Pionites - Caique
A species of parrots in the genus Pionites. They are relatively small and stocky, with a short, square tail and very bright colors. Their typical weight is 150–170 grams. They can live up to 40 years. They are endemic in the Amazon Basin in South America, with the black-headed north of the Amazon River, and the white-bellied south. They are listed on Appendix 2 of CITES as a species of least concern. They generally prefer forested areas and subsist on fruit and seeds. Caiques are generally canopy dwellers, spending most of their time in the tops of trees, foraging and playing. Caique wing feathers produce a distinctive whirring sound in flight. They are highly vocal.
Caiques are growing in popularity in aviculture. The more commonly found species is the black-headed caique since it was introduced first in captivity, but the white-bellied caique's popularity is growing rapidly. Well-raised caiques bond well with humans and have a reputation as playful and energetic birds that enjoy playing with toys and lying on their backs. These birds sometimes perform a behavior unusual for avian species in which they roll over on their backs in apparent play - sometimes called "wrestling". They are not particularly good flyers, becoming tired and winded after only a short distance. They also tend to be clumsy and slow in the air compared to other birds. They often prefer to walk, jump, climb, or hop as a mode of transportation. They are excellent climbers, with very strong feet and legs.
Caiques also exhibit a unique behavior known as "surfing", where the bird will vigorously rub its face, wings and chest against any nearby soft item (e.g. carpets, towels, cushions, crumpled paper, curtains or human hair) while using its beak to pull itself along. During this, the bird will display jerky movements and may roll over several times. This behavior is thought to be a cleaning or bathing motion and occurs regardless of age or sex. In the wild, caiques use wet leaves for this behavior.
Psittaciformes, The Parrot Index, a part of Phoenix Feathers © 2016 - 2023
Page last updated: 1/1/2320