Yellow-Sided Green-Cheeked Conures  
(Pyrrhura hypoxantha )

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Yellow-Sided Green-Cheeked Conures   (Pyrrhura hypoxantha Hatch>maturity photos
Click to see Egg Incubation Chart - a quick way to see when eggs are due to hatch)

  • These are a beautiful mutation of the Normal Green-cheek Conure (Pyrrhura Molinae) 
  • Found in the wild - in the forests, fields and farmland of Brazil, Bolivia, Uruguay, Paraguay and N.W. Argentina.

Interesting FACTS

  • A man named Forshaw first spotted the Yellow Sided Green-cheek mutation in the wild
    • he thought it was a separate species.
  •  He named them Pyrrhura hypoxantha or "Yellow-sided Conure".
  •  It wasn't until this mutation was imported with other Green Cheeks from the wild that it was determined
     not to be a separate species.
  • The first Yellow Sided Green Cheeks were imported in the early 1980’s thru a quarantine station.
  •  They tried breeding these first Yellow Sided conures to try and work out how the mutation was carried  genetically.
  •  It wasn't even certain at first if it was a mutation or a sub-species.
  •  It was all further complicated by all these first Yellow-sided being females only.
    • A similar problem occurred when first trying to establish the Pineapple mutation.
  •  They had to line-breed for several generations to produce male Yellow-sided.
  • Green-cheeked Conures have oil glands they use to preen their feathers
  •  So, do not create the dust normally found on Cockatiels, Cockatoos, and African Grey Parrots.
    So, Allergy sufferers may be able to keep one - a big plus point for them!
  • They can live to 20+ years old
  • They can learn to talk but have rather a squeaky "voice" compared to for example an A. Grey
  • Noise levels: as per most Pyrrhura Conures (i.e. Green-cheeks, Maroon Belled etc.)  is no worse than cockatiels
  • But still noisy compared to Kakis and Rosellas - a more harsh call!
  • Unlike the Aratinga Conures who are, in the main, very loud and noisy. i.e. Sun Conures
  • approx. 8 - 10" in length
  • 60-90 grams (2-3oz) in weight
  • The are capable of breeding from 1year+
  • They can be kept happily in a colony when not breeding
  • But only ONE PAIR per AVIARY when Breeding as the Cock birds can become aggressive and possessive.
  • They do say that it's best to have other conures within earshot to help stimulate them into breeding
    • A bit like budgies like to be in colonies and like noise - as well as making it!
  • If you do have pairs in adjoining Aviaries it's best to have double mesh with a min of 1" between the mesh.
  • Also, if you have the Nest boxes on the mesh side of the adjoining Aviary, between the 2 pairs
    • - put a piece of Plywood on the other side of the mesh blocking the view to the Nest site area,
    • so the birds using the Nest box do not feel threatened and spend 1/2 their time chasing off "potential competitors" instead of getting on with the business in hand i.e. breeding, feeding the hen/chicks !
  • They do not need extra heat (even tho some Breeders do pamper theirs with extra heat in very cold weather).
  • They usually start to breed in winter months (end of Nov - Dec/Jan) but must have suitable shed or sheltered
    area to nest and/or roost in and be well-protected from the elements, esp. draughts.
  • A lot of Breeders use lighting on timers to lengthen the daylight hours during the dark winter months.
  • This emulates more spring-like conditions and stimulates the birds into "Breeding mode".
  • They can lay their first round through December, hatching their first young in January (or earlier).
    • This seems to be quite normal, as I found out when looking for a pair
    • None were available (first week of Jan) as they had mostly gone down on eggs or already had chicks


  • You can buy a specially prepared Conure mix but this does tend to more expensive than mixing your own.
  • You can also buy a special Pelleted mix, which incorporates correct levels of  protein and added vits and mins.
    for Conures.
  • Versele Laga do a Pelleted Conure Mix.
  • SEED makes up approx 60% of the Conure Diet (not too many sunflower seeds as very fattening and addictive)!
  • The rest is made up from a mix of: Peanuts, Paddy Rice, Safflower seeds, small Pine Nuts, Groats, Pinhead Oatmeal, Hemp - good at breeding time to help bring the birds into breeding condition + a little Niger - high oil content - birds seem to relish these seeds.
    • Niger is also found in most proprietary Egg food mixes -  they are the skinny black seeds.
  • they also like a little bit of finely shredded chicken (protein) good during breeding season.
  • MILLET SPRAYS are relished - do not feed too often, as can be quite fattening
  • Very useful when feeding young  tho as they are easy to digest and feed to the babies
    • (u can soak first to make them even easier to digest when feeding the young)
    • If you do soak - make sure you remove any uneaten ones every day as they can go mouldy.
  • they will benefit from having access to Egg-food regularly, even when not breeding  x1 or x2 per week
  • When Breeding Egg-food should be provided every day x1 or x2
    • I like Rob Harvey's Witte Mollen (it smells good, has a decent protein value, stays moist and crumbly,
      so you don't have to add water and the birds love it and do well on it).
  • It's quite expensive but he tends to have "Show Offers" when you buy at Stafford etc., and you can also buy
    refill packs, cheaper again. (£12 per 5kg refill pack from Stafford Oct '09)
  • Cuttlefish, pink Iodine Nibbles and mineralised Grit/Oystershell Grit should be available at ALL TIMES
    to provide essential  calcium, minerals and iodine.
  • Esp. important to have free access to all the above at breeding time to ensure the birds' calcium levels do
    not fall when laying eggs, otherwise calcium can be extracted from the hen's bones - not good.

