Black-head caique

A DESCRIPTION OF CAIQUES FROM THE 1920s

From Parrots and Parrot-like Birds by the Duke of Bedford 1920s  Chapter VII

CAUTION: Please realize that the information in the HISTORY SECTION is NOT necessarily accurate and should not, at this time, be used as a guide in the care or behavior of companion parrots ... especially in regards to diet, medical advice, and cage size. This article may contain many generalizations that are not appropriate in regards to our current information

Black-headed Caique 
Pionites melanocephala 

Distribution: Guiana and Upper Amazon. 
Adult Crown: black. Wings, rump, tail, and a spot below the eye green. Collar yellowish salmon. Cheeks and throat gold. Breast buffish or silvery white. Thighs, under tail coverts and flanks orange. Bill horn-black. Length 9.3 inches. Tail short. 
Immature said to have brown and green feathers on the crown.


The Caiques are a small group of short-tailed South American parrots which resemble the Conures in many of their habits. They are intelligent, playful, amusing and, when tamed, most affectionate pets, nor is a companion of their own species and of the opposite sex so likely to spoil their amiability towards human friends as in the case of most other parrots.

 
They possess the drawback of being rather noisy and very sensitive to cold, needing plenty of warmth and care when newly imported. Of their disposition in mixed company, little appears to have been recorded, but most birds of their character and disposition are as savage to their psittacine companions as they are affectionate towards their mates or human friends. The owner of a tame Caique describes his pet as follows: “Jot’s chief amusement is to climb up the window cord, sailor fashion, or to hop upstairs and have a good chuckle at the top, after which he will creep into my pocket and there go to sleep, and when I was ill in bed he would lay his little head confidingly on the pillow and cuddle under the blankets. Eminently sociable, he will go to any stranger and very gently pinch an ear or finger to test his power of endurance. If they show signs of fear, he has a hearty laugh at their expense. For vice he has none, and he never means to hurt them. He plays with balls and reels of cotton and will drive an imaginary wheelbarrow across the table with his beak. He is a good dancer and loves to display his talent whenever a tune is whistled, preferably ‘Old Kent Road.’ 


Caiques should be fed on a seed mixture consisting of two parts canary, two parts millet, one part oats, one part sunflower, and one part peanuts, with plenty of fruit. (Not current diet information but the fruit is good)

They appreciate a box to roost in. 

They pair readily in confinement, but do not appear to have been bred. 


The female is said to have a longer and narrower beak. 

Caiques require plenty of exercise and should not be permanently confined in parrot cages. 



White-breasted Caique
Pionites leucogaster 

Distribution: Lower Amazons. 
Adult: Head and back of neck yellowish salmon-colour. Cheeks, throat and under tail-coverts, yellow. Breast buffish or silvery
white. Wings, rump, tail, and thighs green. Flights dusky with blue-green outer webs. Bill whitish. Length nine and one-half inches.
 
Often imported. Does not differ from the Black-headed Caique in character and requirements. 



Yellow-thighed Caique 
Pionites xanthomera 

Distribution: Upper Amazons. 
Adult: Crown yellowish salmon-colour. Cheeks, throat, a spot at the end of the wing, thighs, and under tail-coverts yellow. Breast buffish or silvery white. Wings green; flights bluish on the outer webs, blackish on the inner. Tail green; short. Bill white. Length nine and one-half inches. 

Fairly frequently imported of recent years (to UK). Exactly like the Black-headed Caique in disposition and needs.




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