What is it like owning a Green Cheek Conure?

These are all replies I got on a thread I posted on Avian Avenue asking other bird owners what is it like to own a green cheek conure.

It’s amazing! I will always have one for the rest of my life, Nala is the perfect Fid. She is playful on her terms, snuggle, and such a little clown. She will hang upside down from the cage top and shriek at me to let her out, and as soon as she is she will fly to my shoulder and snuggle in my hair. She’s so easy to please with her love of toys that she can just smash around her cage. – April

Green cheeks really aren’t that difficult, any more than any other small bird, honestly. They’re a bit nippy for the first year, then again around 3, but otherwise they’re intelligent, curious, sweet birds. I’ve yet to have any really bad experiences with mine, fair warning they can turn into serious velcro birds, but mine isn’t so tightly bonded to me that it doesn’t like anyone else, frankly he likes everyone with a finger that can get him out of his cage and let them nibble (read bite really hard) on their ears. They cuddle and explore a lot and are pretty fearless, which may be an issue for some, but mine has never gotten into any trouble because of it.

I don’t think you can go wrong with a GCC. – Brian

I agree, they are no harder then any other bird, actually I find much easier because their bites cannot do as much damage as a macaw or similar sized bird.

They are very active little guys (or girls) LOL and love human attention. If raised properly, they can be very well balanced with playtime and snuggle time. The biggest mistake that many conure owners make is giving the bird all the attention at first but once the newness wears off, they don’t get as much but the bird is already bonded. Then you can get screaming and plucking and the owner doesn’t know what they’ve done. This can happen for any birds but I find the conures are much more socially adaptable to humans than quite a few other species.

If trained properly, they do love to snuggle, sometimes in your shirt if you allow it. They love to play and are truly little clowns. Their loudness depends on each bird. I found my GCC wasn’t that loud but others say theirs are. They can be very good chewers for being such a small one. If trained properly in the beginning, they can and do enjoy a good variety of diet. I know my little guy used to rush out to the kitchen when I came home with groceries because he always knew there was something there for him. They are extremely intelligent and even though not common, they can learn quite a few words and short phrases. They are becoming better talkers then most people think though their voices make it hard to understand all that they are saying. They have tiny, screechy little voices.

They do go through nippy stages but if an owner knows how to deal with it properly, it usually fades. This is the time to not start bad habits like mentioned above with the cuddling. Given the wrong body language, it could start the bird to become nippy because he got a reaction or he liked what happened when he acted that way so he will do it again. Persistant and understanding who they are is very important.

I find their care and understanding is no different then the others. Raised properly, the rewards will outweigh the disadvantages. – Delta


My GCC is very much a cling on! He is not super active like most! He mainly wants to hang on you wherever you go!! He talks, and is soo funny. He does make me laugh every day! I luv him! He can be nippy when he doesn’t get his way, but he never bites very hard anymore. He will be 3 in Oct. – carkam

Just wait, he’s probably going to go through another nippy stage as those hormones kick in, but it will pass. My GCC is a speed demon, he can’t fly but he can run really, really fast. He’ll follow you from room to room if you let him and if you’re laying on the couch or something and he’s down by your foot, you look down and he’ll be racing up your leg. Makes you want to hum the theme from Jaws. – Brian

They are tons of fun and are very friendly, affectionate, outgoing and playful. They are a big bird in a little body to sum them up, and they always want to be center of attention. I love my 2 GCCs, they so goofy and funny, they never fail to make you laugh, even the littlest things they do have you in tears of laughter. – Renae

HUGE personalities in an itty bitty bundle of feathers! My Hippo is a real velcro bird, and, now that she’s flighted, loves flying after me everywhere I go. She’s also a snuggle bug, and loves to snuggle under the blanket with me during nap time (well, *her* nap time, not mine b/c I’m afraid of rolling over on her, lol). She loves telling me that my food really actually belongs to her, and won’t hesitate to nab something out of my hand if she sees something she likes. Sometimes I feel like I’m chasing after a sugar high 3-year-old around the apartment, especially when I’m trying to put her to bed. Yes, she does get nippy, and had days when all she wanted to do was shred some fingers, but I still wouldn’t give her up for the world! – Alice

They live up to their name…cheeky!

Independent, fierce, obnoxious, amazing, goofy, smart, not too loud, playful, onery….

