Animal-World > Birds > Conures > Red-masked Conure

Red-masked Conure

Cherry-headed Conure, Red-headed Conure

Family: Psittacidae "Lola" is a Red-masked Conure, also referred to as a Cherry-headed Conure or Red-headed Conure!"Lola"Aratinga erythrogenysPhoto Courtesy: Diane at Exotic Birds Unlimited
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I do have a cherry headed conure as well and I got him as a gift 30 years ago and the personalities they have are amazing. My pal is named Charlie the bird. But at... (more)  alice

   "Lola is such a happy little bird! She is a DNA sexed female Cherry-headed Conure and she eats Zupreem Pellets. She doesn't talk but is very playful!"..Diane

      The Red-masked Conure or Cherry-headed Conure is an affectionate and playful coompanion bird. When they are hand raised they have no fear of people and will quickly become 'one of the bunch'. They make a wonderful pet!

   Besides being very intelligent and loveable, the Red-masked Conure or Cherry-headed Conure is a real clown and loves to show off. They are easy to tame and are good talkers. They do however have a grating call and can get quite loud. They also love to play and chew, so be sure to provide them with lots of wooden toys to keep them well occupied.

   The Red-masked Conure is the bird most often referred to when describing the Cherry Headed Conure, however it is one of four conures that are sometimes called the Cherry-headed Conure. This group of red-headed conures includes the Wagner's Conure, the Mitred Conure, the Finsch's Conure, and of course the Red-masked Conure.

   This confusion usually happens because these conures can look very similar when they are juveniles. Though generally beyond six months they can be distinguished, It does takes several years for them to get their full coloration, and then they are much easier to identify. The Red-masked Conure is the smallest and is the most colorful of these four red-headed conures.

For more information about the care of Conures see:
Guide to a Happy, Healthy Conure

Geographic Distribution
Aratinga erythrogenys
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Data provided by
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Psittaciformes
  • Family: Psittacidae
  • Genus: Aratinga
  • Species: erythrogenys

Scientific name: Aratinga erythrogenys

Distribution:    The Red-masked Conure or Cherry-headed Conure is found in the arid zones of western Ecuador and northwestern parts of Peru. They inhabit open forests or the forest edge and are sometimes found near towns.

Description:   This conure has a beautiful green plumage that is paler and more yellowish on the underside. Except for the back half of the cheeks the whole head is red, completely encircling the eyes and often on the throat and neck as well. There is also red on the shoulders, underside of the wings and the thighs. The eye is yellow surrounded by a naked, creamy white eye ring. The beak is horn colored and the legs are gray.
   Young Red-masked Conure's have gray eyes and lack the red on the head.

Size - Weight:    The Red-masked Conure will reach up to 13 inches (33 cm) and weigh 5.8 - 6.5 ozs (164 - 184 g).

Care and feeding:   A roomy cage is required unless the bird is to be let out for extended periods. Many birds can spend most of their time on a play pen or parrot perch. They eat a variety of seeds, nuts, fruits, and commercial pellets, as well as the same nutritional foods humans eat.
   See About Conures: Housing and About Conures: Care and Feeding for more information.

Social Behaviors:    These birds make a very warm and friendly pet.

Breeding/Reproduction:    The Red-Masked Conure breeds readily in captivity, though generally in the hotter part of the year. The female will lay between 3 to 4 eggs which will incubate for about 23 to 25 days. The young will fledge at about 6 weeks and be fully weaned by 11 or 12 weeks. The breeding box should be about 10" (25 cm) by 11" (28 cm) and 21" (53 cm) deep, with a 4 1/2" (11 cm) entrance.

Potential Problems:    As with many Aratinga species, Red-masked Conures or Cherry-headed Conures can be quite noisy.
   See About Conures: Potential Problems for more information.

Availability:   This bird is fairly available. Your best bet is to find one at a pet store or reputable breeder.

Activities:  Loves to climb and play. Provide lots of toys.

Author: Clarice Brough, CAS
Lastest Animal Stories on Red-masked Conure

alice - 2014-03-25
I do have a cherry headed conure as well and I got him as a gift 30 years ago and the personalities they have are amazing. My pal is named Charlie the bird. But at times he will tell you he is Chuck or sometimes Charles, we have no idea where those names came from. But will only respond when you agree with him. He also calls the cat or dogs over with the promise of a peanut only to be rewarded with a nip and a laugh.

