Red-Masked Conure Care Sheet

Scientific Facts

Common Name:Red-masked conure, cherry-headed conure
Scientific Name:Psittacara erythrogenys
Life Span:50 years and above
Size:11-13 inches
Habitat:Deciduous forests and jungles
Country of Origin:Northern Peru and southern Ecuador

Physical Description

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The cherry-headed conure, also called the red-masked conure, is the medium-sized parrot known for its intelligence and affectionate nature. This bird also tends to be a show-off clown. Easier to train, the cherry-headed conure has been regarded as among the most talkative conures, but it also tends to be loud sometimes. 

The red-masked conure is a medium-sized parrot that measures 11 to 13 inches long. It has a long tail that measures a bit more than 6 inches. Aside from a long tail, it also comes with a pale green plumage and a yellowish underside. 

The bird’s head is red, excluding the rear half of its cheeks. There are also red markings on the shoulders, underneath the wings, and on the thighs. The eyes are yellow with white rings on the eyes. Aside from that, the beak of a red-masked conure is horn-colored while its legs are grey. 

However, the case is different for a juvenile red-masked conure. Its eyes are grey. The bird’s head is not red because the first few feathers will show up when the bird is already 4 months old. The call of a mature red-masked conure is two-syllabled, loud, and harsh.

History and Origin

The red-masked conure is native to South America. The bird occupies in a narrow range from the southwest of Ecuador to northwest of Peru. This bird dwells in deciduous forests and jungles in most cases. However, it may also live comfortably in the semi-arid areas and suburban zones. 

In different places, the captive red-masked conures released into the forests established feral reproducing populations. The film “The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill” made the flock of feral red-masked conures in San Francisco and other populations exist in some other portions of Texas, California, and Florida. 

The red-masked conure has been widely kept as a pet. In 1994, the International Union for Conservation of Nature classified the bird as “near-threatened” because of habitat loss coupled with trapping pressure in its narrow range in Ecuador and Peru. 


The red-masked conure is among the iconic parrots found in South America. It commonly exists in deciduous forests and woodlands in northern Peru and southern Peru. It can also live and do well in the semi-urban regions – thanks to its excellent capability to adapt. 

With its feral and artificially introduced populations, this bird can be seen somewhat far from its natural home. Hawaii, Spain, Mexico, Los Angeles, San Diego, Long Beach, and San Francisco may boast considerable populations of this colorful and lively parrot. In its natural habitat, however, things may go bad. Moreover, the red-masked conure is considered an almost endangered species.

Coloration and Markings

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The red-masked conure has dark green feathers across its body with an eye-catchy red coloration on its head and face. This coloration even extends down the bird’s neck in some individuals. The cherry-headed conure even comes with reddish markings on the top of its wings. The white rings on its eyes are also noticeable that complement its horn-colored beak and gray feet. This combination of colors made this bird a highly prized pet. 

Every adult is mostly green and yellow underneath with red forecrown to its fore cheeks and lores, red wing bend, carpal edge, external underwing thighs, and coverts. Its eyes are dull yellow and with greyish inner rings. 

Immature red-masked conures have all-green heads, no red spots, green thighs, green/yellow carpal edge, with varying red/orange feathers. They also have less extensive red spots on their wing bends and external underwing coverts. Their eyes are grey. 


The red-masked conure is known to be clever and fun-loving. It thrives well on frequent interactions with humans. The bird also does well with training. It wants to be always everyone’s apple of the eye as it looks so happy whenever you pour your attention and care to the animal. The truth is that the bird will do what it can just to get people’s attention. Like other conures, this bird is very loud as it screams intermittently.

The red-masked conure, like other parrots, is flock-oriented and has great social instincts. In captivity, the owner will take on the role of a flock mate. To be cheerful and stay that way, the bird requires adequate and constant interaction time with its favorite human or owner. 


The red-masked conure has a well-balanced combination of positive traits. It makes them a popular choice of pets across the United States and even in other countries worldwide. People are compelled to get this bird and keep as a pet. A lot of keepers out there love this species for its hilarious personality.

The bird takes every opportunity to show the tricks it had mastered. As a very energetic parrot, it simply likes to play with its owner and will show how much it loves those toys you gave. Sometimes, this bird becomes a little explorer. Its curiosity leads to trouble sometimes. 

Aside from its fun-loving personality, the red-masked conure is also somewhat affectionate. Expect that the bird will cuddle you and will ask for more strokes on its feathers. Petting it one of the best ways to show your love for your pet. 

On the other hand, this bird can sometimes cause a disturbance, especially if you live in an apartment. The red-masked conure can be so noisy, so people who are quite sensitive to noise may find your pet irritating. 

