Black-capped Caique – Pionites melanocephala , (The species Rust-capped Caique – Pionites leucogaster, as well as its three subspecies)
Lifespan: Approx. 30 years Adult size: approx. 23 cm high and weight between 130 and 170 grams.
The black-capped caique (on the right in the picture) has a black forehead and neck, white belly, green wings and back, and orange neck and pants. (The rust-capped caique (also called white-bellied) is distinguished by a rust-red forehead and neck, otherwise the same appearance). The caique has blue flight feathers which are only visible when the wings are spread wide. A young caique can be orange on the chest and only achieve the completely white chest at 6-8 months of age. The caique has black eyes around which a red ring appears as the bird gets older. There are no visible gender differences and a gender determination must therefore be made with a DNA test.
The caique lives wild in South America. It lives north of the Amazon in countries such as: Guyana, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela. It lives high in the trees in the forests of the tropical lowlands and most often in small groups of approx. 30 birds.
In the wild, the caique feeds on fruit, seeds, berries and insects. In captivity, the caique needs a varied diet consisting of a lot of fruit. The basic feed can be a good seed mixture, which must not be too fatty. Therefore, avoid too many sunflowers and peanuts. Pellets (ie feed in pill form) can be a good way to ensure that the bird's nutritional needs for various nutrients, vitamins and minerals are covered. A varied diet can therefore consist of approx. 30% seed mixture, 30% pellets and 40% fruit and vegetables. Fruit and vegetables are replaced daily, just as pellets and seed mix are changed/replenished daily. Make sure the bird has access to fresh water that is changed daily. A calcium supplement can i.a. obtained by giving the caique a sepia shell.
Always make sure that the bird's cage is in a place where there is no risk of drafts. In the hot summer months, the buret can come out, but be aware of weather changes and wind. The cage for a caique must be at least 60 x 60 cm and 100 cm high. It must be equipped with natural branches so that the caique can exercise its natural need to climb as well as clean its beak and sharpen its claws. In the wild, caiques sleep in caves and this need should also be met in captivity. A guinea pig house at the bottom of the cage or a wooden box at the top of the cage will create the necessary cave atmosphere for the caique and it will settle in quickly. The caique is a very playful bird with a high level of activity. It should therefore have a number of different toys as well as an appropriate amount of daily contact and time out of the cage. The caique is also called the clown parrot and you can have many good experiences with the playful caique, which e.g. can lie on his back and play with toys in his feet; or who love to hang upside down and rock back and forth. Always keep an eye on the caique when it plays with toys and make sure it can't get pinched or hurt. The caique is a social bird and should therefore be handled and exercised daily. Two caiques together will be able to enjoy each other greatly both for friendly wrestling matches, but also for sedentary close contact.
Health and disease:
A caique is rarely sick. Its greatest danger of disease arises from drafts and from feeding too fatty food. With a varied diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables and the opportunity for daily activity, the caique will achieve a healthy lifestyle. Caique's spots can often be thin, but this is due to the high intake of fruit and vegetables and should not be taken as a sign of illness. A healthy caique has clear eyes, clean smooth feathers and a clean muzzle. It is active and does not appear bloated. It only sits still, possibly. with its head under its wing when it sleeps and it eats and drinks normally.
A caique is sexually mature when it is 2-3 years old. It can have two litters a year and breeds preferably in the months of April to October. A red box with the size approx. 45 cm high and 25 x 25 wide/deep will be a good starting point for a successful brood. The caique lays 3-4 eggs which hatch in approx. 25 days. A caique egg weighs approx. 9 grams and newly hatched young approx. 8 grams. After approx. At 75 days, the young leave the nest and here they can eat little by themselves. However, 14 days should pass, during which you have observed that they are eating solid food completely independently, before you take the young away from the mother.
Caique is also…:
Caiquers are very territorial and in the wild stay in the same area all their lives. A caique loves to bathe. Either in a bowl or under the tap. The Caique is highly intelligent, has a big ego and can be very stubborn. It has a psyche like a macaw and a will like a marathon runner…
Mette S Pedersen
UDD. Animal care assistant - Foderboxen.dk