Last Updated on July 19, 2023 by Ali Shahid
Sun Conures are famous for their stunning yellow plumage. But have you ever thought of a Sun Conure with translucent red feathers? Yes, it is real. Red factor Sun Conure sometimes referred to as red Sun Conure, is a very rare but dominant mutation of the Sun Conure.
In this mutation, the normal yellow color of the sun conures plumage changes to reddish-orange. This color intensity varies from very dark to medium dark and light red. The red factor sun conure has gained a great deal of popularity since its appearance, particularly in the continental United States.
Red Factor Sun Conure
Normally, this mutation does not affect anything other than the coloration of the sun conure. The diet, personality, talking ability, training, and noise level are all the same.
However, the dark red conure has a metabolic disease that could prove fatal. Continue reading to know everything you need to know about this fascinating yet rare mutation of the sun conure.
|Overview of Red Factor Sun Conure|
|Scientific Name||Aratinga Solstitialis|
|Personality||Charming, Playful, friendly, Energetic, Comical|
Origin and History
The sun conure originated in South America, but a new color mutation on the island of Hawaii, called the “red factor,” was discovered almost two decades ago. These beautiful gems have been collected by breeders and pet owners since then.
Red factor sun conures are still uncommon in comparison to normal sun conures, but they have attracted the attention of breeders and bird enthusiasts.
Although this mutation may occur in the wild, no report has been made because it is extremely difficult to study sun conures in the wild.
Size and Appearance
Red factor sun conures are the same size and weight as sun conures, which measure 12 inches in length and weigh approximately 3.5-4.5 ounces.
A distinctive feature of the red factor sun conure is its reddish-orange translucent wash that partially replaces the original yellow hue normally seen in sun conures.
The intensity of this distinct coloration can vary, ranging from a deep reddish-orange to a moderate shade of the same hue. On occasion, a faint “light red” tone may appear, creating a pale red-orange wash that closely resembles a more vibrant normal sun.
Following their first molt during young adulthood, these birds exhibit a fascinating dappling effect over their back feathers.
As they mature, these individuals typically undergo a slight fading process, resulting in adult birds with a medium orange-red hue. Despite this fading, they remain easily distinguishable from sun conures’ conventional coloration.
How to Identify If your chick is Sun Conure or Red Factor Sun Conure?
In the early stages of pin feathering, it is possible to tell whether you have a baby red factor sun conure or an Original Sun conure. In the juvenile, you will see a blue-red tint at the tips of the emerging feathers on the head, eventually turning reddish-orange.
Additionally, a reddish-orange layer appears over the yellow coloration in the upper wing coverts and back, which also exhibits varying degrees of visibility at this early stage.
As these birds mature, you will see adults displaying a relatively consistent reddish-orange appearance, with minor variations. However, certain individuals may exhibit a deeper red-orange shade or a lighter red-orange tone.
Genetics of the Red Factor Sun Conure
The inheritance of the red factor in Sun Conures follows an intriguing genetic pattern. It appears to be a dominant trait that is not linked to the sex chromosomes. This means that both males and females can possess the visual red factor to carry the color genes.
Additionally, either parent has the potential to pass on the color gene to their offspring. In addition, I want to point out that Sun Conures without the visual red factor cannot carry the gene in a hidden or recessive form since red factor inheritance follows a dominant pattern. In other words, there are no splits of this mutation.
Even if two Sun Conures have reddish appearances, but they are visually normal, they will not produce offspring with the red factor. The occurrence of the red factor in offspring is dependent on the presence of at least one visually red factor parent.
However, it is speculated that offspring of a red factor paired with a normal Sun Conure might have more coloration, suggesting the red factor affects the color of normal offspring. Nonetheless, this outcome is likely to be influenced by the individual birds involved.
While certain pairs may produce more pronounced early coloration, it does not necessarily indicate a noticeable difference in adult coloration.
Dark Red Factor Sun Conure (A lethal Variation)
Indeed, humans cannot be satisfied. Although we get a red factor conure with a reddish-orange color, people attempt to produce offspring with a dark red color. To achieve this, they cross two red factor sun conures. In pursuit of this objective, breeders cross two red-factor Sun Conures.
A breeding program that combines two colorful red factors may produce more colorful offspring, but it appears to be more complicated than that.
When crossing two red-factor Sun Conures, the color appears to reach a saturation point at which it becomes “excessive.” The resulting offspring exhibit a “dark red” coloration, with the yellow hue being largely replaced.
Consequently, the wings, for instance, take on an almost orange tint. It has been suggested by some that these offspring are “double-factor,” but this notion is conceptually flawed.
When two red-factor Sun Conures breed and produce “dark red” offspring, it indicates metabolic dysfunction, not true double-factor inheritance. Around 8 to 10 weeks of age, instead of progressing normally, these “dark reds” experience a decline in motor function.
Eventually, they become unable to fly or feed independently. Regretfully, these youngsters typically require euthanasia around 4 months of age.
Autopsies reveal brain lesions and abnormal spleens, leading veterinarians to hypothesize that the abnormal feather color is an expression of a genetic metabolic imbalance. At present, it remains unknown whether it is possible to overcome this issue and produce surviving “dark red” birds.
How to Get a Red Factor Sun Conure? (Red-factor Sun Conure Breeding)
Breeding two Sun Conures with deeper red factor traits typically results in offspring with a deeper red coloration. However, it’s important to note that there is also a likelihood of producing undesirable “dark red” offspring.
Consequently, pursuing such breeding is at the discretion of the individual breeder, considering the distressing experience of euthanizing a young bird.
On the other hand, breeding a visually normal Sun Conure with a red factor Sun Conure is expected to yield predominantly medium-colored red offspring, with occasional variations of darker or lighter shades.
In my own experience, medium coloration appears to be the most common outcome from a pairing of a normal Sun Conure and a red factor individual. As color inheritance appears to be cumulative, breeding light reds with medium or deep reds may be the next logical step.
It focuses on achieving consistent deeper coloration without producing the metabolically-challenged “dark red” offspring. This allows breeders to explore ways to maximize color intensity while ensuring the overall health and well-being of the resulting progeny.
Red Factor Sun Conure for Sale and Price
Acquiring a Red Factor Sun Conure requires a remarkable level of dedication and perseverance. This mutation is extremely elusive, making it challenging to find. Unlike standard Sun Conures, which cost approximately $700, the Red Factor Sun Conure can cost up to $1,500.
When embarking on the search for this unique bird, professional breeders are likely to be your best resource. These experienced breeders have the knowledge and expertise necessary to locate and provide access to this rare gem.
One reputable online store known for offering such exceptional mutations is Parrotstars. While currently out of stock, it is worth keeping a vigilant eye on this website, as a red factor Sun Conure may soon become available. If your interest in owning a red factor Sun Conure is genuine, regularly monitoring this site will be essential.
Ali Shahid is a veterinarian by profession and an animal lover. He loves to give expert opinions about different animals. He has worked in top organization of birds like Bigbird Feed and Poultry Research institute. He loves birds, especially parrots and has great experience in different parrot farms.