Cherry-Headed Conure

Cherry-Headed Conure

Scientific Name:  Aratinga erythrogenys
Origin: South America
Average Lifespan: 10 to 50 years
Size:  11 to 13 inches
Color:  Mainly Deep Green
Sounds: Whistler, vocal communicator
Interaction:  Highly social

Cherry-Headed Conure

Photo: Fariz Safarulla | Flickr

Physical Characteristics of the Cherry-Headed Conure

The Cherry-headed Conure, also called Red-Headed Conure, is a wonderful medium-sized pet parrot.  It is very popular as a pet and is considered as the best talker of all the conures.  Its color is deep green on most of its body, and features a characteristic splash of red in its face and head. Sometimes, it has spots of red down its neck.  It also sports another splash of red on the top of its wings.  It has bare white rings around its eyes, horn colored bill and grey feet.

Personality and Temperament

The Cherry Headed Conure is known to be intelligent, fun loving pet bird who loves to interact with its owner or with other birds. It should be indulged in its hobby of social interaction to ensure that it stays happy and healthy.  It likes to be the center of attention and can be trained easily.  When it is excited, however, it can be very loud and screams intermittently.  It is necessary for the bird to stay outside its cage for multiple hours to socialize and play.  It is also best that it is provided with toys to make it pre-occupied.  If paired with another conure, it can be aggressive towards its owners during breeding season.

The Cherry Head Conure is a very loud bird that can easily develop screaming habits if not curbed by its owner.  The loud screaming sound may disturb nearby residents.  This problem can be minimized by providing the bird with toys and to make sure that it is being provided by ample social interaction either by its owner or other birds.

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Health and Care

When in a new environment, the Cherry-headed Conure may undergo stress and depression.   It is best not to handle the bird for a few days until it has adjusted to its new environment.   At this point, humans should speak softly and move slowly in order not to stress the bird until such time that the bird is comfortable to its new home.

The Cherry Head Conure must be provided with a well-balanced diet as well as bird vitamins and mineral supplements.  It is also highly recommended that the bird be provided with ample amount of fresh water every day.  Like all parrots, the Cherry-headed Conure’s favorite diet consists of fresh fruits and vegetables, and may be supplemented with high quality commercial pellet. Small amount of seeds should be offered as treats, but should not be given in excess.

Some of the signs that your bird pet is healthy are the following:  it is active, it is sociable and alert; it eats and drinks ample amount of food and water throughout the day; the nostrils are kept dry and eyes are bright and dry; the beak is normal as well as the legs and feet; and has smooth, properly-groomed feathers.

On the other hand, signs that your pet bird is unhealthy are:  when the beak is swelling; soiled feathers with some plucked areas particularly around the vent; it is constantly sitting on the floor of its cage; eye and nasal discharge; wheezing or coughing; runny stools or discolored discharge; red and swelling eyes and the loss of its appetite.

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History and Background

Numerous colonies of this conure breed thrive in number in the San Gabriel Valley, one of the suburbs in the northeast parts of Los Angeles.  Since Los Angeles is a subtropical city, with its kind of climate, this has become a suitable environment for many tropical bird species. A lot of tropical plants are cultivated there as ornamentals which provide these birds with natural food supply.

Cherry-headed conures flock together composing of fifty or more and they are commonly found roosting on fruit trees during the fruit-bearing season. Typically, they stay for a few days in these places and then make deafening sound when in flight.  During the mating season, these conures build their nests in the palm trees.

There are currently three species of the genus Aratinga which have been formed non-native colonies in the regions of California.  These are recorded by the California Parrot Project in cooperation with the Pasadena Audubon Society in line with its affiliation with the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.


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