Caiques are high energy, better than television type of parrot. They are loving and will body surf on their humans to show this affection. This surfing is a rubbing and rolling in your hand or where they are most comfortable on their owners. Also known as, the “Clown” birds.
They come from South America in two species only: The white-bellied and the black-headed, however, they both have white bellies so their head color makes the distinction. Lifespan is approximately 30-35 years in captivity for both species. Both are energetic and enthusiastic about everything they do. They give a new definition to “busybodies”, never stopping for a second, a caique is playing, playing, playing until it falls asleep. They are also very sensitive and can get their feelings hurt by simply leaving them for a long weekend with your neighbor. We often hear from owners that their caique keeps going and going and will then find them asleep in their bowls while eating or flat on their backs.
Both species need a large cage because of this endless playful spirit. If they spend 6-8 hours a day in their cage they need plenty of mental and physical stimulation. If you could imagine a 3-year-old child with one toy all day and nothing else, boredom and trouble will set in quickly. Caiques are not well known for being great talkers but can mimic household noises, alarms, and whistles. They can be talkative in their voice when they are happy and playing. They will hop, roll, dance, and play like little kittens with a ball of yarn if another caique is around or engaged by his favorite toy or person.
Caiques, like kids, can get into trouble or have behavioral problems if they are not kept busy and mentally challenged. They love to learn through play so if owners cannot match up to their energy and playfulness a second caique is recommended. Common behavior problems include biting and screaming; however, if the owner commits to regular playtime and teaching these problems can be avoided easily. Caiques are great for families with young kids because the kids can keep up with their endless energy, playfulness, and love of learning new things. Kids are great at teaching parrots new tricks.
Fetching a ball, riding the shoulder of a running child or dog, interactive toys such as “cause and effect” and foraging are all great ways you can keep these busy bees busy.
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