifespanUp to 30 years
Noise levelMedium to high

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Golden conure description

Appearance

The golden conure is a queen among parrots! Considered one of the most beautiful conures to look at thanks to its uniquely uniform golden plumage, it’s the only species in its genus, Guaruba.

This is a medium-sized parrot with a large, horn-colored beak. Adults sport yellow coloration all over the body except the wing tips, which are dark green. Young birds have a lot more green, especially on the wings and sometimes speckled across the back and head.

Unfortunately, it’s not possible to tell the difference between a male and female golden conure visually. You’ll have to get a DNA test done if you’d like to know whether your bird is a boy or a girl.

Taxonomy

Regular readers will know that parrot naming can be a mess. Common names may cause confusion, but scientific naming is definitely not perfect either and can be subject to change as we learn more about the relationships between different species.

The golden conure has had a bunch of different names. According to ornithologists, it started out as Conurus, then became Eupsittula, and then Aratinga. However, it’s always been suspected to belong in its own genus.

Ever since ornithologist Joseph Forshaw listed it as Guaruba guarouba in his guide “Parrots of the World” in 2006, this has been considered its valid name.

The validity of the golden conure’s latest name change has been confirmed by phylogenetic studies. A 2006 article, for example, notes that Guaruba is more closely related to red-shouldered macaws of the genus Diopsittaca than to Aratinga conures!

Guaruba guarouba parrot vintage illustration.

Golden conure range & natural habitat

Like other conure species, the golden conure is naturally found in South America. It inhabits parts of the Brazilian Amazon Basin, specifically in the state of Pará and possibly parts of neighboring Maranhão.

In their natural habitat, golden conures inhabit forested areas. They prefer dry lowland (terra firme) forest, but will sometimes wander into seasonally flooded areas (várzea) as well. The species is pretty nomadic. According to observations, during the breeding season, birds will often leave the jungle for less dense zones.

Nests are usually made in relatively isolated hollow trees, sometimes by enlarging those previously used by other species. Interestingly, often multiple female golden conures lay their eggs in the same nests. As a result, clutches can contain 10+ eggs.

Unfortunately, the IUCN Red List considers Guaruba guarouba to be a Vulnerable species. It notes that trapping for the animal trade isn’t very common anymore, but habitat fragmentation and destruction continue to severely impact the wild population.

Did you know? This beautiful bird has long held value for local (indigenous) populations in Brazil. And not just for the pet trade either—its golden feathers are highly prized too. Golden conures are locally referred to as “Ararajuba”. One source mentions that sometimes other conure species are dyed yellow to be sold for higher prices at animal markets!

Ornitologia Brasileira by Helmut Sick
Two golden conure parrots feeding each other while sitting on a rock.

Golden conure diet

Wild diet

Given they live in the lush Amazon rainforest, wild golden conures have access to a wide range of foods. Scientists have found they mostly eat fruits. Their favorites include the fruits of the açaí and bacaba palms, as well as cashew, ice cream bean, nance, and locustberry trees. The birds will also go for flowers and flower buds.

Like many other parrot species, golden conures will also raid local farmers’ crops from time to time. They’ve been noted to particularly like corn and mango.

Captive diet

In the wild, golden conures eat whatever is available seasonally. This makes for a pretty varied diet! In your home, it’s best to feed your conure high-quality parrot pellets as a staple. These may look a bit boring, but they’re more nutritious and lower in fat than the classic dry seed mix.

You can add variety with a range of different (fresh) foods:

  • Daily fresh vegetables
  • Regular fresh fruits
  • (Sprouted) seeds
  • Cooked whole grains
  • Foraged foods such as grasses
  • Occasional proteins such as boiled egg or mealworms
  • (Training) treats such as nuts and dried fruit

A healthy diet is one of the key ways to make sure your golden conure lives a long and happy life. Be sure to read more about parrot diet so you know what your bird needs.

Tip: Present food in a foraging setting to combine mealtime with play. It really helps to keep your parrot from getting bored and imitates how it would have to search for food in the wild.

Golden conure housing

Golden conures are not small birds, so they need a sizeable cage. If you want to keep your bird caged, you’ll need to install a full-sized (indoor) aviary. If you’re planning on letting it out at least a few hours a day, an enclosure with a width of at least 40″ (1 m) should be fine.

