There is nothing more entertaining that a Caique (pronounced KIGH-eek). These rolly-poly balls of energy are commonly referred to as the “class clowns” of the bird kingdom.
Owners of Caiques will tell you that these birds have two modes: asleep and crazy-super-high-energy. They love to play during every waking moment, whether alone tossing a toy between their feet or with the family. These intelligent birds must be kept constantly stimulated in order to remain happy. They excel at learning tricks with reward-based training and can be taught to roll over, wave, pick up and carry toys, among many other common commands. The limit to their learning is only their owner’s imagination. Of course, this intelligence is a double-edged sword. Caiques have been known to out-smart their owners. A word to the wise: never lie to a Caique!
One of the most adorable characteristics of these comical companions is their tencency to do a two-foot hop when getting from one place to another. Caiques have unusually strong stocky legs (my mother used to say they had “thunder thighs”). When combined with their constant excitement, they act like humans by dancing for joy!
Another notable trait of the species is their tendency to rub their faces on textured materials. Just like a wet dog after a bath, Caiques will “surf” along blankets, towels, clothing, human hair, carpet, wet lettuce leaves or anything else that they find attractive. It can be very funny the first time one watches! With a Caique in the house one must always be careful where they step. Caiques are quiet while they do this behaviour, and can get in the way of unexpecting human feet.
Caiques require a larger cage than many other parrot species of the same size in order to accommodate their high activity level. Buy the biggest cage you can afford and rotate toys weekly to keep the bird engaged. At Welcome Wings Aviary, our breeding pair of Caiques are in a flight cage 6′ long x 2′ high x 2′ deep. I can honestly say that they do utilize the entire space regularly.
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