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Bird of the Month

Caiques are bird of the month on (hosted by the BirdTalk magazine folks). They are requesting people send in their stories of living with caiques, and why these birds are special to you. This is a great chance to educate others about these wonderful birds, so please, if you have a caique, consider sending a story in!

My submission:

I am owned by two rehomed caiques, Higgins and Rosie (aka Goober).
They are the loves of my life- after living with caiques for three
years I can't imagine having a house without these wonderful birds.
I'm often asked by non bird folk what caiques are like, and why I am
so attracted to them. In an effort to help people understand what a
caique is really like, I give this description: "Imagine a dog, like a
border collie, the type of dog that needs to be worked. Now, mix in
the intelligence of an african grey parrot, and the attention span of
a moth. You have a caique".

There is never a dull moment with a caique around. They may be hanging
from the curtains, flying from playgym to playgym with a great big
'whirrring' sound to wrestle with one another, or beating up toys in
their cages. They are fantastic eaters and eat with gusto. I often
refer to them as little garbage disposals- I've yet to find a food
they dislike!

Another thing that endears me to these wonderful little birds is how
outgoing they are. I've had neighborhood children come and play with
my birds, much to the birds delight. Just about anyone can handle
them, so long as they are unafraid. Most people are taken quickly by
their quirky little personalities.

Higgins and Rosie bring laughter into my life daily. I enjoy looking
into the future with them and growing old together.

Emily of Caique Crazy Forums

Caiques are unique

Caiques are an interesting species. They differ in many ways from other parrot species, both in large ways and small. As we learn more about caiques, and parrots in general, we gain greater knowledge on how to care for these birds in a more natural and healthful way.

Like other parrot species, caiques can hybridize. They can hybridize amoung themselves- there have been noted yellowthigh/black head hybrids, as well as green thigh/ yellow thigh. Interestingly, unlike some other parrot species, it has been noted that caiques can hybridize with other species of birds. On his website, John McMichael has a small blurb about a caique hybridizing with an illigers macaw. Unfortunately no pictures are available, and no information is provided as to if the eggs were fertile or not. This piece of information has the potential for a lot- if the eggs were fertile, it would mean that genetically caiques are 'close' to the family of small macaws. We could learn a lot by analyzing and probing for more information.

Did you know caique parrots are right footed? Studies have shown that a parrot can show 'footedness', that is, a preference of using one foot over the other when eating, etc. Much like our preference for writing with one hand or the other. In comparison to other parrot species generally exhibiting left foot preference, caiques prefer the right foot. I wonder what this means as to their way of thinking? In humans, using one hand over the other shows a 'brain side preference- left or right'.

Unlike other parrots, the caiques upper beak, the maxilla, is not fixed, but rather hinged. This is believed to be an adaption to climbing.

It is also said that caique chicks are deaf when they are hatched, unlike other parrot species. They are also born with no ear opening. The opening appears at around two to three weeks of age, when the eyes begin to open.

Interestingly, information and prints on caiques date back to 1783. Yet in 2007, this bird is considered to be somewhat rare in the avian community, not being as readily available as other parrot species in the pet trade.

One must wonder about the lack of information available on these parrots, and when they will gain enough attention from influential people within the avian community to warrant observation and study.

Its snowing.. its snowing!!!

Well, no really. On the blog it is! I am gearing up for Christmas folks, so expect to see some funky happenings going on around the site. I thought we could do a 25 days of Christmas type thing with the website. I have so many ideas in store I don't know which to implement first! In the works are:
-an education section [complete with coloring pages, emergency contact sheets that can be readily printed off and ready to use, and educational resources for use in seminars, birdclubs]
-recommended reading list
-updated 'dangerous materials' section
-total revamp of the site (come January. I have the cuuuutest spring theme saved, lol)
-making browsing easier for the site- no more getting lost in the pages!
-partnering with another bird site ( to bring you a creative map that will pinpoint lost/found birds.

....And so much more!

Another note- I know its been mentioned before, but our Caique Crazy 12 months of caiques calendar is now available for purchase! If you view our store you can browse our many gift items. If you have a parrot and are interested in getting his/her picture on an object, feel free to contact me. I do custom orders and can place any picture you give me on a multitude of items- anything from cooking aprons to travel mugs, and keychains!

Ok, ok, my little spiel is over.

