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White-bellied Caique

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4.4/5

(19 Reviews)


Is the White-bellied Caique right for you?

Species group:

Other common names: White-bellied Parrot; Western White-bellied Caique or Parrot; Yellow-Thighed Caique; Black-legged Caique

Scientific name: Pionites xanthomerius

The basics:
Little known in the early 1980s, the White-bellied Caique is enjoying a rise in popularity because of its outgoing, playful personality in a small, colorful package. Its close relative, the Black-Headed Caique, also has a white belly, but you can tell them apart because true White-bellies don't have black on the head. In the wild, all three White-belly species would be found south of the Amazon River, and Black-heads would be found to the north. They are known for rolling on their back to sleep, an unusual “playing dead” pose that has frightened more than one new caique owner.

White-bellied Caiques range south of the Amazon to parts of eastern Peru and northern Bolivia. They are typically found in lowland evergreen forests. They prefer to forage in the upper canopy of the forest and live in pairs or in small flocks of up to 30 individuals. In 2014, the three subspecies were recognized as three full species, but you're most likely to encounter the popular Yellow-thighed Caique (P. xanthomerius) in captivity. The Green-thighed Caique (P. leucogaster), the eastern species of White-bellied Caique, is considered endangered because its forest habit is vanishing. Yellow-tailed Caique (P. xanthurus) is a Brazilian endemic, so it hasn't been legal to export to the pet market for decades.

Appearance:
A smallish colorful parrot. Don't use the white belly as a field mark, since both White-bellied and Black-headed Caiques have white bellies. Instead, look at the head. Black-heads have a black crown, while the White-belly has an orange crown. You'll need to look further to identify which species of White-belly you hold. The Yellow-thighed or Black-legged Caique has yellow thighs and a green upper tail. The Green-thighed Caique has green thighs with a green upper tail. In the unlikely event you encounter Yellow-tailed Caique, you will see that in addition to yellow thighs, its entire tail -- upper as well as under -- is bright yellow.

Weight:
165 grams (6 oz.)

Average size:
23 centimeters (9 in.)

Lifespan:
20 - 30 years

Behavior / temperament:
The White-bellied Caique enjoys a growing popularity because of its beautiful coloration and its lively inquisitive personality. These birds are packed full of energy, strong-willed, and mischievous. They are playful birds that love to interact with people and are often referred to as clowns. Although a wild flock is naturally noisy, a single pet may not be particularly vocal and it is fairly unusual for a White-bellied Caique to learn to talk very well. A good owner will take firm but gentle control. Use common sense techniques to prevent territorial biting around the cage, and allow this energetic bird time for its afternoon nap. Since they enjoy some down time during the day, they can be practical for people who work away from home.

In addition to often sleeping or playing on their backs, White-bellied Caiques are known to “surf,” a strange behavior where they roll or pull themselves over a person's body or hair. In the wild, they would bathe by rolling around in wet leaves. In captivity, they indulge in rubbing themselves against your clothes or hair. It might seem odd, but it's completely normal. They are not particularly strong flyers, and they may tend to be “beaky” to pull themselves here or to grab on there. Be aware when they are over-using their beaks, so that you can distract them with a toy to grab or chew instead of a finger.

Housing:
Your White-bellied Caique should have a powder-coated metal cage at least 24”w x 24”d x 24”h with no more than ¾” bar spacing. The cage should be outfitted with several different perches and toys. They should also have a play gym with several more toys so they can spend time away from their cage regularly. Be sure to teach your pet to step up reliably on a hand-held perch so that you can easily move the bird to the play area. They are territorial and tend to be nippy if people insist on sticking their hands in their cages. Like little kids, White-bellied Caiques benefit from an afternoon nap, so have a towel or even a clean cloth diaper in the cage where the bird can roll on its back to sleep.

Diet:
Like most of the South American parrots, the White-bellied Caique demands a nutrient-rich, varied diet that includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. In the wild, they eat mostly flowers, plants, a variety of seeds, and possibly insects, so a seed-based diet simply does not provide enough nutrition. The diet should be built around a high-quality pellet or soak-and-cook, with plenty of sprouts and chopped produce on the side. While you may offer your pet healthy treats like brown rice or pasta from your own dinner, never allow any parrot to consume avocado or chocolate. If you choose to feed these birds nectar, as some but not all Caique owners do, you must take good care to keep the nectar feeder absolutely sterile, since the natural sugars could provide a great growth medium for harmful bacteria. You must never serve honey.

Written by Elaine Radford

wonderful

playful personalities, friendly family pets, little beauties, Bird Clowns, HUGE personalities, smart

challenging

Manic depressive sweetheart, severe mood swings, expensive birds, depressive, cage territorial

interesting

medium sized bird, Excellent eaters

Helpful White-bellied Caique Review

White-bellied Caique

From Nimwey Aug 28 2018 11:00AM

3.5/5

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