Albert the Red Fronted Macaw


Albert passed away on March 9th, 2005. No COD is known.

Albert is a very special bird. He is a Red Fronted Macaw. These birds are on the endangered species list and are very rare. However, they are being bred in captivity with great success.

Albert came to me as an 18 something-year-old male bird. He’s been mistreated and ignored for at least the last 8-10 years. His diet consisted mostly of peanuts and sunflower seeds. He had a bad disposition, screamed and bit all the time. As a result of his treatment, he plucked 100% of his feathers on his chest, back, legs and underside of his wings. Oddly, he can fly very well. The pictures tell his whole story.

In just three months I have completely turned him around. I have changed his diet to mixed seeds/fruits that exclude sunflower seeds. He gets a lot of personal attention and has three other birds to “play with”.He now very rarely bites me in agression, is playful, loves to come out of his cage, steps up on command, rides my shoulder and generally behaves! He’s even begun to scream much less, in fact I can’t remember the last time he had a screaming fit.

More Information

  • Scientific name: Ara rubrogenys
  • Common name: Red-fronted Macaw
  • Length: 21 – 22 inches
  • Wingspan: 32 – 34 inches
  • Weight: 450 – 650 g
  • Natural Diet: Fruits of the Cacti, native fruits, cultivated corn, and peanuts (Albert’s favorite).
  • Natural Range: Red-fronted Macaw’s have the smallest known range of all macaws. They are only found in Bolivia around the provinces of Cochabamba and Santa Cruz, in the Andean valleys of central Bolivia.

Very little is known about these birds. They were only officially recognized in the 1970s. There are only beleived to be less than 3,000 left in the wild and since each pair only produce one baby per year/season they don’t reproduce very fast.

Pictures of Albert

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Macaw Range
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Cockatiel (Nymphicus hollandicus)

Cockatiels, scientific name Nymphicus hollandicus are a popular home pet.  Here is some information about them:
  • They are the only member of the genus
  • They are the smallest of the Cockatoo family
  • They are natually found in the outback areas of Austrailia
  • Typical life span can be as much as 20 years!
  • Most tiels imitate whistling better than human speech
  • Males are more likely to imitate/whistle/talk than females
  • There is much debate about how to visually sex these birds. The best method is to have them DNA sexed
Normal Grey Tiel Cinnamon Tiel
Lutino Tiel Cinnamon Tiel

There are many variations or mutations of cockatiels. The most common is the  “Normal Grey”, which is most common in the wild.  Some of the variations or color mutations are listed below:
Normal Grey
  • The natural color found in the wild
  • This is the most common tiel you’ll find.
  • Mature males are dark grey with a single white stripe on each wing, yellow face and crest with orange cheeks.


  • Is one of the most common colors apart from normal grey.
  • Coloring is the same as the grey, but is more muted with a brownish tone.


  • Very similar to Cinnamon, but has a more yellowish cast
  • Difficult to tell from a cinnamon unless they’re side by side
  • Generally have deep red eyes instead of black/brown eyes


  • very common coloring
  • Body is mostly yellow and white
  • Can have red eyes

Like most captive birds, seeds alone are not enough. Even though probably 90% of the captive tiels are fed only seeds, they need vitimin suppliments to make up for what seeds don’t supply. A good pelleted food is always best.

Tiels make good pets. They can be social or loaners depending on how they are raised. If you are able to get a hand raised tiel and you continue to handle it, it will make a good pet and allow you to play with it. Many of the tiels are not hand raised and aren’t terribly social.  If you have a social one, you’ll know they love to hang out, eat with you and generally share your time. I’ve personally had several that were hand raised and several that weren’t. They are very different depending on how they are raised, but both still make good pets.

White Bellied Caique (Pionites leucogaster)

White Bellied Caiques are becoming more popular in the USA as their breeding becomes more prolific. While they’re on the more expensive side of the bird spectrum ($750-$1500), they are so far, the best companion bird I’ve had the pleasure of owning. Read on for more info on this great species.
First I want to clear something up. Caique is pronounced KIGH-EEK. I’ve seen and heard some seriously offensive ways of pronouncing this name. I have a KIGH-EEK, not a kike or cake. Nuf said!
juvenile caique
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Caiques are divided into two species and five subspecies, all are technically “white bellied”.
Pionites melanocephalus and Pionites leucogaster are the species.  The major difference is the color of their heads. The melanocephalus has a black head and the leucogaster is yellow/orange.
The subspecies for these groups are:
  • Pionites melanocephalus melanocephalus= Black-headed caique (common in the pet trade)
  • Pionites melanocephalus pallidus= Pallid caique
  • Pionites leucogaster leucogaster = Green-thighed caique
  • Pionites leucogaster xanthomerius= Yellow-thighed caique (common in the pet trade)
  • Pionites leucogaster xanthurus = Yellow-tailed caique
The White Bellied Caique’s (Pionites leucogasters) are native to South America in Brazil and Ecuador. The most popular breed resides between the Amazon and Madeira River basins (the regualr white bellied). The other two types of white bellies the xanthurus and xanthomeria who are mostly in Brazil and Ecuador.
The black headed caiques are found in Brazil, Venezuela, Roraima, Columbia, Peru and Ecuador.

As a general rule, caiques make great pets, but they are very energetic and need attention! If you can’t provide them with time out of their cages or hands on time, this is not the parrot for you. They are extremely social and always want to be involved with what ever is going on. They can entertain themselves, but that is a minor part of their day.  They need lots of toys in their cage and a constant supply of fresh water. They love to bath in their water bowls.


In the wild you’ll find them feasting on berries, fruits, some seeds and flowers. In captivity they should eat high quality pelleted foods, some seeds and fruits like strawberries, banannas, apples and the like. DO NOT let them eat any fruit seeds!  Also it should be noted that an all seed diet will not provide them the nutrition they need. Seeds should be a suppliment or treat, not a regular diet.
If you MUST know exactly what they eat in the wild, take a look here. It’s really specific!