Everyone have a happy holiday season. Caique stories coming soon!

The cages are here! (and a Happy Thanksgiving!)

After anxious waiting, my new cages are here! WOOHOO! The caiques got a total revamp. Previously, Higgins (my male BHC) was in a large California model cage, and Rosie was in a small California dometop. Now, they are both in a double stack cage, with so much room to spare! Each cage has interior dimensions of 35 by 30 by 40. These cages are heavy duty- I love them. The birds love them, too.

Now the above picture was taken before I had set up a full spectrum light on the bottom portion. No worries- the FS light is up and running and both birdies are happy.

Its amazing what a simple cage change can do for a birds attitude. My previous clinging, obsessive screaming, neurotic (ok, she still has issues, lol) little Rosie-Goober is no longer clinging to the side of the cage, yelling all the time. No matter how I re-arranged her previous cage, she was never happy. Now, she is running around her cage, playing, sitting in front of her light, just being a generally happy bird. I think the cage on top and the wall behind her makes her feel really secure [as she is a really insecure bird]. It seems to be just what she needed, because her horrible screaming has practically been non-existant since I put her in the new cage.

Higgins (my male BHC) loves being on top. He has always thought he was top bird and I think being so high up gives him an ego boost [not that he needs one!]. He has spent the past couple days looking out the window and playing with toys on the bottom of his new cage. WOOT! It's a happy household.

I hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving- from my flock to yours :)

Caique Calendar

2008 is quickly approaching- do you have your calendar yet?

We've got the ultimate calendar for caique lovers- 12 months of caiques! Each month is a beautiful, high quality picturing portraying caiques doing what they do best- being themselves!!!

Three versions of the calendar are available, so please browse our store to view them.

The Store

Pick out the calendar that best suits you. Makes a great present for a bird owner/lover!

Its pumpkin time!!!!

I love fall. I love the change in weather, the pretty trees, how the months smoothly blend together.

Another reason I love fall- the food! But not for me, for the birds :P

Fall means pumpkins and squash, mixed nuts, pomegranates, and all sorts of other seasonal fruit. Yum.

Last week was Halloween, and I got a large pumpkin to decorate with, and small minikins for the fids. They loved them. Here is my recipe for tails up pumpkins:
1 mini pumpkin

Wash the pumpkin thoroughly. Cut the top off. Wash & chop apples. Leave the 'guts' in the pumpkin. Stuff the inside with chopped apples, and sprinkle with cinnamon. Put the top back on. Warm oven to 375, place pumpkin in for 8-10 minutes, until warm and 'soft'. Remove, let cool, and feed to birds slightly warm.

It makes a great enrichment toy- not only is it good for them, but its loads of fun to shred!!!

I got back from Parrot Palooza on Sunday and had a blast!!! Parrot Palooza is put on each year by the wonderful Bird Paradise in Burlington, NJ. I have never set foot in a nicer store. The event was well worth the drive. If anyone is in the area, I highly recommend checking out Bird Paradise!!!

Needless to say, I spent entirely too much money and enjoyed maxing out my credit card. The entire store was 20% off, and that didn't count the coupons you received upon arrival! I did some major shopping for my fids at home with the help of one of the caique friends I made at the store :) Among other things, I picked up a Large Long Get-A-Grip for my birds which I cannot wait to put up. I love the E-star bird products. I also picked up this really neat foraging toy called Lovely Bunch Of Coconuts. It is built for larger birds but makes a great playstation for a bird enthusiastic as a caique.

The event hosted free seminars all weekend long. I attended seminars by Sally Blanchard and Irene Pepperburg, who also graciously signed my copies of The Alex Studies: Cognitive and Communicative Abilities of Grey Parrots, and The Beak Book: Understanding, Preventing, and Solving Aggression and Biting Behaviors in Companion Parrots. It was wonderful to meet these two people who have impacted so many lives in the avian world.

I gave been busily uploading photos for the better part of the day, and I am sure they will appear on the site sooner or later. As of now, you can view some of the photos over at CCF.

Now I am going to go run and wait for the UPS guy to get here to deliver my new cages!!!


One thing you never hear a lot of people talk about in regards to caiques is how extremely loyal they are. Not only do they have great personality, are the perfect size, and are just fun to look at- they make great sidekicks!