Susan - 2014-03-22
I got a Cherry Head when he was a few months old. Now he's 18 months, very social and has a vocab of about 45 words. We never taught him to talk or played tapes, he just picked up what we say to him, things like, What are ya doing, you want a nut, you want a banana, you want to give me a kiss. He has a large cage but spends most of the day playing on his Jungle Gym on top of his cage in our Lanai. He's very friendly to family, but not strangers, he also will not talk when strangers are around. We love him to death, but people should not get a parrot because they are pretty and they talk. Parrots are a lot of work, more work than my 2 dogs, they are very messy, need sun and light, fresh fruit, healthy food, and they are noisy. Also, you need to spend a lot of time with them, or they will have problems.

pat - 2013-11-15
we have had our red capped conure over 25 yrs and yes -I did call a rescue center about 10 yrs ago and it is true, you are responsible for your bird till death do you part-you or the bird. do not make a hasty decision on getting a 'sweet adorable little bird' unless you intend on being there for them--raising children and grandkids are easier and will be quiet when asked

Heather - 2013-02-01
Can I keep a female cherry headed conure and a male indian ring neck in the same cage? Will they bond, or will they fight?

  • Jasmine Brough Hinesley - 2013-02-01
    It's probably not an ideal situation. However, if you keep their cages next to each other for a while and they seem to be friendly then you could try introducing them. If they don't fight right away you could try to keep them together. Just watch for any signs of aggressiveness.
elisea - 2010-03-03
How do you know if it's a girl or boy?

  • Anonymous - 2012-12-22
    Hello there! I wrote about my red-masked conure last year. I volunteer at the local bird santuary here in Indiana. I love Pete to pieces. He is like sunshine in the mornirng, although some 'She' turns pretty mean and want to attack everybody in the household. His botton started to get huge and red, I was fearful that 'She' was going to die and was searching for answers. She enjoy being on the empty pizza boxes, finally I remove the boxes thinking it was irritating her botton. Last night when I got home she laid 2 non fertile eggs. Her name now is not Peter, now she is Pretty Priscilla. By the way is very detrimental to their health to lay eggs, my uncle John she needs calcium shells and other nutrients. Some people can tell just by examining their physical features by looking at the eyes or the color of their beaks, plumage,etc. If you take you red headed conure to an expert avian he will look into their excreting and they find out if is a male or female by looking into their reproductive organs. That all I now! Like I said when I adopted Pete he was a boy, now I know she is 'lovely Priscilla'
caren - 2011-08-16
My redheaded conure was abused before I got it. It's plucking it's plucking it's feathers out. How do I get it to stop plucking.

  • Charlie Roche - 2011-08-16
    WOW that is not fun and real rough to deal with. So much information and so many articles have been written - it can make a person nuts. In summary, most agree that birds pluck because they get stressed or bored. How to get out of the circle is the problem. First, try bathing with an aloe bird rinse - as the aloe seems to soothe the itching. Second, there are things like foragining toys or straw toys that they can easily tear apart and that seems to help. Letting them tear down paper towel rolls, toilet paper rolls, seems to help. Those toys where you put a roll of paper (cash register roll) and they pull it off and chew it up seems to help. Leaving them with movies like surfs up, cartoons with music seems to help.

    Giving them lots of attention, cuddle, talking any sort of stimulation seems to help. There is also those plastic collars which prevent them from chewing but conures really don't like them. I would try the toys, attention, bathing, aloe and even pieces of paper for them to chew up before I would try the collar and I don't know that I would try a collar on a conure.

    It isn't your fault. It isn't something you do. It is something where in the wild they would be busy 100% of the time just getting enough to eat. In captivity without stimulation, flocks and just attmpting to survive, some have a tendency to pluck. You have abuse and it is hard to turn around so just be patient and remember it looks like YUK to you but he thinks he is pretty. Now is a good time to start with toys, paper, bathing etc cuz molting. Some also just pluck during molting cuz the new feathers coming in itch them or prickle them. Conures usually love bathing and I pout mine in the kitchen sink with the sprinkerl on - he loves it. Makes a mess but he loves it.

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