This very unique-looking mid-sized parrot is often considered to be the clown of the parrot world.
Caique parrots love to dance, cuddle, and play but might require a lot of time input on your part. Make sure to do your research before purchasing a caique.
Are caique parrots good pets? Caiques are known for being loud and rambunctious, but with training and sufficient daily exercise, they can be excellent pets for experienced bird owners. They love to play and will form strong bonds, but they do require plenty of daily interaction in order to remain tame and well behaved.
If you are considering purchasing a pet caique, you are probably curious about the characteristics of the bird, as well as how to care for it.
Keep reading to find out if the caique is a good pet for you.
Also referred to as the white-bellied, black-headed, or yellow-thighed parrot, the caique is a genus of mid-sized parrots with unique coloring native to South America known for its spunky, comic personality.
Caique Appearance & Size
The caique is a pretty unique-looking parrot. It has a white belly and chest, green wings, a yellow neck, and either an orange-and-yellow head or a black head.
It also has yellow or green feathers above each of its feet. These birds have pointy hooked beaks that are either black or pale pink, and some may have red eyes.
The birds weigh in at about 6 ounces on average and are 8-10 inches tall, making them a mid-sized parrot larger than a budgie but a bit smaller than a cockatiel.
Caique Temperament & Personality
While personality varies from bird to bird, caiques are generally known for being playful, energetic, and mischievous. Caique owners love them for their funny personalities.
Caiques will definitely get a laugh out of you and your guests, but they can also be stubborn and sometimes aggressive.
In the wild, caiques live in groups or pairs, so in captivity, they are very sociable and will want to spend time playing or just hanging out with you.
Caique Native Region & Habitat
Caiques live in tropical rain forests and Varzea forests, which are tropical floodplains that flood seasonally. They feed on seeds from trees and bushes in these forests.
They live throughout South America from the Atlantic Ocean to Brazil to central South America, though most live south of the Amazon River in Brazil.
Caique Intelligence & Trainability
Caiques are believed to be extremely smart and can be easily trained in captivity.
While they may not be the most fluent talkers in the bird kingdom, they are skilled with an ability to perfectly mimic various sounds heard routinely in their environment.
Are Caiques Smart?
Like all parrots, caiques are very intelligent birds, and many caique owners say that their caique is the most intelligent bird they own.
The intelligence of a caique parrot is often said to be comparable to that of macaws and other larger parrot species.
Are Caiques Easy to Train?
Since caiques are super smart, they are also easy to train.
Some owners explain that they are very active and can get bored easily during training but that they learn tricks quickly as long as you keep training sessions short.
Caiques Sounds & Vocalizations
In the wild, caiques communicate via screeches, squawks, and shrieking. They are known to make these noises while feeding and flying.
As pets, their noise level varies by bird. Some owners say their caiques love to scream while others claim that their caique is one of the quieter parrots they own.
They are not known to be great at mimicking human sounds but some caiques can say a few words.
The most intensive care required for a caique is the amount of exercise and playtime they need, but their diet and cage needs are similar to other parrots.
Ideal Pet Caique Diet
In the wild, caiques eat a mix of seeds and fruit.
If you have a pet caique, feed him or her a diet consisting of a high-quality small parrot pellet food, fresh vegetables like leafy greens, and fruits and nuts as treats.
The pellets should be the bulk of their intake – 75% of the diet.
Caique parrots are medium-sized birds, so they should have a house that is at least 24” wide x 24” deep x 30” tall.
Having a sufficiently large cage is important because it allows your bird to stretch out its wings.
Since caiques are very active birds, the larger the cage the better. If you cannot afford a super large cage, make sure you’re playing with your caique a lot outside of the cage.
Caiques are very active birds in the wild, flying miles in groups to find food, and they have a ton of energy.
In captivity, you should try to give your caique lots of exercise by letting them out of their cage for at least a few hours a day.
Make sure to play with and train your caique frequently to give him or her plenty of exercise.
