The Cherry Headed Conure has the scientific name Psittacara erythrogenys and goes by several names other names including, Red Masked Parakeet and Red Headed Conure. It is a social bird that lives in flocks in the wild and so likes to have companions around. It comes from the Psittacara genus and is part of the Psittacidae family of true parrots, a sub-section of the Parrot Order of birds. On average, you can expect a Cherry Headed Conure to weigh 150 to 200 grams and be 30 to 35 centimeters in size.
Originally these birds are from Ecuador and Peru. However, feral populations have started to grow in San Francisco in America and southern Florida. In the wild, their natural habitat is made up of thick jungle and rainforest often in areas of high altitude. They are a near-threatened species in the wild with an estimated decreasing population of just 6700 individuals. This decrease is occurring due to habitat loss and poaching for aviculture.
|Names||Cherry Headed Conure, Red Masked Parakeet|
|Scientific name||Psittacara erythrogenys|
|Colors||Mostly green with red face feathers|
|Size||Around 30 to 35 cm (12 to 14 inches)|
|Weight||Approximately 150 to 200 grams (5.3 to 7 oz)|
|Lifespan||15 to 30 years|
|Price||$500 to $900|
|Conservation Status (IUCN)||Near Threatened|
|Distribution||Ecuador, Peru, Florida (feral)|
|Habitat||High altitude jungle, rainforest|
|Food||Vegetables, fruits, flowers|
|Personality||Energetic, playful, social|
|Noise levels||Very loud|
|Talking ability||Medium to High|
Like other conures, Cherry Head’s very energetic, playful and social birds that like to have attention. They particularly like toys and swings in their cages and require companions. It is best to house this bird with other conures and birds of similar size. They have a fairly powerful beak and like to chew on many objects so anything that is flimsy and comes into contact with them is likely to get shredded. They are friendly and safe but you should still keep an eye on them when they are around small children as their beaks could still nip a child. Intelligent and curious, they can also be trained to perform various other tricks and tasks using treats as rewards. You can see a trained Cherry Headed Conure in the video below:
To look after your Cherry Headed Conure properly you must make sure it is kept at a comfortable temperature, similar to make it has in the wild, which is around 21 to 27 degrees Celsius.
They need a large cage that allows them to stretch their wings and the more conures housed in a cage, the bigger it needs to be. This cage needs to be furnished with perches of varying sizes to promote foot health, toys to keep them entertained, plus feeding and watering bowls for sustenance. Because of the noises these birds make, you may which to consider a soundproof bird cage, see here.
A healthy diet of conure food is made up mostly of pellets and supplemented with fruits and vegetables. Avoid the common mistakes of feeding your birds a diet that is made up mostly of seeds that are high in fat and can cause obesity.
In terms of hygiene, their cages need to be cleaned regularly and most cages will have removable trays to make this easier. They should also be given a bathing bowel for them to clean themselves. Overgrown beak can become an issue that can be trimmed at treats and the same can be true for overgrown toenails.
Plenty of time out of the cage should be provided to these birds. This allows them to exercise, spend time with you, play and gives them the attention they need. You should keep these birds with other birds so that they do not get lonely since in the wild they are flock birds.
The Cherry Headed Conure gets its name because of the feathers around its face are a bright red, cherry color. The rest of its body is made up of bright green feathers with the underparts of the wings tend to be more of a yellow color. You’ll also occasionally see red feathers around the shoulders of the bird’s wings. They also have a white section around the bird’s eyes and their beaks are a light beige color. It can be hard to differentiate between the genders of these birds and so DNA testing may be required. To see the birds in motion, check out the video below:
These vocal and very loud birds are quite the talkers, being one of the nosiest species of the conure available (with conures being already a noisy group of birds). Cherry Headed Conures are some of the most vocal species of conure available. However, you need to take into account that they can be very loud and so may not make the best pet birds for apartment dwellers. They can be trained to say a few words and will make a lot of different vocalizations even if you don’t train them. To hear these birds, click on one of the audio files below:
The average life expectancy for a Cherry Headed Conure ranges from 15 to 30 years. However, well looked after Cherry Head’s have been reported living sometimes longer.
If you want to buy a Crimson Bellied Conure you’re likely to pay $500 to $900. The range of this price will be affected by how old the bird is, it’s health, plus the looks and visual condition of the bird. Also remember to budget for cages, toys, foods, medical supplies and more when setting aside money for this bird. Over time these costs can add up to a substantial amount.
These birds are threatened in the wild so you should only buy them from registered breeders and legitimate sources. Report any suspicious sellers to your local law enforcement.
When breeding Cherry Headed Conures you’ll find that they normally lay egg clutches of around 3 eggs, which will take 3 and a half weeks to incubate. Once hatched these birds will fledge after around 2 months. In their native habitat of Ecuador, this breeding season normally happens early in the year, around January to March.
With Conures, you need to look out for something called CBS or “Conure Bleeding Syndrome”. This is where excessive bleeding occurs, often due to an unknown cause. A prescription of vitamins from your vet will help to treat this.
If you’re thinking of getting a Cherry Headed Conure, ensure you are prepared for the extra noises that these birds make. Also ensure you get the bird from a legitimate source. If you can take on the sound that they’re likely to make then they can make very friendly, social and fun-loving pets that’ll become good members of your family.