The sun conure (Aratinga solstitialis) is a medium-sized parakeet found in northern South America. A strikingly- colored bird, the pet trade was responsible for the species decline to the point where there are now more birds in captivity than there are in the wild.
Sun conures are about 12 inches in length, head to tip of tail. The mature adult bird is predominantly yellow, with a face mask and lower chest of reddish orange; the combination of the two colors gives the bird its name. Primaries, secondaries, and tail feathers are green with blue tinging. Young birds are mostly green in color, giving way to yellow as they mature.
Little is known of sun conure behavior in the wild; what is known may be information based on studies of the related sulphur-breasted parakeet. In captivity they have been observed laying eggs in clutches of between 3-5, with an incubation period of 23 days. Young birds reach maturity at 2 years, and they have been known to live over thirty years.
Sun conures prefer dry, semi-deciduous forests in which to nest, feed, and use for cover. They will at times take advantage of forest edges and clearings, and will fly across open savannahs between hills, as long as there is a forested area to quickly escape into.
In captivity, sun conures (the term "conure" describes New World parakeets of the Tribe Arini) are inquisitive and curious. If properly tamed, they make loving pets, and can be taught to mimic human words and phrases as well as do tricks. But it is the pet trade which caused a marked decrease in numbers throughout their wild range during the past three decades; once found throughout the Guiana Highlands and northern Brazil into Venezuela, sun conures are now only found in small numbers in central Guyana and the Brazilian state of Roraima. Easily caught in the wild with simple bait traps, the total wild population has been reduced to an estimated 4,000 individual birds, with some 90% in Brazil.