Animal Stories - Red-masked Conure

Animal-World Information about: Red-masked Conure

   "Lola is such a happy little bird! She is a DNA sexed female Cherry-headed Conure and she eats Zupreem Pellets. She doesn't talk but is very playful!"..Diane
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Sally - 2011-03-29
I have a wonderful red-headed whom we guesstimate at around 20-22 years. He is playful, healthy, eats & drinks well and in all regards seems well. With in the last 24 hours his bill appears to be changing colors - or developing 'blotches' of dark color. A musky color, mostly on his upper mandibill. Does anyone know if thier beaks change color as they grow older? I have spoken to our vet and done research, but know one seems to know the answer. Please comment if you can shed some light on this. I am concerned that it signifies some otherwise hidden issue in health. Thank you !

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  • Clarice Brough - 2011-03-29
    That is very strange, especially because its changed in such a short period of time. I would definitely keep an eye on him; watch his behaviors, appetite, and droppings for anything unusual. Birds can go downhill very fast, so if something is wrong... you should see abnormalities quickly, and be able to get him to a vet.

    But maybe he just got a hold of something that stained his beak...

    All the best!
  • Stuart - 2011-03-30
    Sally I've never heard of a fungus infection on a pet bird but the musky odor seems too fit. We have a cherry head named Peedy who came to us 4 years ago at age 13 (we were told they can live too be 80 years old). Peedy was being given to the nursing home/rehab center my wife is the Activities Director of. He was so vicious that we took him immediately as the residents tend too put their fingers in the cage. He has since bonded with my wife Judi who got him too come out of his cage. Judi got Peedy to learn to fly and eat fruit and drink juice out of her glass. He told me in the beginning SHUT UP,BE QUIET,GO AWAY NOW! and attacked me at every chance. Obviously, he was abused by a male. Now when the phone rings he says hello how are you? and will talk to anyone on the phone saying hello big boy,hello Peedy, I'm a bad boy. He has since gotten used to me and sits on my leg. He quacks like a duck and laughs when we laugh. Peedy is Judi's favorite along with Tweedy, a Cinnamon Green Cheek Conure. I have the 11 Cockatiels of whom I'm the head of the flock. Hope you solve the problem and let me know if it is a fungus infection. God Bless.
  • Charlie Roche - 2011-03-30
    I have had a couple of birds who did have a fungal infection. They were babies and acquired a bacterial infection. I took them to the vet and the birds were given an antibiotic and it did throw them into a fungal infection. I took them back to the vet and a gram stain was done and they did have a fungal infection and the vet gave me a perscription for Nystatin (an anti-fungal). I was also told that food can get embedded in the upper mandible and cleaning with a Q-tip and water would help. Watch the droppings and try cleaning with a Q-tip if possible. You might wish to recheck with your vet regarding an anti fungal.
Ana - 2011-08-22
Hello! I'm writing you from Indiana. I take care of 13 tropical parrots
at the local Parrot Rescue Santuary. There I met Peter a cherry head
conure. He is so much fun to be around; the owner of the foster aviary
told me that Peter only liked men, but I tell you that's not the case here.
He gets really happy when he sees me come into the aviary, kisses me
and laughs out loud. When I open his cage he flyes toward me and sits
on my shoulder always content and playful with me. He likes me so much
that the lady offered for me to have it some day. I'm extremely happy that I
was able to meet such a beautiful little creature. He is definately a
pleasure to be around. Regards.

