Last Updated on June 15, 2023 by Ali Shahid
The cherry-headed conure, or Aratinga erythrogenys, is an incredibly captivating breed of parrot. Native to South America and Central America, these birds are also commonly referred to as the red-masked conure.
With their vibrant plumage and friendly personalities, they are a popular pet choice for many bird enthusiasts around the world.
These delightful creatures don’t just boast good looks; they have got plenty of smarts too! Cherry-headed conures can be easily trained to mimic human speech and solve a simple puzzle. They are one of the best-talking parrots among conures.
Hence it is no wonder why so many people find them such amusing companions. In this article, I will explore more about these wonderful birds: from how they interact with humans to what kind of care they need to thrive.
|Overview of Cherry-headed Conures|
|Common Names||Red-masked conure, red-headed conure, and red-masked parakeet|
|Scientific Name||Aratinga erythrogenys|
|Personality||Social, friendly, and active|
|Talking Ability||It is best Among all conures|
|IUCN Status||Near Threatened|
Origin and History
The cherry-headed conure is found in South America between the southwest of Ecuador and the northwest of Peru. Although it grows best in deciduous forests and jungles, it can also thrive in semi-arid areas and even in cities.
Pets being released or escaped have led to this conure reaching invasive species status in various countries. As a result, they can now be found in Spain, Puerto Rico, the United States, Chile, and Colombia.
Due to their adaptability, feral conures displace native birds and compete with them for food. Several feral cherry-headed conures were popularized in the movie “The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill.”. They’re also found in California, Texas, and Florida.
In 1994, the International Union for Conservation of Nature classified the cherry-headed conure as “near-threatened” for extinction. Its present status may be attributed to habitat loss and illegal pet trade trapping.
Colors and Marking
Cherry-headed conures are named after their distinctive appearance. Among the conures, this species has one of the brightest colors. The bodies of these creatures are bright green. They have some feathers that are lighter in color on the underside of their bodies.
Their heads are scarlet and their eyes are ringed with a bright white ring. The tops of their wings have red feathers, which gives the appearance that they have shoulders. With a beige beak and grey legs, the cherry-headed conure is distinguished from other conures.
Cherry-headed conures are intelligent creatures that need ample physical and mental stimulation. In addition to being playful and affectionate, these birds can also be entertaining. To receive attention, they will do anything to be the center of attention.
Feeding them properly goes hand in hand with ensuring an enjoyable life filled with plenty of entertainment options. These conures scream intermittently, as do all conures. Its playful personality and comical antics will charm you regardless of its inability to speak.
As is the case with most parrots, cherry-headed conures have a strong tendency to form flocks and are very social birds. Human owners assume the role of flock mates in a captive environment.
Cherry-headed conures require a lot of interaction with their owners to be happy. A properly socialized conure enjoys spending time with its owner. It’s fun to teach them tricks. Every day, cherry-headed conures require at least two hours of exercise and play. I
f you meet your pet’s attention needs, you may find yourself rewarded with a spirited and energetic pet. As an avian vet, I can assure you, there is nothing more exciting than a cherry-headed conure that is happy and healthy.
|Pros and Cons of Cherry-headed Conures|
|Outgoing and friendly|
EntertainingLoving and affectionate
Adaptable, intelligent, and capable of learning new tricks
A very talkative conure
|It is too loud to live in an apartment|
Ideally, two to four hours of physical activity and social interaction are required
Speech and Sound
Compared to other parrots whose language is more articulate, conures are less fluent talkers. However, cherry-headed conures are among the most talkative of all conures. It can learn a relatively limited number of words.
With their instinctive vocalizations, cherry-headed conures are even extremely chatty if they do not speak. Especially at sunrise and sunset, this bird is prone to screaming, so it is not a good bird for apartment living.
Breeding Cherry-headed Conures is not difficult. The first obstacle to overcome is identifying the nest box that they prefer. Generally, they like the nest boxes used for breeding or raising babies.
Ideally, nest boxes and logs of various shapes and sizes should be placed around the flight to provide a variety of nesting options.
After identifying the nest box that they prefer to use, the rest can be removed, sanitized, and moved to other flights. Ensure that their favorite box remains their exclusive property.
A clutch consists of three to four eggs that are incubated for 23 to 24 days on average. Nests are typically built in tree cavities in their natural habitat.
Conure boxes are commonly used in captivity and are widely accepted. Juvenile birds with green plumage will fledge after 50 days of age.
Diet and Nutrition
Cherry-headed conures are omnivores. While they primarily eat seeds, nuts, and fruits, it is important to offer a variety of seed varieties to ensure the bird receives all essential nutrients for their health.
Providing environmental enrichment by offering different types of food encourages mental stimulation in these highly intelligent birds.
Additionally, fresh vegetables should be offered daily as well as occasional animal proteins such as cooked egg or small amounts of lean meat.
The diet of cherry-headed conures should mainly consist of pelleted food combined with nutrient-dense vegetable matter, such as dark leafy greens such as kale and chard, legumes like peas and beans, and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower.
