If you want a cute, intelligent, active, and very entertaining bird, a Caique may be the bird for you. These lively little parrots pack a lot of personality into a small bundle of feathers and are known as the clowns of the bird world.
What is a Caique?
Caique originates from South America and is part of the small parrots with short, square tails and striking colors such as green, black, yellow, and orange. Caiques do not usually talk like many other parrots but are known as a playful species that whistles and chirps regularly.
Caique has quickly earned a place in the homes and hearts of countless bird lovers. A Caique would be the right choice for a family or individual looking to have a pair of birds.
COMMON NAMES: Black-headed Caique, White-bellied Caique, Seven-colored Parrot, Dancing Parrot, Yellow-footed Caique.
ADULT SIZE: 9 to 10 inches.
LIFESPAN EXPECTATION: 25 to 40 years.
Origin and history
In the wild, Caique is native to areas of South America north of the Amazon River. Their range extends to Colombia, French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname, Peru, and, Ecuador, Suriname. They also live in parts of Brazil and Venezuela.
This species is most at home in swamps and lowland tropical forests. They are usually found in small flocks of about 30 birds or a pair, as they are very social birds by nature and are rarely alone. The word “caique” comes from the indigenous language of the Tupi people of Brazil and means “water bird”. These birds like to bathe.
Caiques are known to form close bonds with people. They love attention. They can be very affectionate and like to play or just sit with a human companion. If you are looking for a new best friend, this could be the species for you. They love to show off and are called “dancing parrots” for a reason. They learn quickly, are adept at learning fun tricks, and have a great personalities.
Caiques are playful and fun little birds that love to be active and have the opportunity to explore everything. Because they are always on the go, they are some of the most energetic parrots and are very curious and mischievous. These birds can also get cranky at times and chirp when interacting with humans, or at least find a way to use their beaks.
As pets, cockatiels are usually fine alone or in pairs, but be careful not to keep a cockatiel with another species. They can become aggressive and show surprisingly violent bites.
Language and vocalization
Some cockatiels can learn to speak a few words, but most prefer to stick to “bird language”. They will enjoy their whistles and songs as much as the environmental sounds they imitate. Although they can become noisy, they are generally known for a moderate noise level with soothing sounds compared to other parrots. They can occasionally make very high-pitched and shrill calls. Before choosing this species, make sure their noise level and vocal ability are to your liking.
Colors of the Caique
The markings of a Caique are distinct, looking more like a block of color. The head, wings, belly, and thighs are usually a different color than the other parts of the body, with only a few gradations between colors. Because of their very distinctive and colorful plumage, they are often referred to as seven-colored parrots. Black-headed and white-bellied caciques are the most common color varieties.
Black-headed caciques have a predominantly black head with orange or yellow cheeks and a green stripe under the eyes. Their wings and upper tail feathers are a beautiful green and the thigh feathers and underside of the wings are bright yellows. They have a white-beige belly, gray legs, and a gray bill. They are also called seven-color parrots.
Subspecies of the white-bellied caiman, namely the yellow-legged and yellow-tailed caiman, are also becoming more popular.
Care of caimans
Caimans should be allowed to play on a regular, scheduled basis. Provide plenty of positive interaction for this bird.
They are also relatively small, which makes them attractive to apartment and condo dwellers. Despite their small size, caicans are best kept in a small aviary or large cage. The space between bars should be no more than 3/4 inch wide.
Since they are intelligent, they are also good escape artists. Make sure your cage is sturdy and can safely hold these wily birds. A wrought iron cage is best, as they often try to chew through the bars.
Provide the bird with a bathing bowl of fresh water daily.
General Health Issues
Caiques are generally healthy birds. However, this species is susceptible to polyomavirus, a potentially fatal virus that occurs primarily in young birds and can cause severe intestinal problems and attack the bird’s heart, liver and kidneys.1 At birth, the bird can receive a vaccine to prevent this disease. In addition, you can get an annual booster vaccine to keep your bird healthy if your pet is around other birds in your environment.
Diet and nutrition
In the wild, caicans eat seeds, berries, and fruits. As birds, feed them a high-quality extruded pellet. As with all bird species, clean, fresh drinking water should always be available.
Green leafy vegetables such as chard, watercress, kale, or collard greens are a nutritious addition to their diet. Fresh fruit is a wonderful topping for vegetables. A little bit of healthy seeds, such as chia seeds, is fine, but avoid a diet that consists solely of seeds, as this will not meet their vitamin and mineral needs.
You can start by offering 1/2 cup of parrot pellets and 1/2 cup of fruit and vegetable salad when they wake up in the morning. Decrease the amount you give your bird depending on the amount of food it eats. Once the bird has eaten all of it, you can offer a second meal a few hours before bedtime. At the end of each day, throw away any fresh food that has not been eaten. Keep an eye on your parrot’s weight. If it noticeably gains or loses weight, adjusts the size of the rations.
Caiques are small active birds that seem to prefer walking to flying. Caiques love to move around on the ground and are fun to watch on the ground or any other large flat surface. They have a unique bounce that is charming and endearing. They act like a wind-up tin toy that bounces around in a very fun way.
A cockatiel should spend at least an hour a day outside the cage jumping and exercising its powerful leg muscles, and exploring a bit in a bird-proof room under supervision.
Since these birds are very busy, they need lots of stimulating toys. It may take a while for your bird to find its favorite toy. They can be a bit finicky and stubborn when it comes to their things. Play also helps the bird wear out its beak, which helps keep it in good shape. Replace branches and toys regularly when they wear out.
- Social and affectionate
- Can imitate sounds, perform tricks, and dance
- Not very talkative
- Does not get on well with other bird breeds
Where can you adopt or buy a caique?
Contact a parrot rescue or adoption agency that has Caiques and ask if you can visit their birds. Seeing one of these parrots in its familiar environment will give you a good idea of what it is like to live with such a bird.
Breeders sell Caiques for between $1,000 and $2,000. Rescue organizations, adoption organizations, and breeders where you can find caiques are:
- Adopt a pet
- Birds now
- The Gabriel Foundation
When considering a bird breeder, interview the breeder, observe the general health of the birds, check living conditions, and talk to previous customers. Signs to avoid the breeder are cramped living conditions, inactive birds, and breeders who dodge your questions or don’t seem to have much information about their birds.