Conures tend to prefer Fruit to Veg  -  Rosellas tend to prefer Veg to Fruit!!

  • Conures love most Fruit  so make sure you give some on a Daily basis
  • Favourites include: apple, orange,  Grapes (their favourite fruit esp. Red ones) + mango,  broccoli, celery, dandelion leaves, chickweed, Willow twigs + leaves (make sure these come from a clean source - if it's from the kerbside make sure you know it hasn't been sprayed with weed-killer - always wash first).
  • Vegetables : spinach, kale, sweet potatoes, frozen cooked sweetcorn, carrot, will be nibbled at but not
    relished in quite the same way they love Fruit
  • When the season is right (Autumn - they also love Mountain Ash berries, Elderberries, Blackberries - the latter 2 make a bit of a mess - so poss avoid if you keep your birds indoors!!
  • Remember Conures are prone to "Conure Bleeding Syndrome"   3click on link
  • So need plenty of foods high in iron & Vit K. (which is the anti-dote for bleeding) i.e. most dark green veg.
  • They also love Mountain Ash berries, Elderberries, Hawthorn berries and Rats Tails (Plantain) + Willow fronds with leaves and Eucalyptus sprigs.
    • The more (clean) wild foods you feed your birds, the better.

FOODS TO AVOID - Toxic to your birds' health

  • Seeds  : Apple, cherries, peaches, apricots, and pears Seeds contain trace amounts of Cyanide!
    • Remove the cores/seeds before you offer to your birds   -- these fruits are o.k. it's just the seeds!
  • Make sure you wash the fruit before offering bits with skin on if they have come from an unknown source
    • i.e. not from your own or known fruit trees - just in case they have been sprayed with insecticides.
  • Avocado : Both skin and stone have been known to cause cardiac distress and eventual heart failure in
    most Pet bird species.
  • Mushrooms (fungus) - have been known to cause digestive upset in Pet birds.
    • Caps and stems of some varieties can effect the Liver.
  • Tomato like Potatoes  are o.k. to offer to your birds - not greatly relished by most birds.
    • The stems, vines, and leaves, however, are highly toxic.
    • Make sure that any time you offer your bird any tomato it has been properly washed
    • ALL green parts must be removed first, as these are the parts that are toxic to your birds
  • Chocolate : Chocolate poisoning first affects a bird's digestive system,
    • causing vomiting and diarrhoea.
    • If the condition progresses, the bird's central nervous system is affected,
    • causing seizures and eventually death if not caught in time and  treated by an Avian Vet
    • A VERY GOOD REASON NOT TO  Offer Choccy biccies to your pampered pets!!
  • Dried Beans :
  • Cooked beans or soaked, sprouted Beans are safe to feed, have good feed value and are enjoyed by lots of Birds
  • but raw, dry bean mixes can be extremely harmful to your pet.
  • Uncooked beans contain a poison called haemaglutin, which is very toxic to birds.
  • Make sure you thoroughly cook any beans that you feed your birds
  • or soak until they sprout and rinse well b4 feeding.
  • Dairy/Milk products : Birds are "Lactose Intolerant" and lack the digestive enzymes needed to break down
    milk sugar and milk proteins.
  • Products such as milk, cream and butter should not be fed
  • but yogurt, cheeses and dried milk can be used in the diet in moderation (as they are also high in fat



  •  Can be fed once or twice per week to all birds throughout the year.
  •  When Conures are breeding it would be beneficial to feed some every day
    • Seeds change their food values as they start to split and sprout
    • They then provide a higher level of protein, vits & mins than when in their dormant,
      normal seed-state
      • (i.e. before they are soaked).
  • Soak the mixed seeds approx 24 hours, put into a sieve - wash by running water through the sieve
  • Keep damp seeds in a dark place until sprouting occurs -
    • it works better if you can spread them thin rather than have in a deep container.
  • Once they start to sprout
  • Wash again until you are sure they smell "fresh" - then feed.
  • Do not offer any seeds/foods etc., if they smell even slightly off or rancid.


