caique care information

How To Care For A Caique Parrot [A Complete Beginners Guide]

Owning a caique parrot is a fun and rewarding experience. They’re referred to as the clowns of the parrot world, with loads of personality and energy. Their interesting antics will make you laugh and keep you entertained for hours.

To care for a caique parrot, its cage should be 24 x 24 inches, with 3 perches. Its diet should consist of pellets, vegetables, fruits, seeds, insects, and nuts. Caiques need 10-12 hours of sleep and must be allowed out of their cage to exercise and play. Daily training can be in 20-minute sessions, with 1 hour in between.

Caiques aren’t good parrots for beginners because they’re prone to territoriality and jealousy. However, they make rewarding pets and companions due to their affectionate, fun-loving nature. Caiques can talk following training, but their vocabulary isn’t as extensive as other parrot species, such as the African grey.

How Long Do Caique Parrots Live?

Caique parrots have a long lifespan, living for up to 40 years in captivity, if well cared for. Although not as long-lived as Macaws, you’ll have your companion for a large percentage of your life.

Caiques form close bonds with their owners and don’t cope well with rehoming. So, their long lifespan and the inherent commitment this brings is something that needs to be considered in advance.

Caique Weight And Size

Caiques are medium-sized parrots. Adult caique will reach about 9 inches in length and weigh between 150 and 170 grams (around 5-6 ounces.)

If you get your caique when it’s a chick, it’ll fit in the palm of your hand. It will gain half of its size by puberty when it’s 4-5 years old. At this point, it will reach its full length over the next few months.

How Much Are Caique Parrots?

The average price of a caique parrot is $1,000 to $2,000. The cost depends on the parrot’s age and gender.

Females cost more than males. Because females are more relaxed, they make more popular pets. If you want to take advantage of their calmer disposition, you should expect to pay a higher price tag.

A caique that’s already been socialized and trained will cost more money. A younger parrot that needs more time spent on its training, development, and socialization will be cheaper.

Parrots aren’t a one-time expense. Here are some other costs:

  • Cage
  • Perches
  • Cage liners
  • Cleaning materials
  • Toys
  • Water and food bowls
  • Food
  • Hiding places
  • Pet insurance

Other expenses will include trips to the vet and repairing any damage they do to their cage, toys, or your home.

Are Caiques Good for Beginners?

Caique parrots aren’t recommended for first-time owners. Those with more experience will be needed due to a caique’s temperamental and territorial behavior. A caique needs to be well-trained, lest it becomes prone to:

  • Biting
  • Damaging items around the house
  • Finding a way out of its cage
  • Harassing other pets
  • Screaming and hissing
  • Pooping

New owners may find this overwhelming. Caiques are smart parrots, but they’re also stubborn. If you lack the patience and dedication necessary to reinforce their training, their less desirable traits will become prevalent.

are caiques good for beginners?

Types of Caiques Parrots

There are two types of caiques parrots: the white-belly and the black-headed. Let’s explore further:

White-Belly Caique Parrot

The white-belly caique is also known as the yellow or green-thighed caique.

White-belly caiques usually have orange-colored heads. This is matched to yellow coloring along the sides of their head and throat. Their back and wings are green, while their chest and belly are white. Their beaks are light pink, and their eyes a reddish-brown.

Their coloring will be different before they reach puberty. This may include a few black feathers and a grey beak. There are five subspecies, but they all share the same basic traits.

Black-Headed Caique Parrot

The black-headed caique, as the name implies, has a mostly black head. This black cap extends down past the eyes and to the top of the beak. They also have an orange-yellow throat, thighs, and legs. Most pair this with an orange band around the back of their neck, which is bordered in blue feathers.

Their back, wings, rear end, and upper tail are all green. The black-headed varieties have chests and bellies that are white. The tip of their tail is yellow and their beak is gray. Their eyes are an orange-red color. 

They are the most common caique parrot in the U.S. There are two subspecies within this variety, determined by subtle differences in their coloring and patterns. The black-headed caique is about ¼-inch shorter than the white belly caique.

Do Caiques Talk?