Having lots of toys available can help, and an avian play gym (like this one on Amazon with ladders, swings, bridges, and toys) is always a good idea.
Caiques are smart animals that can get bored easily. Here are some toys to stimulate your caique and also give him or her some exercise:
- A triangle rope toy
- A variety of swings
- Long ropes hung in the cages or around the house
- A large bird ladder
- Chew toys
Along with toys, just make sure you are training or spending time with your caique daily.
Caiques typically cost around $1,000 to $2,500, much more than a parakeet, but much less than some of the popular large parrots, like the hyacinth macaw (learn more here).
Prices will vary considerably depending on the bird’s age and color and whether it is purchased from a pet shop or private breeder.
Caiques live 20-30 years on average but can live up to 40 years.
Maintaining a correct diet, providing lots of exercise and stimulation, and keeping up with routine veterinary checkups are key to ensuring your bird lives a long, happy life.
Caique Interesting Facts
Here are some fun facts about the caique parrot:
- They are one of the most energetic parrots.
- They love bathing and showering.
- Caiques have a “dominant foot” –they can be right-footed or left-footed.
- Chicks are deaf for three weeks after they are born.
- They “dance” by hopping and bobbing their heads.
Types of Caiques
The caique is its own genus that contains four species:
- The white-bellied/green-thighed caique: This caique has a yellow neck, a pink beak, green thighs, and a pale pink/orange head.
- The black-headed caique: This bird looks the same as the white-bellied, but it has yellow thighs, a black beak, and a black cap.
- The yellow-tailed caique: This looks similar to the white-bellied caique, but it has a yellow tail and pink feet.
- The black-legged caique: This looks very similar to the white-bellied parrot, but it has yellow thighs.
These species are all similar in personality, but the black-headed and white-bellied are the two most commonly kept as pets.
Are Caiques Endangered?
Some caique species are vulnerable or endangered according to the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature).
The black-legged caique and the black-headed caique have the strongest numbers and are classified as “least concern,” but the yellow-tailed caique is vulnerable, and the green-thighed caique is endangered.
What Are Caiques Like As Pets?
Caiques are known to be super fun, high-energy pets that require a lot of interaction and can be pretty loud.
Check out the video below to witness for yourself their adorable antics and love of fun.
Are Caiques Loud?
Caiques are loud birds and may shriek if they want attention and you aren’t in the room.
Owners say that this can get pretty annoying. They are loud enough, in fact, that they are not recommended to be kept in an apartment.
Do Caiques Scream?
Caiques are known to scream if they are bored or upset. This can be pretty annoying, but it can be trained out of some caiques with time and patience.
Do Caiques Dance?
Caiques dance by hopping around, jumping back and forth, and bobbing their head.
This can be a response to music, and caiques sometimes have a favorite song to dance to. This is a super cute behavior that caique owners love.
Are Caiques Affectionate? Do They Like To Cuddle?
Caique parrots can be affectionate and cuddly with you if they feel very comfortable with you.
Most caiques like to be held and might nuzzle their head into your hand or roll around on you if they’re feeling super loving.
While they’re pretty energetic, it’s a huge plus that these birds can be sweet as well.
How Do Caiques Show Affection?
Your caique may show affection by:
- Lightly chewing on your fingers.
- Rubbing their head on your.
- Bouncing up and down while perched on you.
Be sure to check out our article “How Do Parrots Show Affection?” with a list of 20 sure signs of love so that you’ll have a better understanding of your bird’s communication efforts.
Why Do Caiques Jump?
Caiques are super active birds that love to jump and hop. If there’s a surface near them, they might try to jump on it because they are feeling excited or need to get out some energy.
This is a super cute behavior to watch but make sure that you keep an eye on them while they’re jumping around.
Are Caiques Destructive?
Caiques are said to be “beaky” birds, meaning they love to play and bite things with their beaks.
If you aren’t watching them they might try to chew up your stuff. To avoid this, make sure you provide them with lots of chew toys.
