Caiques

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Caiques

(Black headed, White bellied)

Caiques
SPECIES LIFE SPAN SIZE Weight/

Grams

NOISE LEVEL TALKING ABILITY Demanding/

Destructive

TEMPERAMENT
Caiques  30 yrs. 9 in. BH: 145 - 170

WB: 165 

Moderate/Fair Poor Moderate Fearless, lots of energy,  mischievous, playful, strong-willed. 

Caiques please!

by Lorwill Avaries
      
  Caique - pronounced Kah-EEK - describes a small number of subspecies of small stocky South American parrot, originating from north, and south, of the AmazonRiver. The two most commonly seen varieties are the Black-Headed Caique and the White-Bellied Caique (although both have white bellies). The differences are largely in appearance, with the former having a large black cap on its head, while the latter have a peachy-orange head colour. The latter are also somewhat larger in size, although if you looked at ranges, you would see an overlap in weights or overall lengths. Otherwise, the two are quite similar in personality and abilities.
        Caiques have a quite high-pitched contact-call, which they use to locate each other (or their humans) when out of sight. We don't find it nearly as grating as most conure calls, though we admit to some prejudice in this, and it is not their "normal" vocalization. Usually their singing/ talking is pretty quiet, their speaking voice tending to be somewhat whispery. Generally they only get really vocal if the environment is noisy, such as when the vacuum is running. They are not noted for large vocabularies, although they are certainly able to say things in context and to make themselves understood, if given the opportunity.
        Like lorikeets, caiques are high-energy birds, the acrobats of their world. Swinging by one toe while using beak and second foot to wrestle a friend or toy is a very typical scene for them. Inventing games involving their toys is second nature to them, and a constant source of amusement for their humans. They are true mechanics, often referred to as houdini's for their ability to open cage doors, dismantle toys, or whatever else they can get their beaks on, something to know, and prepare for, in advance to keep them (and your cellphone) safe.
        Because of their high activity level, caiques eat what seems like a very large amount of food with great gusto, often matching the food intake of much larger parrots. Veggies and fruits are great favorites and shouldn't be ignored in their diet, particularly in the spring when otherwise high hormone levels and energy combine to create problems for them if their diet is too high in protein (this being one of the triggers for breeding behavior). Food for a caique is so important that they will often bicker with other birds or their humans who seem to be trying to take it from them! Try two food dishes, and watch your fingers!
        Perfectly natural, and in some ways unique, behaviors for caiques are wrestling, inviting a wrestle by lying on their backs, and hopping two-footed on the cage or other floor. They also "walk" upside down on the cage roof, and are constantly inventing, and re-inventing, acrobatic games involving their toys. For this reason, it's important to know how to lower one's own energy level if they get too wound up in a rough-and-tumble. It's also important to keep an eye on any toy involving rope or other item that could cause tangling. Remember if a caique is tangled up in a pile of stringy rope, it's all your fault! (Your caique will certainly think so!) Use a towel to help with extraction. The other very unique behavior for caiques is the body-surf, or leaf-bathing. Caiques LOVE to rub up against toys, hair, cloth, skin, and to do so well will grab hold tightly with beaks. This may result in an occasional accidental pinch, so some kind of old shirt or poncho will be much appreciated by both birds and their humans. Keep scissors handy to trim any stringy bits. It's very tempting to keep filling the cage up with more and more toys for the caique to play. However, this will cramp its athletic style. It's much better to keep a surplus of toys out of sight so you can rotate. Smart little minds need new stimulation and challenges.
        Do caiques like to cuddle? Absolutely! As with everything else, cuddling gets its turn with great enthusiasm. Just keep a very calm attitude so you don't turn cuddles into wild and wacky romps! Many caiques enjoy sleeping inside clothing, under hair. They're small enough to crush, so be careful. Many enjoy the cuddly sorts of hanging cloth tent for sleeping in, or even an old tissue box. Do watch for loose threads on their cuddlies.
        As caiques are very clever and active little birds who love an audience, it isn't hard to train them to do tricks, especially as food and attention rewards are so much appreciated! Their humans need only remember which of them is the boss, as caiques can quickly manipulate a situation so that THEY are the ones doing the training, and as with willful children not given enough parental guidance, their cuteness can quickly turn obnoxious. Keeping control is a matter of attitude, though, not confrontation. Caiques love a good battle, and as they don't think of themselves as small they won't give in easily. Creative bribery works wonders. Instead of a stand-off about returning to the cage, for instance, make it the bird's idea by placing that special food treat inside the cage. Don't encourage situations where their feisty nature will get out of control (like their walking around the dining table taking charge of someone's plate). Distract when possible, turn your back, literally, on negative (such as noisy) behavior, and you and your caique will have a great relationship and a lot of fun times!
        The very significant upside of the caique personality is that it has few fears, and these don't usually last long. A new toy stops being scary within a minute. A new cage? No problem! An audience is always welcome.
        Their bond to their human is strong, but not so strong that others can't be part of the gang. This applies also to keeping more than one caique in a cage. Where most parrots turn their back on their human if given a chance to bond with another bird, caiques can be kept in pairs and remain friendly with their people. If they're a breeding pair, this may not apply during breeding season, especially for the males, who do feel a need to protect the nest. Sometimes two males housed together can come to blows when their hormones are running high. Again, a reduction in overall protein intake will help this, or keeping them in separate cages except at playtime, or keeping a male/female pair of birds instead of two boys. If you don't want a pair to breed, don't offer a nestbox, and reduce their protein in the spring, by offering more fruit, for instance. Other than that, you will have the very significant joy of watching two caiques play in constantly inventive and new ways.
         White-bellies will show their distant ancestry while young by displaying some amount of black blotchiness on their head up until their first major molt, at around a year old. All the sub-species of caiques also show a rather blotchy belly in their youth, with bits of black or orange or yellow making their belly less than pristine-white. As well, they play so hard that they often have little, if any, tail left by the time they're a year old, and frequently they've rubbed off a lot of the green on their wings. In other words, young caiques can be pretty messy to look at. Never fear, for most of them, by the time they're a year old, have not only grown into their very lovely adult plumage, but have learned to take much better care of their feathers. As well, their irises will have gradually turned from a nearly-black brown to a lovely bright red, so that they can tell you, by pinning their pupils, what sort of mood they're in, just as Amazons and many other parrots can.
        Bottom line, if you're a total wimp, stay away from these little characters, but if you like fun, cuddles, romps, and endless entertainment, one (or two) of these little giants may very well be the perfect pal for you.