  • Fresh water must be provided at all times in clean dishes or drinkers 
  • They love to dunk their food in their water dishes - so to prevent a "Cold Soup" concoction you must clean out any open water containers and refill with fresh water at least once per day.
    • Another reason for having a tube or bottle feeder as well as an open dish they can dunk and bathe in.
  • Conures love to bathe, so ideally they need a drinker (bottle/tube or small dish) higher up to drink out of
  • plus a bigger bath/dish to bathe in.
  • they will break water to bathe as will Kakarikis


  • IDEAL SIZE : 18 - 24" Deep and 9 - 10" square
    • Some Breeders advocate having the entrance to the nest-box on a 45⁰angle with a shoe box section on the end
    • This stops the birds damaging the eggs if the drop down too heavily onto them.
  • Birds feel more secure in a deep, dark, small, neatly-sized space
    • - less chance of predators finding them in the wild or gaining access to the nest site!
    • Make yours fairly deep and a compact-size - never have the base too spacious, as the eggs can roll away
    • this can damages the embryo &/or the eggs can become chilled
    • Best to have a concave base made out of  a piece of thick 1"+ chip-board - this is good for insulation
      • the concave also helps prevent the eggs rolling away from the hen.
    • Use " Easibed" wood chip in the base
      • This is primarily a Horse bedding and as such, you will find it cheaper in an Agricultural Merchants
        or a Saddlers than in a Pet shop or anywhere it is sold for birds.
      • It's dust free and ideal for Aviary floors too.
    • ideally the Nest box should be made out of 3/4" marine-ply for good insulation in the colder weather
      yet thick enough to help keep the insides of the Nest box cool during warmer weather
    • Marine-ply, as the name suggests, is also weatherproof.
    • We always put a piece of Aviary mesh, fixed to the inside of the nest box from just above the base
      to the Pop-hole opening
      • - this is to make it easy for both parents and chicks to climb out when they are ready to fledge.
    • the Pop-hole should just be big enough to accommodate the hens' body if she sits in the entrance with
      her head and shoulders sticking out (approx. 1
      ½" diam.)
      • this gives them the feeling of security, as predators wouldn't be able to gain access if the hen
        was blocking the entrance hole with her body and the entrance would also be too small for the average predator to get in in the wild.
    • this just proves that instincts from living in the wild do kick in when keeping and breeding birds, so you should try and emulate their breeding conditions from the wild as closely as possible.
    • This follows that all nest boxes should be positioned as high as possible - height is important to birds.
    • Also, do NOT face the pop-hole or the Nest box South as during the hot summer months the nest box would get unbearable hot inside.
    • The chicks could over-heat and even die (a bit like a dog locked in a car on a hot day with windows closed)
    • Try and face it towards North-East or South-East.
  • A snippet of info. from a Yellow-sided Conure Breeder:
    "Conures don't like a lot of nest material, mine lay in the corners and the bedding is pushed to the other side of the box.  I put a few shavings in and bits of wood chips which they chewed up.  These chicks are lying on the bottom of the box, no bedding underneath them, doing ok.  Conures do sleep a lot in the boxes, mine go straight back in when the hear me around".

  • They can lay 4-8 eggs but the average is 5-6 eggs
  • The ideal humidity for incubation is 50-55% while the hens incubate in the nest box
  • When incubating artificially in an Incubator - keep at the above humidity levels until approx 4 days
    before they are due to hatch and then "up" the humidity to maximum  i.e. 85-90+%
    • This helps the chick rotate and break out of the shell successfully.
    • More chicks are lost by the air being too dry around the egg and the chick struggles to get out.
  • Incubation usually 22 - 25 days (average 23days)
  • The young fledge around 7 - 8+ weeks
  • They are usually close Rung at  12 - 14 days with Size P rings
    • (some sites say size N but size P seem a better fit the size N could be a bit neat).
  • Once they Fledge the hen may go down and lay again
  • She is capable of laying 2 - 3 clutches of eggs per season but never be allowed to lay any more.
    • The Cockbird continues to feed the youngsters for a further 2 weeks+ in the Aviary.
      • Until they are fully independent and able to feed and fend for themselves
      • At this point, if there were any problems they could be removed to a Crèche Aviary
    • the Youngsters can be identified as they are a duller colour to the adults
    • They need to be sexed via DNA - Feather or blood send to "Avian Biotech"
    • They also supply PSUK Closed Rings for your birds. (Avian ID) - same firm as above - diff. departments.
      • Avian ID, P.O. Box 107, Truro, Cornwall TR1 2YR
        Tel:  01872 262777  :  a new one that uses blood is "Polytest"

