By Anne C. Watkins
Mitred conures are slightly larger than the cherry-headed conure.
Mitred conures (Aratinga mitrata) are mostly green with dark red feathers on their heads, napes and throats; some mitred conures also have red feathers sprinkled across their chests and abdomens. They are often mistaken for the various other red-headed Aratinga conures but, at 15 inches long, they are “a tad larger than the cherry-headed conure,” said June DiCiocco, owner of Hideaway Farms in South Carolina.
Mitred conures can learn to talk, have typically loud Aratinga voices and enjoy spending time with their owners. They’re also very bright. Washington resident Katie Fosberg likened the mitred conure's intelligence to that of crows. “They puzzle things out," she said. "It looks to me like they are watching everything you do and figuring out how best to mess it up for you the next time you try to do it.”
Fosberg’s two mitred conures, Peanut and Pickles, enjoy the challenge of tightly knotted leather. “They love knots. They love to untie them over and over, and they love to preen the leathers strips. None of our other conures do that; they chew it — but the strip will always be nipped off with the blue-crowned conures and the jenday conures will unthread them and they end up in the water dish.”
Karen Wakefield of Maryland has a mitred that is a leather lover, too. “Oscar likes to chew on leather. It seems to have a soothing effect on him as he is a high-energy, demanding and needy kind of bird.”
Her mitred conure, Oscar, is nicknamed “The Boss Bird” for good reason. “He doesn’t play with toys because he feels that his primary function in the household is to keep tabs on his flock, and he doesn’t have time for trivial things like toys,” Wakefield said. “He only uses his bell when he is mad as heck that you are not paying him any attention.’”