BH: Black-Headed or Black-capped
WB: White-Bellied

Breeders of Caiques in Canada

British Columbia

Ponytail Joes
B.C. 
Fax: (250) 767-9452
e-mail me
Caiques: Black-headed & White-bellied  
  
     
     

Alberta

For the Love of Caique Aviary
P.O. Box 61017 R.P.O
Delta Edmonton, AB.  T5E 6J6
Ph: (780) 475-6723
Fax: (780) 406-3357
email 
White bellied, Black headed
Mountain View Aviaries
email
White Bellied, Black headed
   
     

Saskatchewan

     
     

Manitoba

 
   
     

Ontario

Bizy Bird Aviary Canada
Brigitte & Ken Overton
Stouffville, Ontario
e-mail me
White-bellied Caiques
Parrots Only Aviary
Didi Giving/ Mark Derewianko
Kenora, Ontario
email
Facebook
White Bellied Caiques
 
Central Pet Store
1921 Eglinton Ave. East
Toronto, Ontario Canada
Tel:416-750-0277
Email us
Black headed, White-bellied

Precious Feathers Aviary
Oshawa, Ontario
email or email
Blog
Black Headed and White Bellied
 
Exotic Wings & Pet Things
Mark or Lisa
St. Clements, Ontario
(519)699-5656 Phone
(519)699-5644 Fax
1-888-276-0031
e-mail me
Caiques: Black-headed, White-bellied
 
Sunset Aviaries
Shirley Usher
Ottawa, Ontario
(613)832-2689
e-mail 
Caiques
 
Susan Mazda
Oshawa, Ontario
(905) 743-0413
email
Black headed & White capped Caiques
 
Trudgen Aviaries
Jean Trudgen
Southwestern Ontario
e-mail me
(519) 674-3759
Caiques
PARROT FARM
Debbie Kinloch and Mike Csorbay
York, Ontario
(905)772-3101
e-mail me
Black-headed Caiques
 
   
       

Quebec

Oisellerie Domingo
Eric Plouffe
Bedford, Quebec
(450)
248-0788
email
White-bellied & Black-cap Caique

Voliere Bobek
Danielle
Montreal, Quebec
(514) 747-4841
email
White bellied Caiques
Oisellerie PLB
Pier-Luc Bérard

Drummondville, Quebec   J2B 0H8
Ph. (819) 850-4276
email

Black capped Caiques
 
   
     

New Brunswick

Tiny Flock Aviary
Andre & Erica Johnson
Dieppe, New Brunswick
(506) 852-3271
email me
Caique: White bellied, Black headed
 
   
       

Nova Scotia

             
             

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Last modified: November, 2007