Unlike some other species of parrots that bond strongly to one person and will lash out to everyone who challenges that bond, caiques are very easy going. They can hop from person to person- heck, the more the merrier! The little attention hogs :) But thats not to say they don't bond strongly with one person and have a preference of who they like to spend time with. And, to that person they form the bond with is to whom they are extremely loyal. Having a bad day? Get your caique out and cuddle a bit. Having a great day? Dance around the living room together! Someone making you mad? Don't let the bird near- chances are the birdie will bite.
My caiques are very loyal to me, especially my male black head. Oh he loves meeting new people, but in a new situation that makes him slightly unsure, its me he runs to for re-assurance. If he thinks someone is threatening me or picks up a bad vibe off of someone, he will snap at them in my defense. If I need to have a restful, quiet day, he will sit on my lap or shoulder and gladly cuddle, quiet mellow. (now thats saying something for the energizer bunny of the bird world!)

Other caique owners tell me they have noticed this as well. I think it is one of the best quality a caique possesses - it certainly makes up for all the trials and tribulations you can go through adapting to the jekyll and hyde personality of a caique. When they are good, they are oh so good. When they are bad... they are very, very bad.

Until next time!

Babble Ball meets Caique

Rosie the caique LOVES her new babble ball toy. We got it in the mail last week and I tossed in the birds cage for a test run. The birds immediatly flung themselves against the sides of their cages like 'WHAT is that and WHY is it here? Will it eat me?' Poor dears.

Don't feel sorry for them too long! I took the ball out, let it sit within site for half a day, and gave it another test run by putting it in Rosies cage. You can see how much she loves it now. Its her new favorite toy! I think this is high up there on the list of caique favorites- I highly recommend anyone who has a caique to get one.

The toy is called a Babble Ball and there are several types available:

Babble Ball - Small

Babble Ball - Big

or this really neat looking one

Boinky Babble Ball

I am going to have to order another one for Higgins because Rosie certainly isn't sharing!

Busy busy busy!

Its been a busy, busy week! On top of regular life stuff, we've been getting ready for Parrot Palooza. For those that are going 'huh?' - Parrot Palooza is an event that takes place yearly at Bird Paradise, in Burlington, NJ. There will be educational seminars, food, door prizes, storewide sales (uh oh... must not max out credit card... MUST not max out credit card!!!) and best of all, you get to sit around and chat with birdie friends!

Over at the caique forum, everyone is getting excited as this event draws near. We have some NJ folks that are regulars at Bird Paradise and are getting all us un-initiated Parrot Palooza folks psyched! We've got flyers ready to print out, business card and brochures to leave for anyone that might be considering purchasing a baby caique. Just look for the big group of people wearing T-Shirts saying 'I've been caiqued!'

More exciting news on the home front- Caique Crazy has moved servers! We are and ready to rumble. This means LOTS of promising things- more resources for caique owners- the sky is the limit!

CCF members have also agreed to sponsor a pair of white bellied caiques that are in the sanctuary program at The Gabriel Foundation. We will be getting more information on those guys Saturday, so stay tuned to find out!!

And... news on the homefront. Rose and Higgins proclaim that every caique must have a babble ball- they are the coolest thing since sliced bread. Mine came in the mail yesterday and they are both just enamored with it. Nothing better then two caiques giggling like goons, poking a ball, making it bark, moo, crow (I got the animal noises one) and then run to pounce on it as soon as it does.

Ok my break is over- back to the grindstone. More information coming soon!

One thing I find rather frustrating about keeping caiques in the home is that so little is known about them. We know there are two species and four sub-species. We know they like to reside in the forest canopy of their natural environment. We have a general idea of their range and to which countries they are native to. We think we have an idea of which foods they eat in the wild- over at the Caique Site, John Micmichael has documented a small list of foods that caiques eat in the wild.

But other then that- what do we know? Their sleeping or foraging habits, their nesting habits? Unlike macaws and cockatoos or other parrot species who have been studied extensively in their natural habitats, we know next to nothing about these delightful little birds called caiques. People argue over whether or not to give them sleeping quarters such as a nextbox year round- in countries such as Germany where they are avicultural requirements and minimums, this is a must. Why? What leads us to that conclusion?

