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!
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!