For this bird, chewing is among the coolest things to do, so you have to provide it with toys or natural branches that it can chew and even “customize” to match the likings of the animal. You will see this bird extremely happen with more toys and a bigger cage that can accommodate all its toys without compromising its need for ample space inside. 


The cherry-headed conure is quite slightly challenging to breed. One problem that you may encounter in this matter will be about picking the ideal nest box for the female. Remember that the preferences of a female red-masked conure generally depends on its preferences experiences. For instance, the bird often favors the size and kind of the nest box where it was raised in. If not, it will go for a nest box that resembles the nest box where it bred in the last breeding season.

If you have no idea about those things, then you may offer the bird nest boxes that come in different sizes and types. These boxes can be in various shapes, as well. Put them in different parts of the flight. 

When the bird goes for a certain nest box, then you can now remove the other next boxes, clean them, and put in other flights. Be sure not to offer any other nest box to your pet, aside from the preferred one. That nesting box must stay exclusively for a specific pair, in case you own two or more breeding pairs. 

On average, each clutch contains 3-4 eggs that the female will incubate in 23 to 24 days. In the wild, the red-masked conure builds a nest in tree cavities. Under captivity, the conure box is the best option. It’s widely used since it is readily accepted. A juvenile red-masked conure will fledge in 50 days with greenish plumage. 

Sounds and Speech

One of the questionable characters that usually disturb the new owners is the loudness of this bird. This conure always wants to know and see that you’re listening. It can also have natural calls that can be so loud, causing disturbance to your neighborhood. Consider it, especially if you stay in an apartment or your house is just a few steps away from your neighbors. 

On the positive side, the red-masked conure is one of the most entertaining birds. This talking bird is good at putting a smile on the faces of everyone in the family. Though it is not a good talker like the African parrots, it still can memorize and learn to pronounce different words or phrases it commonly hears. The way it repeats the words or phrases you’re teaching to the bird will make you smile and laugh for sure. 

Teaching your pet to speak is already a great opportunity to spend time and interact with the animal. When you do, teach your pet a few words or phrases at a time. You have to be a bit patient. Repeat those words or phrases until your pet says them right. Don’t forget to praise or reward your pet whenever it did a good job. 


Like other parrots, the red-masked conure needs a diet consisting of fresh vegetables and fruits and enhanced with a good pelleted diet. You can also give a handful of seeds as treats, but be sure not to give too much of it based on your pet’s everyday meals. 

The cherry-headed conure, however, tends to become addicted to high-fat seeds like safflower and sunflower. Once you give these seeds to your pet regularly, the bird may eventually stop eating anything else other than these fattening foods. Obesity is not good for a bird as it leads to different health problems. So, always pay attention to your pet’s diet. 

In its natural habitat, this bird depends on a well-balanced diet that consists of insects, fruits, or tree blossoms. The first step in considering your bird’s diet is supplementing it with a commercial seed mix made for conures. It guarantees a great combination of oats, millet, sunflower seeds, or any other similar items.

To make your pet’s diet 100% well-balanced, you must give it a dose of vegetables and fruits like apples, oranges, pears, carrots, and cabbage. Another crucial part of it is water. Also, give fresh water to your pet two times a day. 


The red-masked conure is so active that it needs some exercise every day done in a secure, parrot-proof area out of the cage. Exercise is crucial in keeping the bird in tiptop condition. Each session should last for at least 2 hours. You can extend this routine to 4 hours every day. 

Common Health Problems of a Red-Masked Conure

Like other parrots, the cherry-headed conure is also susceptible to some health problems. One of these is the CBS or conure bleeding syndrome. This disease comes from an unknown origin and causes unexpected and abnormal bleeding. The ideal treatment for CBS will be vitamins. 

Also, this species is prone to respiratory problems that are often due to fungal infections. Antifungal medicines can help a lot in dealing with these cases. Keeping the bedding and food dry is the best preventive measure for respiratory problems associated with the red-masked conure. In some instances, experts advise not to feed parrots with peanuts that may carry the disease-causing fungus. 

Bacterial infections are also quite common in this species. These infections may lead to respiratory problems. The best treatment for bacterial infections will be antibiotics. Also, you have to keep your pet and its cage thoroughly clean. 

As said before, the red-masked conure is an attention-seeker. If you fail to give enough time for interacting and playing with the bird, it may experience boredom and depression. A depressed conure may show up with a destructive behavior or self-mutilation.

The Red-Masked Conure as a Pet

This conure is a very playful but affectionate companion bird. When hand-raised, this bird loses its fear of humans and can instantly a cheerful buddy of anyone. It makes a wonderful pet. Aside from being so loveable and intelligent, the red-masked conure can act like a clown and will do everything just to impress and make you smile. 

Moreover, this bird is easier to tame. It is a good talker, so it can effectively entertain anyone. However, it makes a grating call and may get loud. It loves to play and chew things, so provide your pet with more toys that will keep it occupied. 

