Jenday Conure: Bird Species Profile

Temperament, Diet, and Care Tips

Jenday Conure, Jandaya Parakeet, Aratinga jandaya
Photograph by Paul Atkinson / Getty Images

Smart, energetic, and loving little parrots, jenday conures make good pets for owners who can spend time socializing with them. Colorful and intelligent, these birds have been popular pets for many years. They are suitable for families with children. If you're looking for a big bird personality in a compact size, this colorful and friendly species may be a good fit.

Species Overview

Common Names: Jenday conure, jandaya parakeet, yellow-headed conure, flaming parakeet

Scientific Name: Aratinga jandaya

Adult Size: 12 inches

Life Expectancy: More than 30 years

Origin and History

The jenday conure is native to the woodlands, palm groves, and dense growth of northeastern Brazil. It has a preference for nesting high in tree hollows and generally travels in small flocks of 30 or so birds.

The word "jenday" comes from Old Tupi, the indigenous language from Brazil. It means "small parrot." The bird is a protected species; its capture and trade are prohibited.

Temperament

Naturally playful and affectionate, jenday conures can make loyal companion birds. Some jendays may become attached to a single person, but a majority should do well with a family unit and accept everyone as members of their flock.

Jendays can be very cuddly, often enjoying a ride on their handler's shoulder or inside their shirt. You will also find that they generally love to be petted and will bow their head when it's time for some affection.

Most people admire this bird's beauty and charming personality. Jenday conures are social birds that thrive on interaction. They may not be the best choice for those who have less than a few hours a day to spend with it.

Jenday conures are as intelligent as other members of the parrot family and can learn simple tricks and mimic sounds.

Speech and Vocalizations

Conures mimic human speech like larger parrots, but most jendays don't typically "speak." That doesn't mean they're not entertaining, though. Many pet jendays learn to repeat everyday household noises such as telephones and microwaves.

A flying flock of jenday conures are loud; they tend to call out during flight. Many conures become screamers if they feel neglected. If you have close neighbors, a conure might be considered a noisy nuisance.

Jenday Conure Colors and Markings

Jenday conures have multi-colored plumage with a red-orange body and green wings and back. Its tail has blue feathers, and the wings are rimmed with an iridescent blue as well. Also called a yellow-headed conure, it has a yellow head with orange patches on the face.

A jenday's beak is black, and its feet and legs are gray. It's a monomorphic species, which means that DNA or surgical sexing is the only accurate way to tell males from females. Females have light brown irises and a grayish eye-ring, while males have darker brown irises and a white eye-ring. This small distinction is not enough for sexing.

Overall, jenday conures are very similar in size and appearance to sun conures. The easiest way to tell them apart is the jenday has green wings, while the sun's wings are primarily yellow.

Caring for Jenday Conures

To keep your bird happy and calm, plan to spend plenty of time with your birds. It's essential that the bird doesn't get bored or lonely; this can lead to destructive chewing and naughty behavior.

Though this is a small bird that would seemingly fit inside a cockatiel cage, it needs much more room than that. It should be at least big enough for the bird to flap its wings and move around freely. It would be best if has the ability to fly in its cage. These birds are incredibly active and known to get cranky in small spaces. The absolute minimum space should be 3 feet long and 2 feet wide and tall. The cage should be double its size if you choose to keep a pair.

Jenday conure pairs generally keep their affectionate, well-trained pet characteristics if both birds get proper attention. They can also be housed with another type of conure, particularly sun, gold-capped, and blue-crowned conures. Two conure species can interbreed, however, hybridization taints an already limited gene pool; it is not recommended. If a mix between a sun conure and jenday occurs, the hybrid is called a "sunday."

Common Health Problems

Jenday conures are hardy birds that can quickly adapt to home life. However, these birds are still susceptible to several diseases:

  • Proventricular dilatation disease (a viral condition affecting the digestive system)
  • Psittacine beak and feather disease (a fatal viral disease that affects the beak, feathers, and immune system)
  • Psittacosis (bacterial respiratory illness)
  • Beak malocclusion (overgrown beak)
  • Aspergillosis (fungal infection)

Signs that indicate this bird could be ill include lethargy, loss of appetite, difficulty breathing, and feather-loss or plucking. Many of these conditions are easily treatable. See an avian veterinarian if troublesome signs crop up.

Diet and Nutrition

Pet birds will have a better chance of meeting their nutritional requirements if they get plenty of variety in their diets.

In the wild, jenday conures primarily feast on fruit, nuts, and seeds. In captivity, they need a balanced, pelleted diet supplemented with nuts, seeds, and fresh fruit and vegetables. You can give them an unlimited amount of pellet food; they will only eat what they need. As for fresh fruits and veggies, offer about a 1/8 to 1/4 cup in the morning and at night. Seeds and nuts should be occasional treats.

Thoroughly wash their food bowls and cage regularly to prevent transmission of parasitic infections. Also, conures are so active that obesity is typically not as big of an issue as it is with other pet parrots.

Exercise

Like other conures, jendays need adequate space to fly, explore, and play. Allow your bird a minimum of two hours outside of its cage each day. The birds will learn to hang out on a play stand adorned with ropes, toys, and other interesting bird-safe trinkets. Be sure the out-of-cage time is in an area free of hazards like cats or other pets, ceiling fans, or open doors or windows to the outside world. You do not want an accidental bird escape.

Inside the cage, set up your bird with lots of fun activities. A swing is a must as these little parrots will quickly make it their home roost. Ladders, bells, and ropes will also provide a jungle gym experience.

Do not forget to get chew toys; they are voracious chewers and need to exercise their beaks on acceptable things rather than the cage, your furniture, or electrical wires. Wood toys and branches swapped out regularly should keep the bird engaged.

Pros

  • Smaller-sized parrot with a big personality

  • Cuddly, affectionate with its handlers

  • Can learn to do tricks

Cons

  • Can get loud and noisy, not recommended for apartment living

  • Not much of a talker, more a mimic

  • Some restrictions on ownership, depends on your local laws

Where to Adopt or Buy a Jenday Conure

Before you adopt a jenday, check with your local wildlife and game authorities about any legal restrictions on this species. Some areas require a permit to keep them while others may ban them outright. For example, in the United States, it is illegal to own one in New Jersey.

When choosing a bird, it is best to select a hand-fed baby or at least a young bird that has been handled regularly. The average cost for one of these birds is $600.

Look for a bird that is bright, alert, and active. Avoid a bird that is sitting quietly with puffed feathers; it might be ill. The bird's feathers should be smooth and shiny and lay down flat on the body. The feathers around the vent/cloaca (opening where bird expels feces and urine) should be clean, dry, and free of fecal matter. The scales on the feet should be smooth. Make sure its nails are in good condition, and Its beak is smooth and well-shaped. Its nostrils should be clear and clean.

Online rescues, adoption organizations, and breeders where you can find jenday conures include:

More Pet Bird Species and Further Research

If you’re interested in a similar species, check out:

If you want a bird with a talent for mimicry, take a look at some small talking birds that might be a good fit.