With training, you can teach caiques basic phrases and words. However, they don’t have the widest vocabulary. They also lack the clear speaking voices of larger parrots and will struggle with more difficult pronunciations.

A caique will take longer to pick up words than other parrots. However, they’re more than happy to whistle tunes or melodies, chirp, cluck, and call out to you.

Do Caiques Scream?

Like most parrots, caiques will scream if they’re stressed, lonely, scared, or want attention. Their first instinct will be to chirp and whistle at their owners. If they don’t get attention or a response, this will escalate to louder calls.

Caiques are prone to developing bad habits. If screaming at you once or twice gained a response, they’re more likely to scream again in the future. Their behavior can be quite extreme.

Are Caiques Loud Birds?

Caiques are considered moderately noisy, but they can get loud when not getting their own way. If well-trained, you may find your caique barely makes a noise at all. This will depend on the parrot and its personality.

Do Caiques Make Good Pets?

If you’re willing to invest the time, caique parrots make great pets. However, if you lack the time to train and care for them, these aren’t the parrots for you. That’s because caiques are:

  • Easily get bored
  • Terrirotial and can be aggressive
  • Require hours of attention daily
  • Prone to destroying items when stressed or hormonal

Males will constantly fight if they’re required to share a cage. That’s why females are more expensive. However, caiques can make good pets for the following reasons:

  • Bond with owners, especially those who fulfill their entertainment needs
  • Creative and enjoy playing games
  • Medium-sized, making them easier to manage in modest-sized living spaces
  • Colorful, with multiple patterns to choose from
  • Intelligent and capable of learning words

Caique Parrot Care Guide

If a caique seems like the ideal pet for you, it’s time to welcome this vibrant parrot into your home. Here’s everything you need to know to keep your caique healthy and happy.

Caique Diet

Despite what many people believe, parrots cannot live on seed alone. They need a variety of food to stay healthy. Seeds don’t have enough nutrients and vitamins on their own to give your parrot everything its body needs. Instead, you should feed your caique:

Pellets

You can buy formulated diets in pellet form. They have a variety of minerals and vitamins along with fiber, fats, and protein. These formulated diets save you the inconvenience of preparing each food group yourself.

Fresh Vegetables

You should feed your parrot fresh vegetables. Options include:

You can offer these to your parrot by hand or leave them in the cage’s food bowl. If there is anything left after 24 hours, clean it out, and replace it with fresh pieces. Never allow old food to go moldy.

Fruits

Fruit provides parrots with nutrients they can’t find elsewhere. Options include:

Combined with vegetables, they should make up around 25% of a caique’s diet. They can serve as a rewarding treat while you train the bird.

Grains

Grains provide the necessary vitamins and minerals your caique parrot needs to live a long and healthy life. As a plus, fiber can improve digestion.

Seeds

Seeds should be included in a caique’s diet. Options include:

  • Chia seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Hemp seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Flax seeds

Normal parrot seed found at stores can be provided. Parrots can grow addicted to certain seeds, especially sunflower seeds, so always offer them to your caique in moderation.

What Not to Feed You Parrot

Some items are toxic to parrots. Your caique should never eat:

  • Chocolate
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Sugar and sweeteners, such as xylitol
  • Avocado
  • Mushrooms

How Much Do I Feed My Parrot?

In the morning, give your caique:

  • 1/2 cup of pellets
  • 1/4 cup of fruits and vegetables

What you feed your caique throughout the day will depend on how much it eats of that first meal. If your caique eats all of it, feed it another meal 1-2 hours before its normal bedtime.

If it appears hungry and searches for food, you can provide a smaller portion in the middle of the day. It can eat some seeds, nuts, insects, etc., as a snack. If your caique is gaining weight, losing weight, or refusing food, consult a vet.

Toys for Caique Parrots

Caiques are easily bored and need plenty of attention. According to Applied Animal Behaviour Science, parrots given the chance to forage are less likely to pick at their own feathers from boredom.

