Sun Conure Head Bobbing


New member
Apr 23, 2019
Hello all,
I am very concerned for my sun conure Papaya, he is four months and since last night he has been doing this weird aggressive head bob as if he is trying to throw up. I am not sure what to do as I read head bobbing is normal but it looks so uncomfortable. Here is a video of him doing it:

[ame=""]Head bobbing - YouTube[/ame]
Towards the end, around 0:38, he is trying to regurgitate.
Parrots do that for their bird-partners or people they like, in this case you.
Yup, that is a regurge comming up ... somebody likes you!
that "airboxing with the head" is normal when they get into that.
no conures here but.
I think you should find some music to dub over the video.
Seem like regurgitate to me, too. Of course it depends on situation.
Cytrynka when regurgitates, bobs her head to bring some mushy stuff she tries to feed someone. At the end, she eats it back herself.
Btw, looking at Papaya's colors, she looks more like a Jenday to me than the Sun.
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I always wondered if he was a sun conure because although he is only four months he does not resemble a sun conure that much from his colors so I figured he could be a Jenday but the store I bought him from told me he was a sun conure. Thank you!
I agree, it does look much more like a Jenday NOW, but we need to also remember that this bird is only 4 months-old, so those are the baby-feathers, and the adult-plumage won't be nearly the same, and you'll have to wait until the bird is around a year-old and fully goes-through the first big molt and it's adult-plumage grows-in before you'll be able to be sure...But I agree with Aratingettar, if I had to take a guess right now, I'd say it's a Jenday...

***As far as the "head-bobbing" goes....First of all, the "head-swaying" thing is totally normal, as called "air-boxing" above...The actual head-bobbing and regurgitating at the very end of the video could go either way to be honest with you...I've got 2 concerns about this: #1 is that this bird is only 4 months-old, so there's no way he/she is hormonal right now (if the age of 4 months-old is actually correct), and though some baby/juvenile birds do sometimes start regurgitating very young, it's not very common, and it usually means that the bird has something either inside of it's cage, or has access to some place outside of it's cage, that is causing early "Nesting" behavior; and then #2 the amount of stuff that the bird suddenly brings-up after the head-bobbing, along with it's consistancy is not typical of what comes-up when a bird regurgitates.

Usually when a bird "regurgitates" for it's mate or for it's person, and it's due to either hormonal-behavior, nesting-behavior, etc., they only bring-up very small bits of solid, white material; maybe it's just the video, but it's looks like your bird brought-up what looks more like vomit to me, rather than regurgitation. It looks like what the bird brought-up was liquidy/frothy/foamy, not solid, and it looked like it was quite a bit of stuff, not the typical couple little bits of solid, white material/partially-digested food from it's crop like they usually do when they regurgitate...The only reason It appears to be regurgitation is because it's preceded by the "air-boxing" just prior to doing it...

It's possible that your bird just really brings-up a lot of material, more than most birds do, and that he/she is bringing-up liquid too, because he/she is just really regurgitating with a lot of force, causing liquid/froth to also come-up...It's just really hard to tell. But because your bird is only 4 months-old, if he/she is in-fact regurgitating already, there is some reason why it is happening so early, as they typically don't go through puberty until they are at least around a year-old, and even if they go through puberty early, that's typically 7-8 months old, not 4 months-old.

****Does your Conure have anything inside of her cage like one of those "Happy/Snuggle Huts", or anything like a Tent, a Hammock, a Bed of any kind, or a Box of any kind, or anything else that gives him/her a small, dark place that the bird can inside of or underneath? How about anything in the bottom of the cage that could be viewed as or used as "Nesting-Material", such as any type of animal/rodent bedding, wood-chips, shredded-paper bedding, corn-cob bedding, crushed-walnuts, bark/mulch, etc.? Or does your bird go underneath of any furniture when he/she is out of her cage? Behind pillows? Underneath blankets or towels?

Do you ever pet your bird anywhere other than on the head, face, or the neck? (such as on the back, the wings, under the wings, on the belly/chest, on the legs, tail, or anywhere near or around the Vent) Do you ever allow your bird to crawl inside of your shirt and cuddle with you? Or do you ever wrap your bird up in a towel, blanket, etc. and hold them/cradl;e them?

****If the answer to any of these questions is "Yes", then you've found the reason why your only 4 month-old Conure is already displaying hormonal-behavior, which is not a good thing to have happen so early in your bird's life at all, Especially if your bird is a female! (I didn't catch whether or not you know the sex of your bird, meaning you've had a DNA-test done or you got a DNA--certificate when you bought your bird) It's not good to put any bird into sexual-maturity so young or to encourage it, but for females it's very, very bad and dangerous, because along with hormonal-behavior/triggering comes the laying of Eggs, which can become chronic/continual very easily, and this is not at all good for the bird, as they easily and often become malnourished, nutritionally-deficient in vitamins, minerals, protein, etc., and most-concerning is the risk of the bird becoming Egg-Bound with every single Egg they produce, and which is pretty-much always fatal without immediate medical-intervention...So you definitely want to make sure that you're not doing anything to encourage hormonal-behavior in your bird, and if you are you want to stop those behaviors, and remove anything from your bird's cage immediately that is creating a small, dark place or a "nesting" situation; this is the most-common reason for early and chronic hormonal-behavior in pet-birds, all of the Beds, Tents, Hammocks, and especially those "Happy/Snuggle Huts" that have also killed thousands of pet birds for other, non-related issues with their design and the material they are made of.
@EllenD initally I thought the bird was older, since (s)he displayed some nesting behaviour ("regurgitation").
I'm not sure if Papaya actually brought anything after head-bobbing (last few sec of the video). My first impression was indeed quite a bit of SOMETHING, but after zooming the video I can say that what I originally took as "the stuff" was actually a reflection of the light on the lower mandible..
Well that's good if that's what it was, because usually when a bird brings-up that much stuff, and it's liquidy instead of solid, it's actually "vomiting" and not regurgitating...

Papaya could very well be older than 4 months, that happens quite often when people are told inaccurate information by the breeder or pet store, and unless you got a Hatch-Certificate with him then you've got no real way of knowing, except to wait and see how old he is when he starts his first molt...If he's already truly in-puberty then he's older than 4 months for sure...

That all being said, you still need to make sure that you don't have anything inside of his cage, outside of cage, etc. that is causing his sex-hormones to go crazy, because the head-bobbing/regurgitating is definitely sex-hormones. And again, you don't want to encourage his sex-hormones at all, because it brings along with it aggression, biting, eradic behavior, and Egg-laying in females...
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Papaya actually did not bring up anything when he was doing the head bobbing, thank God because I would have taken him to the vet if so. He has done this before and nothing came up either. As for the petting, I did not know about this. I do pet him on his back and on his chest and legs. I actually do not know if Papaya is a girl or boy, I just say he. He does bite a lot and does not step up whatsoever. He is not cuddly or even that friendly. Loves to be on top of his cage and not with people even me. He does not have any dark place like a nest or anything like that.
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Also when I got Papaya he was apparently three months old, that was February so if that is correct he is almost six months old. When I got Papaya he had just been weaned off hand feeding so he was truly a baby.
Unfortunately, if he's a She then it's possible. Read SunnyGirl's story of an egg-bound conure with a happy ending, and you'll learn a lot on their hormonal habits.

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