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  • Charlie Roche - 2011-08-23
    A conure - and I love the red masked - are great birds to have. Velcro, cuddly, silly, comical, lovable, smart etc. No negatives there. Maybe the man thought that as the bird maybe didn't like his girlfriend or girl child. Many birds do have a preference for male vs female (my opinion) but conures (my opinion) will enjoy whatever human they are around that gives them attention, love and stimulation. You are lucky enjoy
Rosanna Palma - 2010-05-05
My lovely red-masked sweetheart just passed away. We have no idea how old was my baby when he died. We only know he had like 17 years with us. We actually saved him from a man who was selling him and was mistreating him and feeding him badly. He was my dad's best friend I used to call him my lover cause he always love to receive kisses and hugs. It seems it was a heart problem. There is not a part of me that is not thankful for every year he spent with us and all the funny things he used to do.. give kisses.. imitate my laugh my crying my coughing my dogs barking my singing and my whistling.. specially that.. he loved to do that. My heart is sad when he remembers I'm not gonna see him anymore but totally thankful to have had such a beautiful animal for such long time. I'm also proud cause these animals originate from Tumbes Peru my country hehe.. and are so beautiful. Love your parrot very much while you can. My beautiful "Loro" now rests in peace.

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  • fred - 2011-02-28
    Sorry Rosanna about your "loro". I own several conures and one day my Hahns Macaw escaped last year 6/2010. I felt very bad and my Half-Moon conure also was his buddy. They were both 5-6 yrs old. Then I heard about 400 birds confiscated from hoarder and brought to humane society. I decided to do something good and adopt one. I ended up adopting my "Cherry" who was abused but was in good health when I got him or her. He is a lovely Cherry head who is afraid of my fingers most of the time BUT will show affection to my ear or nose. He is a buddy to my Half-Moon conure, also. Don't know how old he is BUT I will love my parrots very much.-----
mazza - 2011-01-22
My red masked conure was mistreated before I got her, how can I get her to trust humans again?

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  • Editor's Note - 2011-01-22
    It will probably take a lot of time and patience. Here are some general guidelines on taming conures: Handling and Training Conures
  • Steve - 2011-01-30
    It is possible, I once had a wild caught adult orange wing amazon, who was very frightened of humans, afraid of hands and tended to bite at every opportunity. With love and patience, over a 6 month period, I earned gus's trust and he became an awesome friend and companion. Although he never spoke, he was quick to learn tricks, and love to play hide and seek. Be patient with your bird, go slow, and give him lots of love, and he'll eventually learn to trust you.
Yvonne - 2011-01-16
How long does this type of conure live under normal circumstances - does this vary even in the best of conditions?

Amy - 2010-12-29
Can you breed a green cheek conure with a cherry head conure?

amie - 2010-09-25
We have a conure that we found in our pond about 3 months ago. He has bonded with me and typically won't let anyone else near, until recently. Anytime my husband comes into the room, the bird will automatically start trying to bite me hard and when he does it draws blood. He still won't my husband rub him like I can so what gives with the biting?

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  • Echo VanderWal, Shelton & Mason Co. Parrot Rescue (SMCPR) - 2010-10-14
    It is possible that your bird has trust issues with males, or something about your husband reminds the bird of a bad experience. We currently have a Cherry-Masked Conure in foster care that was severely abused and traumatized by teenage boys. As a result, "Red" doesn't trust ANY men. The abuse and trauma happened almost 10 years ago. She "tolerates" my husband, but he doesn't try to handle or pet her. When she first arrived, she would lunge at anyone (male or female) who tried to come anywhere near me. I retrained her to stay on my shoulder, by telling her "Eh! No lunge" in a firm commanding voice (NOT yelling) when she would attempt to lunge and attack others who came near me. When she listened to the command, I praised her by telling her "Good Girl! Good no lunge!" in a higher more up-beat voice. This worked very well with her. Red used to be poked at and stabbed at, so anything that comes near her (even a finger) she sees as an attempt to hurt her. I understand this, I understand why she has this fear, and I try to work with her in such a way that is comfortable for her without causing more fear.

    Unlike me, you didn't get any history regarding the bird you have adopted. Instead, you will need to study and watch his/her body language. I would highly suggest that you do your research and read up on the body language of parrots. This will help you determine what things make him/her nervous or scared. If the bird "puffs-up" with his/her feathers, that is a universal warning that he/she is scared and that you need to back off until the bird calms down and feels more comfortable.

