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
Latest Reader Comment - See More
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

Advertise With Us

Geographic Distribution
Aratinga erythrogenys
See All Data at Google Maps
Data provided by GBIF.org
  • 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.

Reply
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.

Reply
rachel - 2013-06-27
i have recently gotten a Red mask conure that belonged to my uncle who has passed on. he is very mean. i am trying to figure out a way to get him to tame down. he would never allow anyone to touch him other than my late uncle. can anyone give me any ideals on how to help him with his anxiety issue, and how to make his and my social life better. i really would like to gain a relationship with him. i was able to get him to eat a peanut out of my hand and hold him with a towel, but he seems very angry and wants to bite... reminder my uncle just recently passed on, within the last 2 weeks. thanks

  • Clarice Brough - 2013-06-27
    It's a great thing for you to do, adopting this bird. You didn't say how old he is, but I get the impression your uncle had him a  long time. Birds are very smart and have excellent memories, and like people they will use the socialization mechanisms they know... in his case only allowing the uncle to touch him.

    Moving him into a new enviroment, with a new keeper is disruptive, but to your advantage. It takes a parrot about 30 days to get accustom to their new home. During this time they learn how to cope in the new environment, and they learn what is the norm with the people and place. However, after that initial month or so, they often attempt to resort back to their earlier learned behaviors from their previous environment.

    You have the opportunity right now to establish the norm in the new home. Although it sounds like he may be trying his earlier coping mechanisms on you, keep sharing the peanuts, and shower the bird with praise and affection repeatedly. Do this multiple times a day. You want to influence the bird's behavior in a positive way as much as you can right now. When he tries his old coping methods, don't reward those behaviors.

    As parrots are so smart, and with great memories, it can take a lot of patience and a lot of time to develop good socialization. But continue with the peanut sharing (and other treats), affection, and praise for the behaviors you  want. Once this smart bird becomes comfortable with you and decides to try your methods out, he can become a great pet. Patience and love:)
  • Les - 2013-09-24
    Birds are a lot like us, they grieve the loss of their owner, if they do not see that the person they're bonded to they believe they were abandoned by them. We recently rescued a cherry head that is 36. Her owner passed, the son not knowing tried to take care of her. She plucked herself off even her tail feathers, tummy, back and a lot of her wing feathers. The son tried, he even took her to a vet over 15 times in 4 months. She kept declining in health, so he opted to put her down. They instead took her to the local bird refuge. After spending time and patience she responded to me. She is cuddled up to me right now. My suggestion is take tiny steps to gain his trust. Do not use fast motions, never yell this loses trust with a bird. We have found our little girl is blind in one eye so we have to not come from that side it frightens her. We adopted another bird that was a bad biter. We changed her cage from a black to a light gray and she stopped biting. We have one that was sad until we changed where he was in the room, he does not like being in a corner. Somtimes a color of a blanket will set them off, we have a bird that hates pink. Some do not like towels and prefer blankets. I am working with a 45 year old that would never leave his cage, now he is on his cage and I can hold him with a blanket, preen his pin feathers, and rub his cheek and head. There was a lot of no bites said to get there. But say it in a nice low calm voice. I am the first person to hold him in 12 years. No one knows if he was held before that time. Have patience and you may be rewarded with a cuddle bunny.
  • Leah - 2013-10-29
    I have acquired a cherry masked 4-5 year old who lost his human mom a few months ago, he was very aggressive when he first arrived. (He came in with 3 other birds, and I have 4 of my own - so constant attention was not an option) but I spent 15 minute's about every 3 hours with setting his cage on the floor and sitting in front of it just talking to him with the door open - he came out the first time, but quickly went back in - so we took a break and the next time I sat slightly further from the cage and didn't try to approach him when he came out, I just talked to him. On the 3rd try I sat close enough that he perched on the door and walked over to my shoulder, stepped up and nuzzled close to my neck - now I can touch with my hand and this has been 3 weeks. He came with a Sun conure that this technique did not work with though - but patience and calm voices are a must and if you can get the bird down lower than yourself or on an equal level you will have an advantage (most see height as dominance) Love my parrots - it's a shame that I can't keep them all! Best of luck
  • Karan Patel - 2013-12-25
    I rescued my red masked and he is very aggressive some time so I have this thick gardening glove that I hold my hand out to him and he jumps on to my hand and crawls onto my shoulder and then give him a treat and tell him how good he is give him kisses and be friendly and they will get use to it.
  • Susan - 2014-01-15
    Wow - that's great that you have given this bird a new, loving home. I have a Cherry-Head and he is very loving, has a very extensive vocab, he talks all the time, but at times he does bite, especially when he doesn't know you. He used to bite my mom hard all the time, I always had the bandaids ready, but after a few months he got used to her and now kisses her all the time. I don't think we would laugh half as much if I didn't have this bird, he is such a ham, and has brought so much joy into our home! But parrots are a huge responsibility and require a lot of attention. The only time my bird is out of his huge cage is when we go out or when he goes to sleep.
Reply
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

Reply