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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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11:30 a.m. 2012-04-09

peachfronted parakeets in the wild

For this trip, I used the services of Bird Boliva, and I highly recommend them. They aren't asking me or paying me to say this; I truly can't imagine how you could surpass my experience with them. It was first rate. I asked for a personal tour to see the Peachfront Conure, which I got, along with many other interesting species, including the endangered endemic macaws, the Blue-Throated Macaw and the Red-Fronted Macaw, as well as the endangered Hyacinth Macaw.

I saw the Peachfront Conure on my very first stop, in the very first hour of the tour. You can't beat that. I'm not good at birding by ear, and I was a little concerned that I would not recognize their voice in the field, but their voice was actually quite distinctive. Not loud, especially compared to the exuberant flocks of some of the White-Eyed Conures, but I would hear them immediately because their voices were just the same as my pet birds. Many of the Conures I observed were colony or flock birds, but the Peachfronts actually reminded me a bit more of the large Macaws I was seeing, because they always went two by two. I never saw a lone bird. It was always two of them together.

Their strong pair-bonds explained something I'd observed about my own birds -- the power of how two birds will bond and thereafter wish to always be together. I made a mistake with my first two babies, leaving Courtney (who proved to be male) and Ronnie (a female) together for much too long after they were weaned by their parents. These two birds became tightly bonded to each other, as mates, rather than brother and sister. It can take a LOT of work to break that bond once it has formed. They want to be together, and they don't want to accept any substitutes.

The strong pair-bond also explains why a single pet Peachfront Conure has such a deep ability to give affection to a human being. When I kept a single pet, he would spend hours on my shoulder, touching me and grooming me, every day. He loved nothing more than to be with me and to fly to me. I believe these birds have an instinctive need to give and share lots of love. My takeaway: If you don't have time to give to these devoted birds, pair them up. You don't have to breed them if you don't wish to. But don't deny them the opportunity to share their powerful love.

The Peachfront Conure breeding season was done when I arrived in April. However, I did get to see a couple of nests. They actually nest in termite mounds, and the ones I saw weren't that much larger than standard Conure nestboxes, so it makes sense that they adapt easily to our nestboxes, especially if you put dark cork inside and out to give them something to chew.

I observed this species in two habitats, both hot and humid, both lowland, both with plenty of cattle ranches, often complete with classic cowboys on horses because the ground is too wet for motor vehicles. These two areas are Beni, where I also saw the Blue-Throated Macaw, and the San Matias reserve/Bolivian Pantanal area, where I also saw the Hyacinth Macaw. I really had the wrong idea there. A Bolivian years ago told me that they were highland species, and he saw them all the time in La Paz. Maybe he does, I don't know; I didn't have the opportunity to visit La Paz. But I'm guessing that what he actually saw all the time was a different species of Conure. After all, there are many. In any case, I was happy to see that our steamy New Orleans climate was just fine for my aviary Peachfronts.

I welcome all donations. Even $1 will help; this amount provides several Conure-sized servings of healthy mixed vegetables.

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