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Old 10-02-2012, 11:51 PM
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old Red-headed conure

my father bought a Red-headed conure when i was only 4 months old 22 years ago was already full grown he spends 40% of the day screaming and 60% of the day sleeping at bottom of the cage only person he respects is my father attacks the rest of us even do we grew up together

would like to know what are Red-headed conures life span he eats well mostly seeds and fruits but the sleeping most of the day worries me usually sleeps when there is no one making noise active when ppl are around

also is it possible for me to tame him at this age? at least not to attack me when changing food and stuff
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Old 10-03-2012, 09:24 AM
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Re: old Red-headed conure

I'm curious to know what kind of red headed conure... there are several species.

Typical lifespan I would say about 18-25 years, although 30+ years is possible. My cherry head was estimated to be 18-20 years old when he passed away due to health problems, but I believe he was actually older than myself. My mitred conure is 18 years old.

It may be possible to become friends with him, however it may take several months working with him.


I am worried about him sleeping on the bottom of the cage. That is not a normal behavior and makes me wonder about arthritis and kidney problems. If he hasn't been on the best diet, he may be sick and need to be seen by an avian vet. Is there any way that he can be taken in to an a-vet for gram stain and blood work?
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Old 10-19-2012, 01:32 PM
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Re: old Red-headed conure

I'm guessing its a red masked conure has same color patterns as this ones





I'll try to upload a pic of him soon and i doubt its any health problem hes been doing this for 1 1/2 -2 years now maybe its just old age? his age should be 24-26+ years
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Old 10-19-2012, 03:24 PM
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Re: old Red-headed conure

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Old 10-19-2012, 05:04 PM
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Re: old Red-headed conure

Hands down, he is a mitred conure! Not a cherry head!

  • Cherry heads look like they have had their heads dipped in red paint. The red is even throughout the head region.
  • Mitreds have a band of red right above the nares that does not go past the eyes, as well as varying amounts of red around the eye itself and within the cheeks. The red near the nostrils is a deeper red than the rest of the red on the head.

  • Cherry heads may have red on their wrists (part of the wing near shoulder that bends)
  • Mitreds may have red in their "arm pits" but typically no red at the wrist joint.

  • Cherry heads usually weigh between 130-180 grams (I've heard of some over 200 grams)
  • Mitreds typically weigh 180-250+ grams


Generally speaking, mitred conures are a darker color than cherry heads... you may not be able to tell in photos, but the green and red tend to be a shade darker.


There are no documented cases of cherry heads with subspecies, but there are 2 subspecies of the mitred conures, plus the nominate species. I'm pretty sure you have the same subspecies as me, a Northern Mitred Conure!


Here's a couple old photos, taken prior to my cherry heads passing. It kind of shows the differences between the two species.
Mitred & Cherry Headed Conures | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
Mitred & Cherry Headed Conures | Flickr - Photo Sharing!


Here's a photo of Noel, the cherry head. Notice the red at the bend of the wings.



Vs a photo of Charlie, the mitred ("my-turd"). Notice how green he is compared to Noel!




A photo of Noel's head. Notice how the red from the nostrils back is one even color.



And one of Charlie... and how it's just a little darker near his nostrils/nares. Almost looks like a trick of the light, but it shows up in almost every single photo of him!





If you couldn't tell, yes, I'm a red head fanatic!!! And your guy is lovely!!! Fantastic looking feathers!


If he hasn't been to an avian vet for blood work recently, it honestly wouldn't hurt to take him in! There's quite a few health problems seen in older birds, especially those that may not have been on the best of diet. Failing kidneys/liver, arthritis and bad eyesight being at the top of the list. A potential reason why he may not be perching could be due to arthritis, and if it is, there are medications out there to help make him feel more comfortable. Flat, platform perches would be ideal if this is the case.


It may take time to get him to trust you, but I'd love to hear about any progress that you may make with him!
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Old 10-20-2012, 02:24 AM
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Re: old Red-headed conure

i see. Reason we haven't taken him to the vet is that he gets really stressful when we move his cage around or when someone is trying to hold him i have to wrap two towels around my arm just to move him from cage to his play stand when cleaning his cage. My father is the only one that can clean his cage while hes inside but still he panics when dad tries to grab him i guess hes just extremely territorial he has never had a mate companion i managed to tame him enough for him to jump in my arm but goes nuts trying to find soft spot on the towel to bite me freaks me out when he manages to get half way to my face i still love him do