    • Unless you have 2 distinct single colours (mutations) for parents, then you can sex the Youngster
      as they will be sex-linked : > >
      • i.e. a yellow-sided cock paired with a cinnamon hen
      • Then it would follow that all the youngsters would be easily sexed:
        • i.e. all the Hens youngsters would be yellow-sided
        • All the cock-birds would be visually cinnamon (split for yellow-sided)

OBSERVATIONS - watching a Breeding pair via a Nestbox Camera

  • When I first got my young pair I thought I'd ended up with 2 hens cos they'd started to "work the nest box",
    • I knew they'd been going in the Nest box for weeks because of the feathers in there
    • But I think they must sleep/rest in there as normal.
    • First signs of impending breeding/egg laying is when they start to "work the box"
      • which they do by scraping the bedding up to leave one corner nude of bedding.
    • they lay their eggs in the cleared area - so not really sure why we put bedding in
    • - unless it just stops the eggs from rolling forward.
  •  the cockbird went into the nest and just sat as if it was a hen ready to lay - not working the box - just sitting.
    • That's why I thought I had 2 hens, as the hen was out in the Aviary and he was in the box as if he was "ready to lay" - which obviously he wasn't!!
    • I could watch what he was doing on the security cameras
  • The following day the hen was in and laid her first egg -
    • So my theory was that the cockbird was just "keeping the bed warm for his pregnant wife"!!
  • I also saw them mating in the box mid-lay i.e. she'd laid 2 eggs and then she was in sitting and he was later mating with her.
  • The cockbird feeds her in the box.
  • He does sit with her but mostly is either in the Aviary eating and keeping watch or often inside the box but sitting with his head out of the pop hole keeping watch.
  • My hen does seem to come off the eggs as soon as she hears a loud noise - she goes back fairly quickly but it worries me that the eggs may cool and not form properly
    • Time will tell  > it turned out not to be a problem - all the eggs were fertile and all hatched on time.
  • Both these birds are "First-timers"  the cock is 17months old and the hen is 14months old.
  • Another sign of impending egg-laying (with most birds) is when the hen's dropping become copious, loose
    and sloppy


  • Pineapple Conures, which are a lovely orangey variation on the Yellow-sided are produced by :
  • Combining the Yellow-sided and the Cinnamon colours
  • Other Mutations of the Green-cheeks are:
    • Blue Pineapple, Olive (Misty) Green-cheeked, Blue Yellow-sided, Blue Cinnamon & Pied Green-cheeked.                                                                                 2 Green-cheeks + Pineapple
  • It's the hen's genes that determine the sex of the youngsters
    • With a Hen - "What u see (colour-wise) is what you get"
      • By that I mean is - even if the hen's parents were a yellow-sided mum and a normal-green-cheek dad - the hen is visually a normal Green-cheek colour (same colour as her dad).
      • She has yellow-sided in her genetic make-up (from her mother) but this colour gene will only be passed on to any sons she has, who may then have the yellow-sided genes passed from her and therefore be "Split for yellow-side"
      • However, the sons will usually still be visually a normal Green-cheek (the same colour as the mum) but will carry the Grandmothers' yellow-sided gene and may pass this on to some of it's off-spring, depending on what colour hen the son is paired with.
    • So, even tho the hen has yellow-sided in her breeding she cannot produce yellow-sided
      colours unless she is paired to a Cock with Yellow-sided in it's Breeding.
    • the cock can either be visually a yellow-sided or a visual normal Green-cheek split to yellow-sided.
    • In other words the Cock birds carry the Colour Genes, so even if the cock is visually a normal
      green-cheeked colour, if it's parents or even grandparents were different colours, it can carry these colours in its genetic make-up and these colours will eventually show up in it's offspring somewhere along the line.
    • So the Cock birds are responsible for the visual colouration of the off-spring.
    • the Hens however can be any colour you like but unless they are paired up to a cockbird of the same colour or split for that colour - no chicks will be visually that colour - the young cocks can have the hens' colour gene passed onto them and can then be split for that colour but will not necessarily be that visual colour


  • The easiest way to try and get your head round this is to remember:
  • When Breeding:                                                        
    • The Young Cock birds are usually the same colour as the Hen (mum)
    • The Young hens resemble the Cock birds visual colour or a colour carried by the Cockbird in it's
      genetic make-up.
  • Put simply - In general :the young hens resemble the dads and the young cocks resemble their mums.
  • It's the Cock's that dictate the visual colouration of the youngsters
    • the Cock can be split for more that one colour and these are the colours that are visual
    • So you can get a split (carries 2 colourations) or a double-split cock (carries 3 colourations)


  • The Cinnamon mutation is sex-linked and is well established in the UK.

  • A Cinnamon bird can't produce black or grey in any colour shade.

  • Newly-hatched Cinnamon Green-cheeked are easily recognized by plum-coloured eyes that darken
    as they get older.


Link to a good site:

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