When people ask about the specific dietary requirements of caiques, no one can answer honestly, because we don't know. Oh, we can guess about their needs- its been said they need a higher fruit content, perhaps even supplement with nectar like a lori and fresh flowers- but why? What if we are leaving out an important aspect of our birds diet because we have not sought to find the true answer.

People fight all the time for the funds to get to go and observe a species in its natural habitat, log the data and bring that information back to share with the avicultural community in hopes of better understanding our parrots and enriching their lives. Shouldn't we do the same for our caiques? I've donated to yellow eared conure conservation efforts, hyacinth, spix, lears, and blue throat macaw efforts, but have yet to come across a person, group or some such organization that has stood up and said: 'I am fighting for the right of the caique parrot. I want to know more about their habits so that I can make my birds at home happy and healthy and allow them to live out their natural lives.'

Isn't it time?

Your first bird

Its a commonly enough asked question, especially among birdie minded folk. 'What was your first bird? How old where you when you got it?"

I have another question, birdie folk. When was the first time you realized you were destined to become a bird owner? I know some people have grown up around parrots and it just seems to come naturally, while others just got stuck with that odd pet and poof- love at first site. But do you ever look back at the years before your house was a live-in jungle and wonder if you ever saw warning signs of what the years ahead were destined to be like?

I was chatting with one of my best friends via IM the other day. Her and I go way back. We met in 3rd grade elementary school and were in the same class every year until I moved away- have stayed in constant contact ever since. I had pulled out this box of pictures that had gotten sucked into some unknown closet vortex (you know the type...) and was just reviewing the pictures. It was a bunch of pictures of me, my friend, and our 'old gang' from elementary school. Good times, good times.

So here we are getting all nostalgic and sappy, and memories are flooding back like everything happened just yesterday. And I remember the moment that I will define as my first 'birdie moment'. AKA destined to clean up bird poop for the rest of my life :D

Elementary school, 4th grade.

Aww, come on folks. Don't some of you struggle to know WHY one day the urge hits you to drop an insane amount of money on a pile of feathers that squawks, bites, poops, flings food all over your walls and carpet, and makes your neighbors pull their hair in frustration? All while you are looking on with adoration in your eyes, of course.

I remember growing up and thinking parrots were cool. I remember someone in my 6th grade class bringing in their blue and gold macaw, and thinking it was a pirate parrot. *insert rolling of the eyes here*

But seriously. Wouldn't you love to have that defining moment in your life and bottle it, preserve it somehow, and look back, perhaps give your past self a little shake and scream 'WHAT THE HECK WERE YOU THINKING?!'


Back to my story.

It was fourth grade. We were in the artsy phase of life. You know what I am talking about... lots of chorus, hands on learning, and lots of art classes. I remember lots of play-acting at recess, too. I grew up with a cat or two around the house, a dog (m y grandparents) and the occasional fish, but nothing more exotic.

I remember one day drawing what I considered the classic 'parrot'- long tail, big beak, wings. Flashy bright colors. I thought it was the coolest thing since sliced bread. Cut the little figure out, and to make it really seem lifelike, make a pesudo ring out of paper which I promptly glued the parrots feet too. Attach the ring to your finger, and with some maneuvering, the parrot could stand up on his own! Err... wave in the wind? Flap and catch the breeze?

Anyhow. I was the hit of the playground. I had a pet bird! Take that contraption out to recess and before you know it everyone was on that piece of paper like you thought it was a bowl full of sugar candy. Soon my time in class...err... extra time, was spent making paper parrots for friends. I bet during recess the monitors were scratching their heads wondering what fad was this- everyone seemed to be walking around with parrots!

Sadly I don't know whatever happened to my original Polly. I guess he/she got lost in the shuffle of life. Funny how memories like that get buried- much like those pictures did, and resurface after time.

Polly the paper parrot, I salute you!!!

Ode to a Captive Parrot

Parrots have given up a lot for us. They have given up their natural lives as they know it- and even though parrots in the North American Market today are domestically bred, they still for all genetic and instinctual purposes, are wild animals.

This is, Ode to a Captive Parrot.

created by me, but pictures rights go to various sources off the internet. Text is all mine.

Things are a'changing

The past couple days, if you are one of the rare people who might check the site regularly, you will have noticed the site has been undergoing some weird things. No worries! Thats just me, playing :-) I am putting up a new, easier to navigate format, along with some neat updated features to make Caique Crazy better then ever before. Please hang in there - I only do so much at a time, and often have to walk away from the computer and come back to the project later.

