The Blue-crowned Parakeet (Aratinga acuticaudata), also known as the Blue-crowned Conure, or Sharp-tailed Conure, is a species of bird native to parts of South America, from eastern Colombia in the north to northern Argentina in the south. Its natural habitat is grassland, forest margins, and semi-arid regions. Members of the genus Aratinga are officially named parakeets by the AOU (American Ornithologist’s Union), but are sometimes referred to as conures.
This bird is about 14.5 inches in length and weighs between 4.9 and 6.7 ounces. The adult is mainly green with a long, tapered tail, black beak, and white featherless eye rings. The forehead, crown, cheeks, and ears are colored with a dull blue. The breast feathers may also have a bluish tinge. Closed wing color is similar to that of the rest of the body, however, the extended wings show a blue-brown color that becomes more chestnut colored in the outer flight feathers. The tail feathers are green above and maroon-brown below. The legs are pink-brown with grayish brown claws. The bill tapers to a needle-sharp, gray-black tip.
The Blue-crowned Parakeet’s nest is a hole in a tree. The female lays three to four white eggs and incubates them for 26 days. The chicks fledge from the nest about 52 days after hatching. This is a social bird, but is a quite poor talker. It is popular in the pet trade as it is very intelligent, has high-energy, and loves to play and get attention. They can be loud at times as well. They do require attentive care and are more appropriate for serious bird enthusiasts rather than the casual bird keeper.
This species has seen fame, most notably as the title character in the 1998 film Paulie. The movie used 14 birds to play the role of the talking parrot and caused a surge in popularity of these birds as pets. This species has also played a prominent role in the documentary
The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill. The movie spends much of its time following Connor, a lonely Blue-crown Conure in a mixed flock of Cherry-headed and Mitred Conures.