Q. I have a pair of sun conures that had five chicks. The babies grew and feathered in just beautifully. However, the babies all look very different in their coloring. Two chicks have so many yellow feathers that they look very much like their parents. One has some yellow feathering, and the other two have almost no yellow feathers at all, they are very green. Why are they so different in their coloring? Will the ones with more yellow feathering be yellower adult birds when they color up?
A: Many new sun conure owners have asked this very same question because they purchase a young, immature feathered chick from a pet store. A sun conure’s juvenile coloring has no impact on its adult coloring. All babies are colored differently, with various amounts of yellow feathering. I have seen sun babies from the same clutch that vary from almost all yellow as chicks to all green in coloring. Their vivid adult plumage can come in as early as a year or as late as more than 2 years of age. This, too, can vary with each individual pet bird.
Once the sun conures get their adult plumage, they all will pretty much look the same. Keep in mind, adult full-colored sun conures are colored somewhat differently. The yellow markings can vary from bird to bird. Some are more yellow, where others may have more of an orange coloring. We have some adults that have what I call a “clear wing” — where their flight feathers are solid white/yellow, instead of blue. We have kept back enough young of our offspring, and we have seen that the amount of yellow in young chicks does not impact the future amount of yellow on the adult bird. Even the all-green chicks of ours have colored up into beautiful yellow birds. All pure sun conure chicks will color up into their normal yellow coloring, with greens and blues and some orange, as they get their adult plumage, no matter what their immature coloring is. Just think of these chicks as ugly ducklings, soon to turn into beautiful swans!