Acquired: Breeder (non-professional, hobby breeder)
Posted May 07, 2015
The Black-Headed Caique is, in my opinion, one of the very best of the small parrots, combining all the best qualities of the larger parrots and smaller birds. Caiques are fairly small and light, and are therefore much easier to handle then your Amazon or Cockatoo breeds, but are also extremely smart and easy to train.
And train them you can, and should! They take to step-up training well, and can perform a variety of tricks. These birds are very smart and very active, so toys and a properly sized cage are a must. Be prepared to spend a lot of time with your Caique, as well, as they need socialization. They will get along with your entire household, so long as they have a good amount of time to spend with everyone.
They will enjoy being out of the cage, but of course be careful of other pets and children. They do use their beak in play, but are easily trained not to bite. One sometimes amusing, sometimes annoying trait is their "leaf-surfing" behavior, which they WILL attempt to do in your hair.
These birds will mimic sounds, but rarely truly "talk" like some of the larger parrots. As with all parrots, they can be very loud, so beware of this! All in all, with a little research and care, this is a great bird for a first time parrot owner, and it was indeed the first parrot I myself ever worked with closely.