He has a metal Closed band on the other foot is there a way to id him to see how old he really is? or is it just to proof he was legally imported?
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Old 10-20-2012, 02:36 AM
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Re: old Red-headed conure

Punk213,
So it sounds like your Cherry-head (aka Red-masked) is at least 23 years old. My Cherry-head, Pritti, was 30 in August. Over time he definitely takes more naps then he used to, but other behaviors, eating, playing, are same as always. So, your bird not wanting to eat unless hand fed and the sleeping at bottom of cage are adding up to "I don't feel well" behavior. Will you be able to get to an Avian Vet right away. It is really really important to not wait. See this story from the other day about Pritti's symptoms and vet visit and you'll understand why you should call first thing in the morning and asked to be seen if they are open. Vet visit for Pritti today, poor baby.

Also, what is his poop looking like? Very wet, normal, color changes, etc. Poop tells a ot too. In the meantime, you could make sure he has something soft to snuggle in to and rest or keep warm nearby in the bottom of the cage, like a snuggle hut or a soft crumpled up towel with folds he can get in to or next to. If he's weak, make sure he can easily reach his water and food, even if it means you have to get some smaller dishes and put on floor of cage nearby (you could use little crocks, or clean jar lids to hold food. Dehydration can happen quickly and make them lethargic, so try handfeeding some wet foods, peeled apple, cucumber, peeled grape, melon, etc.

Please don't wait - if you sense something is wrong, then that is probably the case.

And yes, to answer your qeustion about training -- once he feels better -- you can certainly have some level of success getting him to be more accepting of somone other than your dad. I've recently had good success with Pritti and two of my family members that have never tried to interact with him for over 15 years, and he would always try to attack them, now he throws them kisses, will let their hands up near him and touch his beak to them, play toy game with them, so it's possible, but your dad will have to be willing to help.

get your fid better and keep us posted.
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Old 10-21-2012, 05:39 PM
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Re: old Red-headed conure

WannaBeAParrot, not a cherry head...

Here's a website that shows head shot comparisons between the different species of "red headed" conures - not taking subspecies into account.
Hideaway Farms Aviary


Punk, I guess another way of saying it, is if you had a child and he/she was acting odd, or not the way they should be, would you take them to a doctor to make sure everything is ok or leave them at home? Birds can't tell us when something is wrong, except when their behavior isn't quite right. It could be subtle things such as a change in weight, different droppings, slightly more sluggish behavior (could be so minute that it's hard to tell until the bird is well again). Short of finding a mobile avian vet, it's usually more beneficial to take a bird in to an a-vet and get them treated rather than leaving them at home possibly getting sicker.

I know it's a big concern about heat, cold and the stress of it... but it's really a no win situation if your bird doesn't enjoy going places. Older birds especially need to be watched over for health problems that aren't as common in the younger birds.


I don't get the vibe that he's cage territorial so much as he doesn't enjoy human interaction. If people must grab him out of the cage to remove him, or use a towel, he finds this experience scary and makes him not want to trust people. I would have to see his behavior or hear more about it.

A lot of people mistake fear as aggression. Birds have a fight or flight response. Once flight (escape) is taken out of the equation (birds are clipped then stuck inside a cage), that leaves fighting (aka defending themselves). It is very possible to teach a fearful parrot to be aggressive. In short though, a fearful parrot is one that tries to get away from you, avoiding you at all costs. A parrot that is aggressive will go out of their way to attack you. It's easier to work with a bird once you understand their behaviors better.

If the leg band is closed, that's proof that he was captive bred and may help you determine how old he is. My mitred conure is also banded. Because of his band, I was able to figure out his age (was told he was around 10 years old, but he was really 12, and now he's 18), that he is not a part of the wild flock of cherry heads in San Francisco (as some thought or fantasized about), and that both of his parents were wild caught imports.

Here's some photos of Charlie that also kind of show his leg band...






The band might be traceable.... I can try myself if I know the info on it... although that depends on whether or not there is any information left about the breeder who bred him.
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Old 10-21-2012, 06:57 PM
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Re: old Red-headed conure

Pedro our mitred had a lot of yellow feathers in her wings. As she got older with each molt she got more and more red feathers down to her shoulders on her neck. She had dark red feathers on her forehead, with lighter every where else. Her wings did not criss cross behind her when folded back.
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Old 10-21-2012, 07:56 PM
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Re: old Red-headed conure

If he is spending a lot of time on the bottom of the cage, I would take him to the vet. This is a sign of possible serious illness.
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