I love caiques (pronounced kye-eeks). They hop like a bunny, rather than walk. It is very endearing and will always bring a smile to your face. There are two species of caiques, the black-headed caique and the white-bellied caique. They both average about nine inches in height, with white-bellies being about 1/4 inch taller. Black-headed caiques are more commonly available in the U.S., so they are a bit less expensive in price. Personality is similar in both, so it is truly a personal preference regarding the color of the bird you choose.
A hand-raised caique is a good choice if you are looking for a pet bird. These are also one of the few birds where you can have two, and even though they will bond with each other, they will still maintain a strong bond with their owner.
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Caiques are full of charisma and energy, so if you are looking for a barrel of fun wrapped up in a small bird, a caique may be the bird for you. If you are a new bird owner, however, they may be a little too much bird for a beginner. In that regards, they are strong willed and their behavior has to be gently guided. They will test you because of their high intelligence, but what they really want is similar to any child and that is to be in a safe and nurturing place, with established rules. They can also be agressive towards other birds, as they seem to display no fear. If you have other birds, please supervise any out of the cage time, until you determine if your birds are compatible.
Caiques are known for being healthy eaters. They enjoy their food! You should provide a high quality seed mix, supplemented with pellets. In addition, fruits are important to their diet, because of the Caique's high energy level. Vegetables which supply Vitamin A are also necessary for your bird's optimum health.
Caiques should be housed in a large cage, despite their smaller size, because their energy and activity level is huge. Toys are a must and they love to chew. I have the luxury of having a bird room where my birds a allowed out of their cages all day. I have a large manzanita tree and cages with playpen tops, so my caique and other birds are entertained. Caiques enjoy time out of their cage and they will entertain you with their constant cute antics.