I love my green cheeks more than anything. – Amanda

They are amazing birds. Our family favorite really…shhhhhhhhhh. I’ve had two in 30yrs of bird ownership & when it’s time for Melon to go, I will get another one. That is one bird I could not live without. They can be nippy as ALL birds can be & go through stages. A little patience & some training & they are just wonderful!!! – Tracy

Connie is our sweetest bird of the 3, she is very cute and says “Step up” and “Kiss, kisses.” She can sit on my hand for hours and watch TV with me. She can be a bit stubborn at times and want to do things on her own terms. She can also be a bit nippy, but most of the time she is a little angel. I love Connie so much I’ve seriously considered getting another GCC if I get another bird or at least another pyhurra conure (I really think the black capped conures are attractive and very similar to GCC). Connie is definitely quieter than our other birds, but she does have some loud moments. – Tom Santomartino

If you can imagine owning a feathered wind-up toy on speed, that would be a gcc. Non-stop action, continuous motion, perpetually curious to the point of being absurd, confrontational beyond belief (will face up to bigger birds without a second thought) and absolute comedy relief all at the same time.

Yes, they can be nippy sometimes specially when they want or don’t want to do something (which you want them to do) but when you cup one in your hand, cover its back with your other hand and stroke its head while you watch it fall asleep your heart melts. And I have to admit that feathers do feel pretty slinky against bare skin when they decide to climb up a sleeve or up/down a front. I have 4 – mom, dad, daughter and son. – Sandra


I have a four month old Green Cheek named Westley. He’s super cuddly and loves the whole family. He’s intelligent, cute and funny. But, he has temper tantrums sometimes and bites. Though the bites obviously don’t hurt more then the African grey, they do hurt more then the budgie’s bites. Our cockatiel never bites, so I can’t compare his bites to the cockatiel. He’s a little firecracker and can tire you out. He’s harder to own then Afie! But then he cuddles up to you and it’s all worth it. He’s still a baby though and is still learning the “rules”.

Oh one more thing, he used to attack our other birds, even Afie! After we clipped hs wings, we haven’t had any more problems. – Kiersten


You really cant go wrong with a greenie. They have such amazingly strong personalities and quirks that you forget they can fit in the palm of your hand. They tend to want to be with you as much as possible, but it takes some training to get them to be independent. They’re sweet, fun, playful, can be nippy, but it’s rarely hard enough to really bother. They’ll play with just about anything and have a great time even when left alone. Lafayette though is like an ADD riddled kid who’s snorted pixie stix and has been told he’s going to disney world. SO..much…hyper. – Kristen

It sounds like everyone covered all the good and bad points. Beautiful pics of everyones babies too i must say. I have had my baby for about a month. He seems very goofy but smart. Temper tantrums yes he definately has his moments. I am always entertained and would really like to breed them one day. I have a lot to learn before i get to that stage though. I don’t think you will be dissappointed, they are so much fun. – Shelly Foss

They are great starter parrots but definitely not starter birds. You already have start birds out of the way so why not?
Even when they get loud, it’s not really enough for a neighbor in another unit to issue a noise complaint unless the windows are wide open.
The girls are still young. Jak is 1 yr old in a week or so and Koi was born in January. They are complete opposites. I have a very weird parenting style. Koi throws tantrums when I physically have to tell her to stop trying to pick the keys off my netbook so I pick her up, tell her I don’t care for the attitude and go OM NOM NOM with my mouth to her side. When she won’t step or is running away from me < “I’m going to eat you!” and flip her belly up in my hand, then upside down from my hand, then capture and kiss kiss kiss at her shoulder with a “kissy kissy”.
She’s a hyper little spaz that has a death wish and her mind made up. She’ll groom Jak and then take her foot and smack her with it over and over for fun to try to get her to play back. She steals things from her. She’ll fly across the living room if I don’t get her food soon enough. It’s basically her way.

Jak, on the other hand, is a quiet reserved little moca. Her temper tantrums were before we got Koi and because she was lonely with us in the other room so it’s rather obnoxious ‘CONTACT CALLING’. When Koi messes with her too much she will run after her with her neck puffed out and the feathers flat on the top of her head.

