Maroon Bellied Conure
(Status in the UK)
Two of the three forms of Maroon Bellied conure have been well represented in the UK. The nominated form frontalis frontalis & sub-species frontalis chiripepe, the latter being the most common to be found in the UK when these birds were popular. The third subspecies frontalis devillei (formally known as the Blaze-winged) to the best of my knowledge has not been kept in captivity.
Frontalis frontalis was the most common, but when frontalis chiripepe appeared on the market it became quite sort after, and the nominated form frontalis frontalis seemed to fade out for a while. Also as new & rare species of Pyrrhura's appeared on the market the Maroon Bellied became a little neglected as breeders tended to keep the more expensive types, which is understandable as the new & rare cost the same to feed/keep as the 'cheaper' Maroon Bellied. Regrettably something which I am guilty off, and often wished I kept my maroon's.
I have kept both sub-species and found both sub-species easy to breed. My birds I held at the time were kept as always in outdoors 6x3ft flights with a frost-free shelter attached where food was provided. I hang the nest box in the outside flight with cherry & plum twigs provided inside for them to chew and bed down for the eggs. I found they usually laid 4/5 eggs and parent reared with no problems.
The status now is both sub-species can not be found in the pure forms easily in the UK.
They are ideal for a beginner to the Pyrrhura world as they are free breeders given the right conditions.
The purity of some birds available is questionable now, as crosses between the two sub-species have been frequent. Also I have witnessed on many occasions at show/sale days I have attended, Maroon Bellied x Green Cheeked crosses these birds are worthless to the serious breeder. I have also seen Maroon Bellied and Green Cheeks being sold as proven pairs which is quite irresponsible if the seller knowingly does this.
The main features to tell the differences between the two available sub-species apart is:
Frontalis frontalis: a green tail merging into maroon towards the end of the tail, usually about 1 to 2 inches.
Frontalis chiripepe: a complete golden olive tail getting more yellow towards the tip, also the maroon on the belly is not so abundant in the birds i seen imported. This sub-specie can also be seen with wing-shoulders edged with yellow flecks. Some birds can be found to have red as well as yellow flecks like the one in the background of the photo(below) but note it's not often seen.
Even though they are not the most colourful of the Pyrrhura group, they are a nice suttle addition to any collection with their almost all emerald green plumage when seen in sunlight.