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I've lived with Peachfront Conures Aratinga aurea for 30 years. I've bred 'em, trained 'em, even visited Bolivia to observe them in the wild. For more about me, click right here.

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6:41 p.m. 2012-07-02

why do peachfronted conures, or any conures, nest in termite mounds?

Do you know why Peachfront Conures nest in termite mounds? Nope, neither do I. It's a question I never thought to ask before. Maybe just because it's easy to chew out a nice, cozy little nest there in the tree?

I poked around the internet and, while I have not yet learned the answer to my question, I did find an interesting article from the February 2000 BIRD TALK by Donald Brightsmith, called Nest sites of Wild Parrots. Go to his site and read his whole article, but I hope he won't mind if I post a few teaser sentences here:

The strangest thing about nesting in termite mounds is that the parrots almost always choose mounds where the termites are still present. As the birds excavate their nest cavities, the termites rush to the broken sections to defend their colony from the avian invader. Fortunately for the birds, the soldier termites have no mandibles and can't bite. Instead, the major defence of the termites is to shoot small quantities of a sticky irritating glue at the feathered attacker. From personal experience I know that this glue has little effect...the termites become accustomed to the comings and goings of their new neighbors. Eventually the termites seal off their passageways that lead to the bird nests, leaving the birds and termites living peacefully in complete isolation.

Is this scenario true for Peachfronts? Heck, I don't know! The youngsters were fledged and out of the nest when I was there, so all I saw were sweet couples going two by two -- nobody was still hanging around the termite mound. For that matter, the mound I photographed didn't seem to have any termites remaining in it either.

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