They are both so different. They are also both young. I have no idea what they are going to be like when I get into my 30s. – Kayla


The GCC nip isn’t bad at all–it’s hard to quantify how hard it is. The fact that they are affectionate I consider to be a plus. If you don’t want the bird to become like velcro, you simply need to have a playstand outside their cage and encourage them to play indepently; rotate toys on it and praise the bird when it plays with the toys, leave a special treat on the stand for it. Don’t pick up the bird every time it vocalizes, when the bird is quiet tell it what a good bird it is. It’s true that Connie would sit on my hand for hours, but she’s fine with being put in her cage again, and sometimes she will “ask” to go back to her cage by leaning and bobing her head towards the cage or play stand. Out of our 3 birds, she definitely is the easiest to deal with–although she doesn’t usually like to be picked up from inside her cage, she perfers to come out on her own and then I can easily pick per up. Connie is a yellow sided Green Cheek.

One thing I’ve noticed is that I don’t see GCCs on Petfinder.com or rescue websites–it seems like once people get them they are more likely to keep them. Unlike more demanding parrots or very loud ones like Sun and Jenday Conures. I don’t think you can go wrong with a GCC if you like birds and you should be able to tollerate a little nip once in a while. All birds can nip if they feel threatened.

If you are looking for a bird that is sweet when hand raised and easy to care for you may want to consider a cockatiel. I had 2 cockatiels over a period of 20 years and they can be sweet and affectionate when hand raised. They are not demanding and are contented entertaining themselves for hours. I had a parent raised male and a hand fed female, the female was a lovely, affectionate creature with no aggressive tendancies. I can’t even remember her biting me once. The parent raised male was sometimes agressive but rarely nippy; he would go through hormal periods in the summer sometimes, but he usually took that out on one of his toys. The males can imitate whistles and even learn a few word. Females usually don’t talk. – Tom Santomartino


Out of all my birds, my GCC Frodo is probably the one I’m closest with. He would cuddle all day if I allowed him to, but he is also very content with playing by himself with toys. He has one hang up, though, and that is that he will be very aggressive towards anyone(except me) who tries to hold him or scratch his head. Although GCC‘s bites don’t hurt as much as a bigger bird, Frodo can still pack quite the punch. He has attacked my sister once and left bruises all the way up her arm. He has never drawn blood, though.

As for the budgies being out with the GCC, I wouldn’t allow/risk it. I have budgies and my GCC could easily do a lot of damage to them if bothered. – Morghen


Connie is a very social bird, she will pretty much go to anyone, when ever we have company I have them hold her so that she will remain social to a variety of people. Sammy is pretty much the same way, although he is shy around other people. Ollie is the problem child, I’m the only one who can handle him. If you’re worried about nips, definitely don’t get a Jardine. – Tom Santomartino

Green cheeks are super birds! Adorable, loving, silly, rude, smart, cuddly, etc. I have a Timneh grey too, and I find my GCC to be so much more lively, bold, fun-loving, and he learns faster too! He learned target clicker training in approximately 23 seconds. He is also obnoxious to the other bird, chases the cats (always supervised with the other pets, of course), and rides around on the dogs, so has to be watched every second. Mine says his name, his nickname, “night night” and “go to sleep!” in his little gravelly voice. I wouldn’t trade that little punk for anything. – Gennifer

Its definatly something to teach any parrot,but in Nala’s case she wasnt a big toy player when I adopted her. But I was thankfully able to teach her to like toy’s finally,and she’s always been really good about doing her own thing,but if we are in the middle of cuddling,she doesnt seem to mind if I have to stop and put her in her cage. She will then just start to eat or preen. Thanks,I also love her really red belly  – April

You know, my little GCC is probably my favorite bird ever, of all the birds I have ever owned. Conures in general rock my world and GCCs offer the very best of the species without the brain rattling of the bigger guys. I have a really special love for Quakers too so this is hard to admit LOL.

Sparrow is just a beeb, so I’ve only had him a couple months. He is my one true love! He is SO sweet and SO funny and so gentle with my kids. He is playful like a puppy and as snuggly as anything. He is accepting of everyone but is a Mama’s boy when it is all said and done.

As for caring for him, he is a breeze. He eats whatever I give him, has never pooped in his water, and rarely poops on me. He is hell on his toys but I make a lot of them so that isn’t so bad. He isn’t loud or messy. He is the perfect parrot for our household. – Julie


My GCC is great! Such huge personality in a little body. They can be loud at times, but usually it’s just a couple times a day, depends on the household. Nippy also, but that comes with the territory. You will surely enjoy your GCC if you do get one. – Krystal


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