General Information about the Black Headed (see above picture) and White Bellied Caiques
Many people like caiques for their outgoing, fearless personality. Others like them for their vibrant colors. And others because they are a "large" parrot in a smaller, easier to care for package. I like them for all of the above reasons.
If you are looking for a small companion parrot with a big personality, consider a caique.
Relatively new to the avian pet trade, caiques are quickly making their mark in the world of aviculture and are gaining much-deserved popularity with their bright, festive coloring and playful, active personalities. These cocky yet clownish little birds are as friendly and outgoing as they are curious, their talking ability has proven to be more than adequate, and their entertaining antics are a welcome delight to any observer. From all appearances, these energetic little beauties possess almost all of the most sought-after traits that are considered desirable in a companion parrot.
Currently the most commonly available species is the black-headed caique, originating North of the Amazon and westward to parts of Venezuela, Ecuador and Peru. These birds sport a deep, rich forest green color on their backs, wings and tail. The top and upper back of the head is a shiny jet black; the nape and neck is a vivid yellow/orange, and the beak is black. There is a hint of dark green around the eyes, and the entire front of the belly and breast area is a soft cloudy white. "Socks" and the underside of the tail is burnt orange. This parrot measures approximately nine inches in length, and their sex is undeterminable by visualization.
The less common but increasingly available species is the white-bellied caique, whose habitat is South of the Amazon, from northern Brazil and spreading to parts of Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru. The appearance of the white-bellied species is almost identical to the black-headed, with two striking exceptions: the beak of the white-bellied caique is horn colored, and the entire head is a bright yellow/orange, giving this species the appearance of wearing a hood. The abrupt color changes from one part of the body to another are so pronounced on both of these birds that they look as if they have been painted on! The white-bellied species is slightly smaller in size measuring approximately eight inches in length, and again, this species is not sexually dimorphic.
Caiques are surprisingly small but heavy to those who have not previously encountered them; their body build is compact and stocky with a "barrel"-like chest and short, square-shaped tail. The average weight of an adult is approximately 150 to 175 grams, and their average lifespan is 30 years. They have a relatively narrow wing span and this, coupled with their weight, prevents them from flying long distances.
As with most avian species, the personality traits of the caique differ with each individual bird. Some exhibit the "Show me you love me" desire to be petted and cuddled more than others, but the overall pet potential of these charming little clowns is very hard -- if not impossible -- to surpass. They are rambunctious, energetic little pistols who sometimes seem to never wind down! They are very social, happy-go-lucky birds by nature, and love attention from their humans. Their work is to play, and they do play hard! They are quite coordinated, and some of their natural daily antics will consist of climbing up, down, over, around and under; swinging; tumbling; wrestling; rolling; hanging; jumping; and perhaps the most amusing of all, bunny-hopping. This entertaining-to-watch activity has thus far been noted to be specific to caiques and the etiology is unknown, which only serves to to heighten their uniqueness and desirability as companion parrots.
Caiques make a variety of cute and interesting noises. They chirp, sing, whistle, coo, and even purr. They can start to talk not long after they are weaned. My first caique baby was talking by the time he was 5 months old. They are very interactive and responsive with their vocalizations. They make no loud shrieks or squawks, only silly, happy birdy chirps.
Caiques eat a very common, easy to manage bird diet. I feed them pellets, some seeds, and lots of fruits and veggies. They also love healthy table scraps.
Caiques are about the size of a conure, senegal, or Meyer's parrot. Because of their active nature, however, they need a cage a bit bigger than one would expect for a bird of their size.
Caiques love all sorts of toys. Any toy hanging free from the cage ceiling will provide hours of upside-down entertainment. Mine especially love untying knots in strips of leather, and ringing bells. They also love to play and hide in their sleeping bag, a hanging loop of fleece in the back of the cage.
Caiques make excellent family pets that do not tend to bond to one person. My babies sometimes seem shy with strangers at first, but given a chance, they warm up to new people in a matter of minutes. The more people that handle them and give them attention, the better. There's never a dull moment with a caique!
AND THE COCKATIEL!!!
I also breed many different colors of the white face Cockatiel. At this time I have white face cinnamon pieds, white face grey pieds and white face cinnamon pearl pieds. In my opinion, the Cockatiel in any color is the best first bird. They are very sweet and friendly to anyone when handfed and properly socialized as babies. They are about six inches in body and another five or six inches in tail. The males tend to be a bit more vocal, and can sometimes be taught to talk. In my opinion both males and females make fabulous pets. They love to be petted and scritched under the chin and around the neck. Or quietly sit on your shoulder while you read, or watch a movie. they are very good fliers and it's wise to clip their wings. They can very easily escape through an open window or, fly into a window. Birds don't know about glass, to them it's just open flying room. Cover all windows and mirriors if you insist your bird be free flighted.
Cockatiels should be fed a varied diet; pellets such as Zu-preem, and seeds, birdy breads and greens. make sure they have plenty of fresh water to drink and bathe in.
Links to Other Sites
My Links to other pictures of my birds