The red-masked conure is a highly recommended pet for anyone who is looking for a great pet bird that has a good balance between affection and energy. This bird could be the best choice for that purpose. This pet is great and friendly. It can easily adjust in its new environment and will aim to be the star in the house. 

This conure is also a perfect choice of pet for senior citizens and singles since it is easy to care for. The only possible concern is the bird’s tendency to be noisy. Its loud calls are quite natural, so this bird is best to keep if you are not living in an apartment.

Conures come in different types. Thus, you may find them in different colors and sizes and may even differ to some extent in their speech capability. Some species can be quiet and modest, while others are very vocal and raucous. You need to consider these things in selecting the right conure based on your lifestyle.

Also, a conure can be extremely sociable, so hand-raising will make it a good pet. However, due to its social nature, it requires much attention and interaction with humans. If your pet doesn’t receive it, this bird will become so noisy just to grab your attention.

In times you cannot give time for your pet, then you must settle for a less-demanding individual as your situation will not be fair and favorable to the animal and even to your neighbors. The bird will be depressed if you can’t give it ample attention. 

Availability – Where to Get One?

The red-masked conure is widely available at the local and online pet stores and breeders. However, it is always best to check out the adoption agencies or rescue organizations to find out if this bird is available for adoption. 

How to Care for a Red-Masked Conure?

A red-masked conure requires a right-sized cage. Pick a housing that has a footprint measuring 24 x 24 inches and a height of at least 36 inches. The spacing between the bars must not be longer than 1 inch. 

Make the cage equipped with more toys that are proven resistant to chewing. Keep in mind that chewing is natural and a habit of a conure. Changing the toys from time to time is also highly advisable as it can help a lot in keeping a conure mentally stimulated. 

Also, don’t forget to provide your pet with perches that vary in width. Put them inside the cage to let your pet exercise its feet on its own. Your conure will do well in environments under room temperature, but do not leave your pet un drafty areas. 

Likewise, provide your red-masked conure with a playpen out of its cage. This will let your pet exercise and explore during its daily exercise routine. Likewise, be sure your pet is drinking fresh and clean water every day. Replace the previously provided water in every feeding.

Bathing is also another thing that a red-masked conure will enjoy, so add a shallow dish that can accommodate your pet completely whenever it wants to take a bath. Also, your pet will have fun if you mist or spray it with room temperature water. It should be a part of your pet’s bathing routine. It will also be a good opportunity to interact with your pet. 

Besides, your pet will also enough rest and sleep. It should get 10-12 hours of sleep. Keep your pet in a dim and noise-free environment. You may cover the cage in the evening to help your pet fall asleep easily. 

How to Set up the Cage of a Red-Masked Conure?

  • Keep the bird in a big cage so that it can stretch its wings, play, and climb whenever it wants to.
  • The cage must be at least 18 inches long, 22 inches wide, and 24 inches tall. If you can provide a larger cage, then go ahead. The larger the cage is, the better. 
  • Give a pair of perches of varying thickness and made of different materials. These variations will keep the bird’s feet healthy and strong. Also, you must put the perches in different heights. 
  • Avoid putting the perches on top of the water dish or food. Droppings would make a big mess where the bird eats or drinks. 
  • A conure likes a tiny fleece hut that hangs on top of its cage. The bird will use it whenever it wants to be alone. 
  • Also, keep in mind that a bird is sensitive to strong odors, drafts, and smoke. So, keep its cage far from the open windows and kitchen. Also, protect it from direct sunlight. 
  • Cushion the cage’s floor with a corncob, wood-pellet, aspen, or reusable paper bedding that is at least 2 inches thick. A cage liner is also a good alternative. 
  • Change the droppings as often as possible, do spot cleaning for the bedding or line every week, and change it once every month. 
  • Cover the bird’s housing at night. 


Is the red-masked conure a talking bird?

The red-masked conure is one of the best-talking birds. It’s a small type of parrot that is capable of memorizing and pronouncing common words and phrases. 

How long does the red-masked conure grow?

The red-masked conure is a medium-sized bird with a long tail that makes up for its total length. On average, it reaches a length of 11-13 inches. 

Is the red-masked conure is a good pet to keep in apartments?

The red-masked conure might be so friendly and entertaining. However, its tendency to be noisy and loud makes it not a good pet for someone who lives in an apartment. 

Does the red-masked conure love being handled?

Yes, the red-masked conure often craves for the attention of its owner. If not given with ample attention and time, the bird is more likely to experience boredom and depression that leads to destructive behavior.

Is the red-masked conure a sociable pet?

Spending more time to play and have fun with you is one of the simple desires of a red-masked conure. This sociable pet loves petting and cuddling. 

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