If you’re thinking of adding one of these South American parrots to your family, you’re likely wondering about nanday conure lifespan. How long can you anticipate your new feathered friend to be a part of your family for? What can you do to make sure it lives a long and happy life?
Let’s go into nanday conure lifespan and how to help ensure yours makes it to a respectable age.
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Nanday conure lifespan in the wild
As with many other parrot species, there are unfortunately few studies that observe the lifespan of nanday conures (formerly scientifically known as Nandayus nenday, now as Aratinga nenday) in the wild. It’s quite difficult to follow an individual bird from the start to the end of its life to see how long it lives!
According to Parrots: A Guide to the Parrots of the World, their habitat is “often modified by grazing and an overall decline in numbers has probably occurred”. This unfortunately makes it more difficult to get an accurate understanding of how long the black-hooded conure lives.
With that said, The Encyclopedia of Life has recorded the lifespan of the nanday conure in the wild to be 18.7 years. Mortality among parrot chicks in general tends to be very high, but if they make it to adulthood, they can end up living pretty long lives.
Nanday conure lifespan in captivity
Like many other birds, nanday conures live longer in captivity (as long as all of their needs are met) than they do in the wild. The lack of predators and other dangers inherent to the South American savannahs and forests this species naturally inhabits does help.
Survival on the Ark, a 2012 study I often reference in these parrot lifespan posts, observed various parrot species in zoos. It found the following:
- The oldest nanday conure out of the 411 individuals recorded in the study lived for 30.24 years.
- The median age for the 19 currently living individuals included in the study was 20.79 years.
While this study looked at zoos and not birds being cared for inside the home, similar lifespans can probably be expected for nanday conures kept as companion animals.
With proper diet, exercise, and care, you can expect your nanday conure to live at least 20 years. Even 30 years or more would not be unusual!
What influences nanday conure lifespan?
As with all companion animals, how long a nanday conure lives can be affected by many factors. Some of these are in your control, like diet and exercise. Others, like genetics, are usually not.
Nanday conures are susceptible to a few health conditions, including:
- Conure bleeding syndrome
- Pacheco’s disease
- Respiratory issues like aspergillosis
In addition to these concerns, conures are also social birds that require a lot of attention and interaction. If your bird doesn’t receive enough socialization, it can start feather plucking out of depression and lack of stimulation. The stress can negatively impact its lifespan.
Conures also rely on proper diet and exercise, as well as care and supervision from their owners to prevent common problems like malnutrition, obesity, accidents (they’re too curious for their own good sometimes!) and more.
Care tips to keep in mind
While some aspects of your bird’s health are out of your hands because of genetics, there are many ways you can improve and lengthen its life.
To keep your nanday conure happy, healthy, and thriving for as long as possible, pay close attention to the following:
- Diet: Nanday conures are mostly herbivores. In the wild, they survive on a diet of various fruits, vegetables, and nuts to get all of their nutrients.
In captivity, you can feed your conure high-quality pellet food as their base diet. From there, you can add variety and additional nutrients to their diet with fresh fruits and vegetables. Grapes, leafy greens, apples, peppers, broccoli and lots of other types of fresh produce are parrot-safe and healthy.
- Exercise: Nanday conures are a high-energy species of parrots, so they require exercise daily outside of their cage for at least four hours or more.
Without enough activity, your bird can become obese, bored, and even depressed due to the lack of mental stimulation.
- Housing: Like most parrot species, it’s best to provide your nanday conure with a full-sized aviary if you’re not allowing your bird to roam free.
If you do offer plenty of free-roaming time for your bird outside of the cage, it’s still important to consider a spacious cage of at least 30 x 24 x 24 inches (75 x 60 x 60 cm, preferably larger). Cage length is more important than height.
- Enrichment: Nanday conures are extremely intelligent birds that require mental stimulation in addition to physical exercise. Offer your bird plenty of parrot toys, foraging opportunities and other things to explore.
Many nanday parrots are great at learning tricks as well. Trick training is a great form of enrichment (not to mention fun, and a great way to strengthen your bond with your bird!).
- Socialization: Nanday conures are extremely social and thrive on attention. If you don’t spend enough time with it, your parrot may turn to feather picking and self-mutilation out of stress.
Having a second nanday conure to offer companionship can help keep boredom and stress at bay. This is especially important if you work a regular 9-5 job, because a parrot shouldn’t be alone for 8 hours a day.
- Water: In addition to water for drinking, most nanday conures also love to bathe. Provide a shallow dish of clean, fresh water for your bird to bathe in every day. Not just for hygiene reasons, but also for fun!
- Safety: Birds have sensitive lungs, so chemicals and fumes in the air can pose a serious threat. Avoid smoking, using aerosol sprays, burning candles and even cooking with nonstick cookware around your bird to keep them safe.
How old is my nanday conure?
If you purchased your conure from a breeder, they should have specific information for you about when your bird hatched. If you’ve adopted your bird from a rescue or pet store and it doesn’t have a ring, it can be more difficult to find out its age.
Unfortunately, there aren’t really any ways to tell how old a parrot is. The only exception is if it’s still under a year old. Young birds’ colors are less bright: their black hood won’t have much of a brown ring around it yet. Their legs aren’t quite as red and the blue on their chest appears more faded.
Another vague indicator of your nanday conure’s age is their behavior. An older bird will generally be calmer and more laid-back. It’s likely to stay closer to its cage and to its owner. Its feathers might not look quite as nice anymore, and it can develop typical health issues like cataracts.
Nanday conures have a decent lifespan, and they’re energetic, social birds that can be great companions. However, like all parrots, they need special care and a lot of dedication to keep them happy and healthy. Because they can live for over 30 years, you should consider whether you’re ready to commit for a long time.
If you have more questions about nanday conure lifespan or want to share your own experiences with these beautiful parrots, please leave a comment below!
Parr, M., & Juniper, T. (2010). Parrots: a guide to parrots of the world. Bloomsbury Publishing.
Young, A. M., Hobson, E. A., Lackey, L. B., & Wright, T. F. (2012). Survival on the ark: Life‐history trends in captive parrots. Animal conservation, 15(1), 28-43.