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View our Caique Species info page

General Info

Black Headed Caiques pronounced Kye-eek - Latin name - Pionites melanocephala also known as Monkey Parrots
Body length: 9 - 11 in
Body weight: 150-175gms
Age at maturity: 2-3 years
Life span: up to 40 yrs
Country of origin: Brazil, Equador, Peru, Bolivia
Natural habitat: Forests and savannas in tropical lowlands; only occasionally at higher altitudes.
Noise level: Moderate to loud - We must be honest Baby's noise can be ear piercing at times especially when search calling.
Cage requirements: minimum of 24" x 24" with bar spacing 5/8" to 3/4"

If you have plenty of time and energy to devote to a pet, the Black-headed Caique may be right for you! These playful little birds are among the most beautiful of the parrot family and if you can devote enough of your time to a Caique, you will be well rewarded.

Black Headed Caiques are hugely popular little parrots. In recent years, their popularity has increased tenfold.

Originating from South America/Guiana. These parrots live on a simiar diet to that of the amazon parrot.

The Black Headed caique is a fun loving, athletic parrot, with an average live span of 30-40 years.
They have a chunky build, thickly muscled and strong dexterous feet which they use for manipulating toys and food.

BH Caiques can range from 7-9 inches in height and range in weight from 135-190 grams.
They do not tend to be prone to obesity despite their voracious appetite as their activity level is very high.

Caiques require a larger cage than other birds of their size.

Down-ish side
BH Caiques can vocalize at a high pitch, They do scream when frightened or growl and squeal when angered.
BH Caiques are capable of a hard bite, so training is of the essence to maintain a gentle loving relationship.
They do advertise a changed or heightened state of excitement with flashing or pinned eyes showing bright red, orange or yellow irises, fluffed head feathers, a cocky march towards the object of intent and out held wings.
BH Caiques have a small ability to talk, few can talk very clearly, but they are are not renowned for their talking ability.
Baby can say a few words, hello, awright and Max, he is also a fantastic impersonator of dogs barking, sqweeking door, sqweeky toys, electric screwdrivers and drill to name a few. As for whistling he wolf whistles, whistles the theme to When the saints go marching in and the TV football programme theme.

Up side
BH Caiques love cuddling, scratches and gentle caresses of their head feathers and chest, especially thier cheeks.
BH Caiques use anything and everything as a toy, even thier own leg or in babies case his own wing!
They are very agile, love to run and hop, usually preferring not to fly.
They are also extremely fond of hanging upside down and swinging from hanging toys while flapping their wings.
They enjoy toys of all sorts and are very persistent when they see something they want.
They love interaction and also lots of stimulating toys.
BH Caiques are fun, loving, cuddly, intelligent and one of the most rewarding pets you could ever ask for, they truley are the "Clown" of the parrot world they just never seem to stop playing.
Baby loves to exercise hes fascinating to watch doing sit ups, playing with his foot toys whilst laying on his back and hopping running and jumping across the cage,

Diet
BH Caiques need a large varied amount of fresh fruit and vegetables, fresh sprouts and various table foods, including pastas, breads, mashed potatoes, cooked chicken, cooked rice and beans. Also a small amount of top quality mixed seed.
They have a sweet tooth and prefer sweeter fruits and vegetables.

Please Note
The following are food items NEVER to feed.
Even in small doses they can be fatal. Chocolate, avocados, sugar, unwashed fruits and veggies (due to the pesticides). Mayonnaise products (go bad fast). Old seeds and nuts (can contain fungus or alfa toxins). Rhubarb , and milk or egg products from a public dispenser. Any food containing MSG (generally found in Chinese restaurant food).
For more indepth information please visit the following link
Items Dangerous To Parrots

Arcane facts about Caiques
A study of black-headed caiques has shown that they are more frequently right footed than left footed. Most other parrots species are left footed. By footedness is meant the foot that the bird prefers to hold its food. When offered a tasty morsel from the left, 62 percent of the time caiques will grasp it with the right foot. Offered from its right side this increases to 96 percent of the time.

Unlike most birds, the maxilla, i.e., upper bill, of parrots is not fixed but hinged. This is thought to be an adaptation for climbing since the movement of the bill relative to the bird's head is most evident when parrots are climbing. The birds coordinate the motion of the hinged bill with movement of their feet.