As such, when you’re not spending time directly with your caique, you’ll need to provide a range of toys. Even certain baby toys will be fine. Toys that it can peck, chew, and unravel are recommended for keeping it entertained. The best toys for caique parrots include:

  • Foraging baskets
  • Ropes
  • Key chains with bells
  • Vine balls
  • Wooden chewing blocks

Avoid any plastic or rubber toys. Caiques have sharp beaks, which may lead to them tearing or shattering those materials. Once they have, there’s a risk of them ingesting the material or choking, which is clearly dangerous.

caique parrot care guide

What Cages Do Caique Parrots Need?

When you’re not home, caiques must be placed in a safe and secure cage. Caiques are mischievous parrots and will wreak havoc if left unsupervised, especially if they have nothing else to do. Additionally, caiques need a place to retreat when stressed or in need of rest. Here’s what your caique will need from its cage:

What Size Cage Does A Caique Need?

According to Watchbird, caiques need a large cage. As the minimum, a caique cage must be:

  • 24 inches long
  • 24 inches high

The bars can be horizontal or vertical, although caiques prefer scaling horizontal bars. Likewise, the bars should be metal, not wood. The bars should be less than ¾ of an inch apart.

Cage Bedding

Caique parrots don’t need nesting materials or bedding unless you’re intent on breeding your parrots. Your caique will sleep on its perches. Because of that, your parrot’s cage should have at least three perches in the following places:

  • Perch one should be placed up high, so the parrot can scale up to it
  • Perch two should be placed down by its food and water dishes
  • Perch three should be placed in the middle of the cage, away from the food and water. Otherwise, droppings may contaminate their food/drink.

Wood perches are fine for caiques. Although the parrot will chew on the material, this will be helpful for its beak. Caiques have sharp beaks that need to be filed down on cuttlebones and toys. Their talons will also benefit from scratching away at the wood.

Where Should I Place My Caique’s Cage?

Caiques are highly social, so their cage should be placed in a centrally-located spot in the house where you spend the most time. This helps your caique to feel like a part of the family, even if you’re too busy to play at the moment.

The back wall of the cage should be against a wall. This helps the caique feel more secure, without being exposed on every side. Keep the cage away from the kitchen. Fumes from the oven, smoke, or nonstick pans can kill parrots.

Caique Parrot Personality

Caiques are show-offs, happy to be the clown of the bird world. They will dance and bob, make mischief, play games, and want your endless attention. Since their energy levels are high, they are outgoing parrots. If you want a bird that can entertain you like a friend, you’ll never be lonely with a caique.

Do Caiques Like to Cuddle?

Most caiques like to cuddle with their owners. They will sit on your shoulder and nuzzle against your throat or neck. You may even receive a few playful nips at your ear. They will stroke your hair to groom it for you.

Every caique is different. If yours isn’t trained and socialized, it may hate the thought of cuddling or being touched. Forcing it will likely cause the parrot to bite you. That’s another reason why training is necessary.

Caique Behavioral Problems

Caiques may develop behavioral problems as they grow and are trained. As long as you’re consistent with the lessons, your parrot will adapt and behave. If you don’t stay on point, these issues may develop:

Stubbornness

Besides being avian comedians, they’re also stubborn and willful. If a caique doesn’t want to do something, it’s best not to force them. Training needs to be applied consistently but patiently. Otherwise, the caique will grow rebellious.

Are Caiques Aggressive?

Caiques are easily agitated by other birds or pets. They may hiss and bite. They may attack out of jealousy, territorial behavior, or stress. Caiques are better kept alone with you as a companion.  

Do Caiques Bite?

Caiques like to chew, which is a sign of affection. However, if a caique isn’t properly trained, it may nip or bite forcefully. Give your caique a range of durable toys so that it can focus on biting toys and objects.

caique parrot personality

Easily Stressed

Caiques easily get distressed when left alone or allowed to get bored. Because of this, they may:

  • Become cold toward you
  • Hiss when you come near
  • Refuse to be trained
  • Start biting
  • Act territorially

This can all be resolved with training. However, caiques have good memories and will revert to bad habits.

Caique Care Information

Now that you’ve set up the caique’s living space and understand its personality, here’s how to care for a caique parrot:

How Much Sleep Do Caiques Need?

