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pic bh caiqueWhite-bellied CaiqueCaiques (pronounced ky-eeks) are the acrobatic clowns of the parrot world. They are very energetic, intelligent, curious and they love to keep busy. These parrots need to have large cages with lots of perches, fun destructible toys to chew on, and exercise toys to play with. Caiques are great when it comes to learning tricks!

Caiques are relatively quiet compared to larger parrots, but they can emit a very piercing, high-pitched call. Caiques are not known for their talking ability but often learn to whistle tunes. Caiques also tend to be somewhat territorial and don't play well with other birds.

There are two species of caiques, the Black-headed Caique and the White-bellied Caique. Caiques are medium sized parrots with stocky bodies and short tails.

The Black-headed Caique has a black head, yellow-orange neck, white belly, yellow legs, black beak, and a green back, wings and tail. Some of their wing feathers also have blue! Add in grey feet and it's no wonder that these little guys are sometimes called the "seven color parrot!"

The White-bellied Caique has a yellow-orange head, white belly, a light colored beak and a green back, wings and tail.

caique mapCaiques parrots originate from the Amazon basin area of South America. Black-headed Caiques come from north of the Amazon River in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Peru and Venezuela. The White-bellied Caiques are found south of the Amazon River in Bolivia, Brazil and Peru.

Caiques prefer to live in the humid forest canopy. They are very good climbers and they get around by walking, climbing, jumping, and hopping rather rather than flying!

In the wild, Caique parrots are often observed in pairs and small flocks of up to thirty birds.

The Caique's diet in the wild consists mainly of fruit, flowers and seeds.

The wild population of Caiques is not considered threatened.

Listen to Caiques in the wild:

View a video of a a flock of Caiques in the rainforest canopy:

Video credit: Peru Birding Tours
Pionites melanocephalus

To see more pictures and obtain information about Caiques click on the links below:

Common Name


White-bellied Caique

Pionites leucogaster

Black-headed Caique

Pionites melanocephalus


Life Span:

30 yrs.


9 - 10" (23 - 25cm)


5 - 6 oz. (150 - 170 grams)


View a video of a White-bellied Caiques eating fruit in the tree tops:

Video Credit: Rainforest Expeditions
  • Caiques are nicknamed the "Dancing Parrot" because of their habit of hopping like a little wind-up toy. Check out a video:
  • 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.
  • A study of Black-headed Caiques has shown that they are more frequently right footed than left footed. Most other parrot species are left footed.
  • Caiques often like to sleep on their backs and also love to juggle small toys while laying on their back.
  • A caique's smell can be a sign of its emotional state. Happy caiques have a sweet smell and sad caiques are said to smell like cardboard.
  • Ecuador and Peru are two countries that have honored Caiques on postage stamps:
stamp Caique stamp Caique2


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