Red-masked Parakeet (Psittacara erythrogenys)

Red-masked Parakeet


The red-masked parakeet (Psittacara erythrogenys) is a medium-sized parrot from Ecuador and Peru. It is popular as a pet and are better known in aviculture as the cherry-headed conure or the red-headed conure. They are also considered the best talkers of all the conures. Red-masked parakeets average about 33 cm (13 in) long, of which half is the tail. They are bright green with a mostly red head on which the elongated pale eye-ring is conspicuous; the nape is green. Also, the lesser and median underwing coverts are red, and there is some red on the neck, the thighs, and the leading edge of the wings. Juveniles have green plumage, until their first red feathers appear at around the age of four months. Its call is two-syllabled, harsh and loud.

Distribution And Habitat

The Red-masked Parakeet is native to Ecuador and Peru (Best and others 1995, Clements and others 2001, Juniper and Parr 1998), and has been introduced to Puerto Rico where it mostly occurs in urban areas and forested areas nearby (Falcón and Tremblay 2018). Populations are concentrated in the San Juan metro area and around Arecibo- Barceloneta on the north coast and has shown a population increase on the island (Falcón and Tremblay 2018). The atlas fieldwork yielded a total of seven records within six hexagons or 1 percent of the 479 total hexagons (see map). Of the six hexagons where this species was found, breeding met the atlas definition of confirmed in 17 percent (one) of the hexagons, probable in 50 percent (three), and possible in 17 percent (one), while the species was also observed in an additional hexagon (17 percent) but without evidence of breeding (see map). Red-masked Parakeet distribution. The map shows the highest breeding code by hexagon and overlaying the ecological life zones in Puerto Rico. Note: percentages may not total 100 due to rounding.

Red-masked Parakeet Distribution

Breeding Habits

The Red-masked Parakeet nests in tree cavities/holes (Juniper and Parr 1998), termite nests, or cliffs (Juniper and Parr 1998). Atlas results show that this species breeds during April, 193Red-masked Parakeet/Perico FrentirrojoJuly, and December, peaking in December (see chart), in the subtropical moist forest life zone (100 percent of the hexagons) (see table and map).


The current overall population trend of the Red-masked Parakeet has not been quantified or assessed, but the species is suspected to be undergoing a moderately rapid decline due to trapping for the pet trade as well as habitat loss and fragmentation (BirdLife International 2018). However, the population trend for this species in Puerto Rico is described as increasing (Falcón and Tremblay 2018). This species is currently listed as a Near Threatened species by the IUCN (BirdLife International 2018). Locally, this species is not listed in any of the threatened categories of PRDNER and USFWS. In Puerto Rico, the Red- masked Parakeet has a protected habitat in land of 13 percent or 15 km2 of the total area covered by the hexagons where evidence of breeding was found for this species (119 km2).