Caiques need about 10-12 hours of sleep per day. They may not constantly rest. Instead, they wake up in short bursts to check their surroundings.

You can cover their cage with a blanket to create darkness. Just keep the area quiet and peaceful, even if you’re not yet sleeping. All parrots are light sleepers, so too much activity will disrupt their resting cycle.

Parrots have a nictating membrane, so you may notice that your caique sleeps with one eye open.

Caique Beak Care

Caique parrots need to file down their beak to stay healthy. Otherwise, these sharp appendages would grow too long and become brittle. The beak may even curve inwards and prevent your caique from eating. To keep the beak in good shape, be sure to provide your caique with:

Provide foods that contain calcium, magnesium, and protein. These can be fresh foods, like kale and grains, but also meat, like turkey or chicken. If your parrot’s beak starts to overgrow despite your best efforts, you can contact your vet. They can trim the beak professionally to make your caique comfortable.

Bathing Needs

Caiques will bathe themselves if they’re provided with a large water dish. The bird will splash around, fluff its feathers, and preen at its leisure. However, you can also help your parrot clean itself as a bonding activity. That can involve:

  • Turning on the sink faucet, so it can take a shower
  • Placing a large water bowl outside the cage and splashing it
  • Gently misting your caique with a spray bottle of water
  • Gently petting and massaging its head and neck as it grooms itself 

If you opt for the bird bath, ensure that they have fresh water every day. For the spray bottle, ensure that the water is lukewarm so that your caique isn’t shocked by extreme temperatures.

Training

Training is one of the most important parts of having a caique parrot. With consistency, patience, and dedication, your caique will become well-behaved, affectionate, and loyal. Begin training early. Here’s how:

  • Give your parrot 3-4 days to adjust to your home before you commence training
  • Spend time with your caique so that it can learn your voice, identify you, and smell you
  • Teach your caique to accept a treat
  • Teach it to let you pet it on the head or beak
  • Don’t correct bad behavior during the first few sessions as this might harm the parrot’s trust in you.
  • After 4-6 sessions, correct bad behavior with a tap on the beak and by ignoring it a few minutes
  • Upgrade to teaching the bird small tasks, like stepping up onto your finger

To make your training more effective, you’ll need to pick the right time, place, and tools. Do the following:

  • Use treats, such as a piece of strawberry, as a reward for obedience.
  • Train your caique during the evening when it’s most alert.
  • Keep training sessions to no more than 20 minutes at a time, with at least 1 hour in between sessions.
  • Repeat each trick 10 or more times before moving on to the next task. Caiques need repetition and consistency.
  • Avoid skipping days in their training because caiques are stubborn and will revert to their old ways.

Spend lots of playtime with your parrot before and after training. The more the parrot trusts you, the more responsive it will be to any training and lessons.

Health Problems for Caique Parrots

Here are some symptoms of illness that indicate whether your parrot has grown ill or has been injured:

  • Ruffled plumage
  • Resting with their head turned back
  • Beak swelling
  • No appetite
  • Sneezing
  • Discharge from nostrils
  • Cloudy eyes
  • Any change in droppings

These symptoms can be signs of one of the common illnesses below:

  • Internal parasites, such as worms
  • Intestinal influenza
  • Coccidiosis
  • Respiratory ailments
  • Feather picking
  • Psittacosis
  • Polyomavirus

Schedule a vet trip at least once per year to ensure your caique parrot remains healthy and strong.

Regular checkups will identify possible issues developing long-term in your parrot. For example, according to Veterinary Ophthalmology, caiques have been known to have congenital glaucoma, depending on their bloodline.

Aside from checkups, your parrot will also need a polyomavirus vaccine and a booster every 12 months. This will ensure they don’t catch this deadly virus from other birds or contaminants brought into your home. Polyomavirus can turn into gastroenteritis and affect the heart, liver, and kidney.

Caiques make good pets for experienced owners. They require ample playtime, attention, and care, but they reward you with constant love and attention. Once they’ve bonded with an owner, this friendship can last for several decades.