A Nanday Conure as a Pet: The Ultimate Guide

selective focus photography of green parrot Nanday Conure bird

The nanday conure bird is a beautiful, majestic, talented, and delightful bird. When searching for cute, brilliant, and lovable pet birds, nandays are probably one of the most likely avians to pop into the minds of most bird lovers. And with good reason; nandays are affectionate, entertaining, and will make for an excellent addition to your family.

Ahead, we have covered the basics of the nanday conure bird to help you debunk the myths and probably give you an insight into whether the nanday is the perfect pet for you.

The black-hooded parakeet,

A group of Nanday Conure Birds set on branch

What is a nanday conure bird?

The nanday conure bird (Nandayus nenday) is lesser known as Black-headed Conure, black-hooded parakeet, or nanday parakeet.  They are not only a pretty sight to see outside, but also make for adorable little pets. Nanday parakeets are very intelligent, social, and outgoing birds that can talk and learn tricks making them popular among pet bird lovers and in bird shows.

○ Size and shape

Save for the size, the main physical description of Nanday conures doesn’t differ too much from the other parrots in the conure family. They have a short strong curved beak with long tail feathers. They are around 12inches long all thanks to the long tail feathers. Along with that, Nandays weigh about 140g.

○ Color and Appearance

As with most other Aratinga species, nanday parakeets are primarily green with a grayish-blue patch on the chest, blue hints on the upper breast, and a touch of red on the leg feathers and inner thighs. Even more, the face and beak are black with white rings around their eyes.

Although the male is usually slightly larger and has a bolder black head and beak, nandays are mostly monomorphic, so it is difficult to tell the sexes apart except for a DNA test.

Black-headed Conure

Black-headed Conure

○ Origin and behavior

A descendant of the conure genus of Aratinga, this species is native to a vast region of South America called Pantanal. The region spans Brazil, Bolivia, Argentina, and Paraguay. Then again, you can come across some migrant or released flocks of feral nandays in urban areas of California, Florida, and as far north as Canada.

They forage in flocks of over 10 birds and have a taste for natural and agricultural food. Their green plumage blends well into the natural leafage hence it is easier to hear their distinct call than see the birds.

Captured and hand-reared black-hooded parakeets are social, affectionate, mischievous, and energetic. They love attention and interaction so you will have to spend a few hours every day interacting with your nanday. They are cuddly too and love to be snuggled when they feel sleepy.

Nandays are talented talkers and can learn to mimic more than 20 different words. What’s more, they love to pull some naughty tricks and comical antics that make it fun to watch. One notable trick is playing dead by sleeping on their back and sticking their legs straight up in the air. Not to forget the bird’s curiosity and restlessness at times. The nanday conure will want to explore everything within its vicinity.

On the flip side, nandays can be a little aggressive and will use their strong beaks to strike at any possible threat. That said, they may not be the best choice if you have small kids.

○ Diet and Nutrition

In their natural habitats, nanday parakeets feed on seeds and fruits, berries, buds, and nuts.

Conures in captivity need a diet comprised of commercial seeds like sunflower, oats, and millet, and pellet-based mix that is produced specifically for conures or parakeets. You will also need to include a daily serving of chopped or cut fresh fruit like apples, grapes, oranges, or bananas. That’s not all. Add nutrition-packed leafy greens as well such as cabbage, carrots, spinach, kale, tomatoes, and broccoli.

Since these conures are omnivorous, adding protein to their diet won’t do any harm to their digestive tracts. Offer lean meat, cooked egg, and fish in very small bits.

A word to the wise: Do Not feed avocado, chocolate, and coffee to the bird and avoid foods with salt.

○ Speech and Vocalizations

The energy that nandays are known for comes with lots of noise as well. They like to let out their distinct screams and screeches unexpectedly, a tendency common with wild nandays. No doubt many people prefer otherwise, especially those of us who live in small apartments or living with babies. The best part, bird owners have noted that the nandays give out much less noise when a human companion is around them.

Furthermore, black hooded parakeets are pretty intelligent and can learn to mimic human speech. They are capable of memorizing and speaking up to 20 words.

○ Nanday Conure Lifespan

A nanday in confinement will give you unquestionably company for 25-30 years before passing on naturally. In the wild, they hardly make it past their 15th birthday courtesy of predation, disease, and harsh environmental conditions.

The Nanday conure

The Nanday conure

How do I care for my nanday conure?

Nanday conures are a fairly big commitment to keep. Looking after it involves the following;

  • The nanday conure is a social bird that likes to interact and will not do well on its own. You need to offer plenty of social human interaction. Lonely birds that feel neglected can resort to finding fun by being quite mischievous, causing damage to valuable items, making a mess, or tumbling things over.
  • Nandays cope well with multiple human companions. At an early age, introduce the bird to common faces it will likely be encountering regularly.
  • Ensure their enclosures are a reasonable size, about 3-foot-tall to allows them to fly around. Also, as energetic as they are it is ideal to allow them at least one hour of supervised time out of the cage to let the bird fly freely. Flying around helps provide physical and mental stimulation as well.
  • The birds will need to bathe. Make plans for a bathing dish and let them hop in and even spill the water, they love it. If the bird is unwilling to bathe, consider nudging them or misting them with a spray bottle.
  • Provide plenty of toys to keep the birds engaged and change them regularly. Nandays like chewing, knocking things about, and perching among others.
Bathing a nanday using a spray bottle

Bathing a nanday using a spray bottle

How Healthy Are nanday Conures?

Let not the small and slim stature of the birds deceive you, black-headed conures are quite hardy and will rarely experience infections. The most illnesses that may affect a nanday conure include conure bleeding syndrome that results in unstoppable bleeding in case of an injury.  Pacheco’s disease and respiratory infections are the other most recorded health conditions among nanday owners.

That is not all. Birds that feel lonely, neglected, or adequate proper socialization tends to turn depressed and begin to pluck feathers and scream out.

The drill to countering all the health conditions is to always keep the cage and feeders clean and allow proper rest and stimulation to the bird.

Facts About nanday Conure

  • These parakeets can be very aggressive sometimes and using their robust beaks, will bite when you try to handle them. Needless to say, you should not allow it near small kids.
  • Some states like Colorado and California have outlawed the keeping of most parakeets and conures. Attributable to the damage large flocks of wild conures inflict on crops and fruits. So, they’re considered agricultural pests and not pets. You will want to confirm with local laws if the bird is legal to domesticate.
Nanday Conure Birds

Nanday Conure Birds

Frequently Asked Questions

○ How much does a nanday conure cost?

You will need to part with $400 – 600 if you want to take a nanday conure home with you.

○ Are nanday conures good pets?

Nandays make excellent pets. They are very social, intelligent, and outgoing. Moreover, they can talk and learn tricks making them decent choices if you want a pet to provide company and entertainment.

○ Do nanday conures talk?

If you are on the search for a pet bird that is as talkative as can be, then you got to check out the nanday conure. It is highly receptive to learning new words and can grasp a reasonable amount of vocabulary.

○ Are nanday conures cuddly?

The birds are very affectionate and love to cuddle with their favorite persons. It also delights in being snuggled when it feels sleepy.

○ Are nandays loud?

The black-hooded parakeet can be pretty noisy with loud screeches and screams. To reduce the noise, ensure you provide sufficient attention and socialization.

 Read also about 6 Amazing questions about Parrot Flying Hacks

Images source:

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Karim Bruno

I am a passionate and dedicated writer who loves to advocate for protection and preservation of nature not least of which are birds.

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