Cherry-Headed Conures

Cherry headed conure
Ingrid Taylar/ Flickr/ CC BY 2.0

Common Names:

Red-Masked Conure, Red Headed Conure, Cherry Headed Conure, Red Masked Parakeet

Scientific Name:

Aratinga erythrogenys.


South America.


11 - 13 inches from the beak to the tip of the tailfeathers.

Average Lifespan:

50 + years.


Cherry Headed Conures are known to be intelligent, fun-loving birds who thrive on interaction with their owners and do well with training. Referred to by some as "hams", Cherry Headed Conures seem to love being the center of attention.

Like all Conures, these are very loud birds and will scream intermittently. Because of this, a Cherry Headed Conure isn't a good bird for apartments. If you are thinking of adopting one of these birds, then it's important to make sure that you have plenty of time to socialize with them. Otherwise, they can resort to destructive and undesirable behaviors out of boredom and depression.


Cherry Headed Conures are a deep green on most of their bodies, and feature a characteristic splash of red on their faces and heads. On some individuals, spots of red will extend down the neck. The birds also sport another splash of red on the tops of their wings. They have bare white rings around their eyes, horn colored bills, and gray feet. They are prized for their beauty as pets.


Like all parrots, Cherry Headed Conures do best on a diet consisting of fresh fruits and vegetables, and supplemented with a high quality commercial pelleted diet.

A small amount of seed should be offered as treats, but take care that your Cherry Headed Conure doesn't get too many seeds in his/her diet. These birds have a reputation for getting "addicted" to fattening seeds such as sunflower and safflower, and refusing to eat anything else. Pay close attention to your conure's diet to ensure a healthy and happy pet.


Cherry Headed Conures are active birds that require a good bit of exercise to stay in top condition. Those thinking of owning a Cherry Headed Conure should make sure they can provide a safe "parrot proofed" area outside of their conure's cage in which their pet can exercise. Cherry Headed Conures require supervised play and exercise time outside of their cages for a minimum of 2 hours a day. Potential owners should note this and seriously ask themselves if they can commit to providing these necessities for a parrot.

Cherry-Headed Conures as Pets:

Cherry Headed Conures, most recently popularized as pets by the movie "The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill", enjoyed popularity as pets long before the movie was ever released. In fact, the very population of conures the movie focuses on are descended from escaped pet conures that years ago were able to breed and thrive in the balmy San Francisco climate.

As pets, Cherry Headed Conures can be playful, affectionate, and rather entertaining. Properly socialized pet conures love spending time with (and on) their owners, and enjoy learning tricks and other training. While not known to be proficient talkers, many Cherry Headed Conure owners say that their birds make up what they lack in talking ability with their charming personalities and amusing antics.

Those thinking of adopting a Cherry Headed Conure should do plenty of research and serious thinking about their decision before bringing a bird home. While parrots make excellent pets for the right people, the simple fact is that not everyone's lifestyle can accommodate a pet bird. Do you have 2 - 4 hours you can set aside to exercise and play with a parrot each day? Can you afford a large, strong cage for your new pet, and do you have room for it? Can you tolerate an animal that may decide to wake both you and your neighbors up with intense screaming at the hint of sunrise? If you cannot answer a solid "yes" to all these questions and more, then a Cherry Headed Conure is probably not the right pet for you.

While the needs of a Cherry Headed Conure weed out a lot of otherwise would-be owners, those who are able to provide the necessities for their birds are rewarded with interesting and interactive pets who never seem to run out of energy and spunk.

Ask anyone who lives with a Cherry Headed Conure -- chances are they'll say that their bird is always the life of the party.