Black-Headed Caique

Overall satisfaction


Acquired: Breeder,
Pet store

Gender: Male



Friendly with owner


Friendly with family






Song-vocal quality


Mimics sounds-words




Easy to feed


Easy to clean and maintain habitat


Caiques - The Clowns of the Bird Kingdom


United States

Posted Jan 19, 2015

To say I wasn't prepared for a caique is an understatement. To say I've been disappointed is a lie.

Ping, our caique, is about 8 months old. He has taught me a lot over the few months that we've had him, and hopefully I've taught him just as much.

We purchased him from a consignment bird store near our home, and the shop owner told me that I would have my hands full with the "King of the Clowns". I didn't believe him at the time. Soon after I got him home, I realized how true that statement was. Ping gets into EVERYTHING and can easily make a mess if you're not watching him. He's knocked over a drink more than once, and has jumped onto the food that we're eating. He runs towards shiney/bright objects, hangs from cords, and will bite at you if you try to take something away from him.

However, he's also very sweet, loves to cuddle up in a blanket, and keeps us laughing. His little hops when he gets excited make my heart melt. If you leave a room, he'll follow you. He plays in my hair and says "pretty bird" in his gravely voice. If I point my finger at him, he rolls on his back and wants to wrestle. He loves hearing odd sounds and mimicks our other birds. He's just the best.

And now, it's time for the pros and cons.

* Will keep you entertained for hours.
* They don't bond with just one person, like most parrots. They absolutely love everyone.
* Absolutely loves to play with toys and humans.
* Very loving, when they're in the mood.
* Caiques don't like to fly very much. They're floor birds, so you don't have to worry about one taking off out the door if you open it for whatever reason.
* They're very intelligent. They learn tricks and normal techniques very easily.

* Has a powerful bite. It will hurt.
* Requires a lot of attention. Our bird will go continously for hours on end. It can get tiring.
* Can be aggressive, especially towards other birds. You'll have to be careful and watch them around other birds, because they're known for their bird-on-bird fights.
* Caiques don't talk much. If they do, it sounds more like mumbling. They mostly mimick other sounds, and they can be somewhat loud (not as loud as a cockatoo or conure, but close-ish).
* They have some gnarly mood swings. One second they can be happy and playful, and the next they're trying to bite you or start yelling at you.

The only thing caiques are susceptible to is polyomavirus. However, there are vaccines and boosters for this that should be done on an annual basis.

In conclusion, caiques are not good for first time bird owners. You must be very patient with them and guide them. However, for the more experienced bird owner, consider getting one of these clowns!

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