How To Bond With a Caique
Caiques live in bonded pairs or groups in the wild, so they are known for bonding closely to their owners.
All you have to do to form a bond with your caique is spend lots of time with him or her.
Even if you aren’t directly interacting, try to spend lots of time in the same room as your caique. Training is also a great way to bond.
Training a Caique
Training a caique is quite similar to training most parrots.
It’s very important to train caiques in particular because they are known for exhibiting a variety of negative behaviors if they aren’t trained.
Do Caiques Bite?
Most caiques do not bite, but little nips may occur when playing.
However, your caique may become possessive of his or her space and try to bite guests.
If this happens, immediately start trying to train the aggressive behavior out of your caique by using positive reinforcement techniques.
Can a Caique Be Potty Trained?
Yes, you can potty train your caique to eliminate in a specified location.
If you want your caique to only go to the bathroom in his or her cage, you can do this by giving positive reinforcement in the form of treats when he or she goes in the cage instead of in your house.
None of my birds has ever fully grasped this concept, but after cleaning up hundreds of droppings, I’m quite interested in helping my current birds achieve this goal.
I reached out to Anne at Parrot Domain, LLC in Virginia for advice. The following is what she recommended:
Let them out of the cage, and every 10 minutes return them to the cage for a few minutes. As soon as you spot them taking care of business, praise them verbally and offer a small treat.
Caiques and other parrots aren’t like humans who can hold it for five or more hours. They naturally relieve themselves quite frequently, and you need to accommodate that.
Honestly, potty training is pretty difficult, but it can be done. As long as you’re faithful in taking them to the cage like clockwork and rewarding them each time, they’ll eventually get the idea.
I also learned that, in the event you struggle with potty training, there are parrot diapers available to purchase. I found them here on Amazon.
Cain Caiques Learn to Talk?
Caiques do have the ability to talk, but they do not do it very well. Some are able to mimic a few human words, and some do not repeat human words at all.
How to Tell if a Caique is Male or Female?
Males and females look very similar, so it’s hard to tell if a caique is male or female just by looking at it.
If you do not know the sex of your bird, you must take it to a veterinarian or breeder, and they will be able to tell you if your bird is male or female through DNA testing.
What Fruits Can a Caique Eat?
Caiques love a huge variety of fruits and will eat pretty much anything you give them; just make sure that you don’t feed them any pits, stems, or seeds.
Here’s a list of what you can feed your caique:
Try feeding your caique all types of fruits, but never feed him or her avocado as this is toxic to parrots.
You can find complete guidelines for parrot feeding in our article here.
Can Caiques Eat Meat?
Caiques can eat a small amount of cooked, lean, unseasoned meat.
Don’t give them meat as a daily meal. Only offer a small portion as an occasional treat, as it is not necessary in their diet.
What Can Caiques Not Eat?
Never feed your caique the following foods as they are poisonous:
- Fruit seeds
Also strictly limit all processed or sugary foods because they are simply not healthy for birds.
Caique vs. Conure
Conures may be better birds for a first-time owner because they are more laid-back and more affectionate compared to caiques.
They also are said to be lower-maintenance than caiques because they have less energy.
However, conures may be even louder than caiques are, and this can get very annoying. Ultimately, deciding between a caique and a conure is up to you and your needs.
Do Caiques Get Along With Other Caiques?
Caiques usually get along with other caiques well due to the fact that they naturally form multiple bonds in the wild.
If you purchase all your caiques at the same time and you have a big enough cage, you can cage your caiques together.
However, if you get an additional caique at a later date, try to put them in separate cages as there is a chance they could get aggressive.
In fact, we recommend that you purchase two caiques instead of one because they need so much stimulation and exercise and having a parrot friend will likely keep them happier.
Should I Get a Caique?
If you are a beginner bird owner, a caique is probably not the best bird for you.
Their energy, exercise needs, and noise levels make them a high-maintenance bird that is better suited to an experienced bird owner.
However, if you do decide to get a caique, they can be really wonderful, funny pets.