    Also, as the bird has bonded with you, and with the biting behavior you have described, it sounds like the bird is treating you as a "mate" and trying to "warn" you about your husband coming near. Kind of, "hurry, we need to leave" type of warning. For now, until the bird is more comfortable with your husband, just have your husband talk to the bird while he/she is in his/her cage, and have him give him/her special treats (that only HE gives him/her) through the cage or into the feed dish. This will help them develop at least the starting of a relationship.

    Hope this helps!
Anne - 2010-10-10
I have a red-masked conure and fairly recently he has been swelling up like a balloon from the neck down to his abdomen. He makes this funny little noise before it happens. I'm really worried about him. Can anyone help me with this? He still eats well and is active but he has started to pull some some small feathers out from under his wings and this always hurts him. I'm not sure if he is just grooming or not.

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  • Echo VanderWal, Shelton & Mason Co. Parrot Rescue (SMCPR) - 2010-10-14
    It sounds like your bird is "sucking air". This is typically a nervous habit, but as far as I have been able to determine, not dangerous to health. However, when combined with starting to pull feathers, you need to check around to see what may be making your bird more stressed or nervous. Is there more stress in the household? New pet? New baby? New people in the house? Any of these can cause these symptoms. Try to provide extra out-of-cage time as well as some toys the bird can use that it can destroy and shred, puzzle toys to occupy the mind, and communication toys (such as a mirror and/or a bell). Hope these ideas help.
Sharon Simon - 2008-08-11
Can someone tell me what the average life span of a cherry head conure is. I have one that I raised from a baby and he's now 22 years old.

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  • angie - 2010-06-29
    I have my old man, affectionately named Baby, because I always called him my Baby, since 1980! I was told at that time he was a year or two years old. They, people who handle birds, tell me he is old! I know because he is almost totally blind, cannot fly any more, and must have some neurological problem because he gets the "shakes" that reminds me of older folks with "paulsey". Now he is getting to the point where he just wants to stay in his cage and wants me to just sit with him, and I put my fingers against the cage and he'll rest his beak between my two fingers. I love him dearly....we been through a lot together! I count each day with him as a present! My vet said to just keep him comfortable and bring him in only if he has a hard time breathing.......he says then he would put him to "sleep" because it would be cruel to have him breathing laboriously. Good Luck with your "guy". They can be very demanding, but are so lovable!
boo boo - 2008-09-14
Last spring, we adopted a red-masked conure that plucks its entire body bare of feathers except his head and neck, leaving only the contour feathers on wing and tail. Fred is slightly bigger than a sun or jenday, but less noisy and far less shrill. It is more noisy and slightly smaller than a "Queen of Bavaria".

We were amazed when we determined from its leg band that it was imported at least 15 years ago, since it is otherwise quite active and healthy. It has a HUGE personality. The bird says "hello," "What's for dinner?," "We have a problem" and "Come Back Here" fairly clearly in appropriate contexts. It also mimics our squeaky patio door and dances to a good musical beat. Our nephew started calling it "bobble head" after he saw it dancing one day. Though we have not determined its gender we call it "Fred".

At first Fred tried to bite us every chance it got, so we had to clip its wings to prevent being attacked. Happily, Fred is becoming a little more trusting and trustworthy every day. The bird is still a little bit psycho about defending the cage territory, and it doesn't want to be touched, but it will now will step up and ride on sticks and shoulders. Fred is ecstatic about bathing in his deep basin; our daughter swears that the bird swims.

Fred is intelligent, quite engaging and always entertaining. It loves to eat mashed potatoes and drink orange juice. Regarding its feather-plucking, I have come to believe that the bird is either making a fashion statement, or is just too warm in the house with its feathers on. My evidence is that it likes to have a few ice cubes in its bath as well as in the water dish. Sometimes it just chews on the ice.

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  • Toni Zepeda - 2010-05-25
    Have you considered he might have might or a skin condition? there are a number of good safe mite sprays on the market. My husbands cockatiel female was doing her neck and back that way and I sprayed her twice as well as her cage and she stopped and has grown back her feathers.