The cage should be filled with a variety of natural wood perches, platforms, and ladders. It should also have lots of parrot toys: these birds are highly playful beings that get bored easily. Toys allow them to entertain themselves chewing, shredding, preening, and making noise.

To give your bird a place to hang out when it’s outside its cage, you can install a cage-top playground with perches and toys. You can also consider getting a nice parrot tree.

Golden conure parrot close-up, sitting on a branch.

Golden conure enrichment

As I’ve mentioned, golden conures, like other parrots, bore easily. They’re used to spending their days interacting with their own kind and having to use their smart brains to find and access food.

If you don’t keep your conure busy playing, socializing, and foraging, the stress can cause a range of unwanted behaviors. It may start screaming excessively, plucking its own feathers, or even become aggressive. So keep that bird entertained!

Here’s how to provide enrichment:

  • Let your parrot out of its cage at least 3-4 hours a day
  • Regularly rotate toys to keep them fresh and exciting
  • Offer food in a foraging setting
  • Keep parrots in pairs if you work a regular 9-5
  • Spend at least a few hours a day hanging out with and training your bird
  • Keep your bird in an area of the home that gets plenty of traffic, like the living room

In order to prevent accidents (parrots are too curious for their own good sometimes!), you should parrot-proof any room your conure has access to.

Did you know? Obesity is one of the primary causes of death for pet parrots. Luckily, these enrichment tips don’t just prevent boredom; they also encourage your golden conure to be active.

Golden conure temperament

Although in the end it all depends on the individual bird and how it was socialized, most golden conures have personalities as bright as their colors! They tend to be friendly and affectionate, bonding with multiple family members rather than being “one-person” birds.

Golden conures love playtime as much as they do hanging out on your shoulder and receiving the occasional cuddle. They’re energetic, sociable, even-tempered and not known to be aggressive.

Like other parrots, conures thrive on attention. If you’re looking for a low-maintenance pet, they are not the bird for you!

Golden conure sounds

Although their screams aren’t quite as piercing as those of the genus Aratinga, such as the sun conure, golden conures are not quiet by any means. The noise level depends on the individual, but keep in mind their relatively large size means they’ve got powerful voices!

If you’re interested in adding a golden conure to your family, it’s important to consider whether you can handle the noise. Try visiting a breeder or friends/relatives who own one to experience it for yourself before buying a bird.

Want to have a listen? You can do so over at xeno-canto: Guaruba guarouba.

Can golden conures talk?

Pretty much all parrots have the ability to remember and imitate noises they’ve heard in their environment. Conures aren’t known to be champion talkers, though, and this species is no exception.

Your mileage may vary, but golden conures can be expected to pick up simple words like their name, short phrases, easy tunes, and household sounds. However, their voices aren’t very clear.

Golden Conure talking

If you’ve got any more questions about the beautiful “Queen of Bavaria”, feel free to leave a comment below. And be sure to share your own experiences with this colorful South American parrot—we love to hear them!

Sources & further reading

David, N., DICKINSON, E., & Gregory, S. (2009). Contributions to a list of First Reviser actions: ornithology. Zootaxa, 2085(1), 1-24.

Oren, D. C., & Novaes, F. C. (1986). Observations on the golden parakeet Aratinga guarouba in northern Brazil. Biological Conservation, 36(4), 329-337.

Vilarta, M. R., De Moraes, T. T., Gondim, M. F. N., Lobato, C., Da Costa, M. N. R. F., Oliveira, R. D. A., & Silveira, L. F. (2024). Feeding Ecology of Reintroduced Golden Parakeets (Guaruba guarouba, Psittacidae) in a Protected Area in the Amazon Forest. Diversity, 16(3), 188.

Tavares, E. S., Baker, A. J., Pereira, S. L., & Miyaki, C. Y. (2006). Phylogenetic relationships and historical biogeography of Neotropical parrots (Psittaciformes: Psittacidae: Arini) inferred from mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequences. Systematic Biology, 55(3), 454-470.

Sick, H. (1997). Ornitologia Brasileira (2nd ed.). Editora Nova Fronteira.

  • Marijke Puts

    Marijke is a full-time niche blogger and pop science writer, founder of Psittacology, and overly enthusiastic bird mom. Originally from The Netherlands but living in sunny Spain, she spends her time wrangling cockatiels, writing about parrots, cooking, diving and hiking. About me | Contact me

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