Fresh water should also be available at all times for drinking and bathing which helps keep feathers clean and promotes preening.
A balanced diet will help maintain your pet’s overall well-being while providing the necessary vitamins and minerals required for them to live a long healthy life.
Offering treats from time to time can be beneficial but only if done so with moderation. Too many treats can lead to obesity or malnutrition due to a lack of proper nutritional balance.
With careful consideration given to this species’ dietary needs, owners can make sure that their birds receive the best possible care. Moving
Interaction with Humans
Cherry-headed conures make excellent pets for people who want to interact with their pets. They require a lot of socialization and bonding time, or else they can become lonely and depressed.
It is important to be patient when spending quality time with your conure; many owners find that it takes several months before their bird will start to trust them.
In addition, you should strive to create a safe environment where the conure feels comfortable enough to explore and play without fear.
There are several ways to achieve this bond between yourself and your bird. You can do things like talking softly, providing toys for stimulation, offering treats during training sessions, playing games together, etc.
If done correctly these activities will increase the level of trust between both parties significantly. Additionally, if neglected, the relationship may decline over time—so spend plenty of time interacting with your bird throughout its lifetime!
Training and Exercise
Training a cherry-headed conure is no small undertaking. After all, these birds are intelligent and require plenty of stimulation and socialization opportunities to keep their minds sharp – which means it’s up to the owner to be creative.
But with some patience and positive reinforcement, you can end up with an incredibly friendly, outgoing bird that loves spending time with its humans.
To make sure your training sessions go smoothly, here are four tips for success:
- Set aside regular bonding time – this helps build trust between you and your bird.
- Make learning fun – use treats as rewards for good behavior.
- Be consistent in your commands – if you give mixed messages, confusion will ensue!
- Take advantage of socialization opportunities when possible – like going outside or taking your bird on errands.
Succeeding at training requires dedication from both you and your pet; but with enough effort, not only will it benefit both of you mentally, but also physically and emotionally too.
And who knows? Maybe one day they might even learn how to do some tricks! With that being said, let’s move on to housing and enrichment…
Housing and Enrichment
Cherry-headed conures need an enclosure that mimics their natural habitats, which should include plenty of space to fly, perches, and branches for climbing. I will suggest a cage that measures 30″ long by 24″ wide by 30″ high.
It is also important to select toys carefully. Look for items made from safe materials like wood or rope that encourage physical activity and promote mental stimulation. Housing and enrichment can go a long way in keeping a cherry-headed conure healthy and happy.
Choose an enclosure that provides enough room for them to move around freely and allows them to express natural behaviors. Make sure there are lots of different perches at varying heights so they have options when flying or climbing.
Selecting appropriate toys is also crucial. Aim for ones that provide both physical activity and mental stimulation while avoiding potential choking hazards.
Health and Care
Cherry-headed conures are relatively hardy birds but need regular care to stay healthy. Disease prevention is key when it comes to these parrots. Regularly clean their cages and feed them a nutritious diet of fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, and pelleted food.
It is also important to provide plenty of toys for your bird to keep its mind occupied; this helps prevent boredom-related behaviors such as feather plucking.
You must bring your cherry headed conure in for vet visits at least once a year. During the visit, the vet will check your bird’s overall health and make sure there aren’t any underlying issues that could lead to long-term problems down the line.
Your vet can also advise on specific farming needs such as proper nutrition or socialization techniques based on your bird’s situation.
Consistent veterinary care can help detect potential problems before they become too serious and ensure that your cherry-headed conure receives all necessary treatments if an illness does occur.
Doing so ensures that your pet gets the best possible care throughout its life and enjoys a long and happy life with you!
|Cherry-headed Conures are Susceptible to the following diseases:|
|Hemorrhagic conure syndrome|
Proventricular Dilatation Disease
Where to Buy or Adopt a Cherry-headed Conure
Cherry-headed conures are easy to breed and are easily available. There are many pet stores where you can purchase cherry-headed conures. Breeders sell these birds throughout the country as well.
You should do your research on the breeder before purchasing a cherry-headed parakeet from them. Breeders will charge you between $500 and 900 for a healthy cherry-headed conure.
It is advisable to speak with previous purchasers of their birds to determine their reputation. Furthermore, inquire about the breeders’ health, their parentage, and the living conditions they live in.
Additionally, parrot rescue organizations can assist you in finding a cherry-headed conure. You may also be able to find a conure at other shelters and adoption agencies.
The cherry-headed conure is truly an amazing pet. They are full of personality and make wonderful companions for a variety of people. With patience, they can even be hand-tamed to become quite affectionate and cuddly.
It is no wonder that these stunning parrots have been gaining in popularity over the years! From their beautiful colors to their playful personalities, it is hard not to fall in love with them once you get to know them.
All in all, if you are looking for a feathered friend who will bring joy into your life, then look no further than the beloved cherry-headed conure.
Harris, Fred, and Robbie Harris. “Red-masked Conure.” AFA Watchbird 10.4: 42-48.
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.