Caique chicks are probably deaf when they hatch and, like other New World parrots, have no ear opening. An opening appears about the same time their eyes open between two and three weeks after hatching. Some think the reason for this is to limit the competition between siblings for the food delivered by the parents. Caique chicks do not hatch at the same time. Sometimes more than two weeks separate the hatching of the oldest from the youngest. The oldest bird is able to hear first, and if there is not enough food to go around, it has an advantage in knowing when its parent has arrived and can beg for food without the youngest even knowing. For this reason, the youngest bird in the clutch, referred to as a "Benjamin," often does not survive.

The caique is sometimes referred to as the dancing parrot. This dancing is highly prized by some natives of South America. Stolzmann, who explored much of Peru between 1875 and 1880, noted, "The natives teach them to dance. In the evening they put them on a table illuminated by a candle and then sing or whistle while clapping their hands; the parrots hop to this noise. For a dancing parrot one pays there from 40 to 50 francs." The dancing that most of my birds perform is characterized by a series of hops forward and when confined to a cage scooting backward. If the bird is on the large open floor, it may hop quite a long distance. The bird will repeat the dance many times. During the hopping the bird pushes its breast forward, holds it head high, and pins its eyes. The dance is usually done on a flat surface and occasionally on a perch. You can encourage it to continue by clapping your hands in cadence with the hop. Males tend to dance more often than females. All my imported females, but none of my hand reared females dance. All of my males whether imported or hand reared dance. One is quite accomplished. He likes me to chase him as he hops long distances of ten feet or more. When he is in the right mood, this bird will hop on command. The dance seems to be associated with establishing dominance, territorial claims, or an epigamic display.

Georges Louis Leclerc Comte de Buffon, who first set forth the binomial theorem and wrote what is considered the first popular science book, i.e., Histoire Naturelle, published the second known print of a caique in 1783. He noted that the natives called this bird the "La petite Perruche Maypouri, de Cayenne" or the little tapir. He explained that this name was given because one of the whistles made by the caique is identical to that made by the tapir, the largest native quadruped of the same region. (See Prestwick.) This is confirmed by Sick in his book on the Brazilian birds. He indicates that in the wild they make a "strident, prolonged, tremulous tsrrrri-tsrrrri" similar to that of the tapir. In Brazil they call it the Periquito díanta, which translates as tapir parakeet.

In 1830 at age 16, Edward Lear, famous for the childrenís poem "The Owl and the Pussycat," set out to draw all the known parrot species. His plan was to sell his illustrations by subscription. He completed only forty-two prints before he had to abandon his project because of lack of money. Only 175 sets were produced. Needless to say these prints are very valuable today. One that he did complete was of a white-bellied caique. He labeled it with the scientific name Psittacus badiceps and the common name "bay-headed parrot." He drew all his parrots from live specimens found either in the London Zoo or in the collections of private owners.

Caiques are considered an unusual species because they appear to be unrelated to any of the other large orders of parrots in South America such as the macaws and the conures. Some believe them to be most closely related to the hawk-headed parrot (Deroptyus species), a species that is also considered to be unusual and unconnected. Evidence for relatedness is the capacity of a species to hybridize with another. This is well established within the genus Pionites. Indeed, the first breeding of caiques ever reported in aviculture was of a pallid with a green thighed white bellied. What is surprising is a report by Sick in the Birds in Brazil of a hybrid bird from a pairing of a black-headed caique (P. melanocephala) with an Illigerís macaw [Propyrrhura (Ara) maracana], a very different species.
( Source= Caique Site)

Summer Tips
Below are some delicious birdy cocktails to keep your lil birdy cool

Make a delicious cool smoothie

Fruity Ice Smoothie

You will need your birdies favorite fruit
Dice into small pieces and remove any toxic seeds (apple, pear, cherry pits etc). Put into blender or food processor and mix until almost liquid but some chunks still remain. Put mixture into ice cube trays (for smaller birds you can buy small ice cube trays) and put into freezer until frozen. Give to your birdies and let them enjoy!! Especially good for those summer months!!

or try making a ...

Fruity Ice

Select several types of fresh fruits, any combination, diced into pieces.
Puree fruits in blender or food processor until smooth and mixed. Pour into ice cube trays, and freeze until solid. Keep frozen, stored in freezer containers or plastic bags.
To serve, remove 1-2 cubes per bird, thaw slightly. Some of my birds actually seem to prefer the frozen fruit, especially in summer!

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