Later on if you see any missing links, any missing pictures, please drop me a line and let me know!

Just a quickee update- the new main page layout is ALMOST done! WOOHOO. I just have to play with the colors a bit more.. because sky blue and light green do not go well. Format a couple more things, and all should be ready! I will be making some small changes to the format of the internal pages as well, so look for those too :)

Next on the list- tackle the forum layout. But I think I need a break before my head implodes.

Oh, and some people have been asking what the heck is up with the layout, LOL. Lord of the Rings? Ok, Ok. Here is the scoop-
I found the layout on another free for grabs blog and loved the look. You gotta admit- its pretty darn spiffy. I think its relaxing. I liked it so much I am formatting the rest of the site to match... I am calling it 'The Hobbit meets Victorian Era', lol. We have had so many wild and zany colors, its time for a new look. And I think it fits in nicely with the weather changing- winter is just around the corner folks!

I've started doing a link exchange with other bird related blogs- if you are interested in swapping links, let me know! I really need to kick myself in the butt and get this place up and running... I've been a bit lax about it. Anyhow... thats all for now. Enjoy!

Rest In Peace Alex


WALTHAM, MA (SEPTEMBER 10, 2007)—Alex, the world renowned African Grey parrot made famous by the ground-breaking cognition and communication research conducted by Irene Pepperberg, Ph.D., died at the age of 31 on September 6, 2007. Dr. Pepperberg’s pioneering research resulted in Alex learning elements of English speech to identify 50 different objects, 7 colors, 5 shapes, quantities up to and including 6 and a zero-like concept. He used phrases such as “I want X” and “Wanna go Y”, where X and Y were appropriate object and location labels. He acquired concepts of categories, bigger and smaller, same-different, and absence. Alex combined his labels to identify, request, refuse, and categorize more than 100 different items demonstrating a level and scope of cognitive abilities never expected in an avian species. Pepperberg says that Alex showed the emotional equivalent of a 2 year-old child and intellectual equivalent of a 5 year-old. Her research with Alex shattered the generally held notion that parrots are only capable of mindless vocal mimicry.

In 1973, Dr. Pepperberg was working on her doctoral thesis in theoretical chemistry at Harvard University when she watched Nova programs on signing chimps, dolphin communication and, most notably, on why birds sing. She realized that the fields of avian cognition and communication were not only of personal interest to her but relatively uncharted territory. When she finished her thesis, she left the field of chemistry to pursue a new direction—to explore the depths of the avian mind. She decided to conduct her research with an African Grey parrot. In order to assure she was working with a bird representative of its species, she asked the shop owner to randomly choose any African Grey from his collection. It was Alex. And so the 1-year old Alex, his name an acronym for the research project, Avian Learning EXperiment, became an integral part of Pepperberg’s life and the pioneering studies she was about to embark upon.

Over the course of 30 years of research, Dr. Pepperberg and Alex revolutionized the notions of how birds think and communicate. What Alex taught Dr. Pepperberg about cognition and communication has been applied to therapies to help children with learning disabilities. Alex’s learning process is based on the rival-model technique in which two humans demonstrate to the bird what is to be learned. Alex and Dr. Pepperberg have been affiliated with Purdue University, Northwestern University, the University of Arizona, the MIT Media Lab, the Radcliffe Institute, and most recently, Harvard University and Brandeis University.
Alex has been featured worldwide on numerous science programs including the BBC, NHK, Discovery and PBS. He is well known for his interactions with Alan Alda in an episode of Scientific American Frontiers on PBS and from an episode of the famed PBS Nature series called “Look Who’s Talking.” Reports on Alex’s accomplishments have appeared in the popular press and international news from USA Today to the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. The Science Times section of the New York Times featured Alex in a front-page story in 1999. That same year, Dr. Pepperberg published The Alex Studies, a comprehensive review of her decades of learning about learning from Alex. Many other television appearances and newspaper articles followed.

Alex was found to be in good health at his most recent annual physical about two weeks ago. According to the vet who conducted the necropsy, there was no obvious cause of death. Dr. Pepperberg will continue her innovative research program at Harvard and Brandeis University with Griffin and Arthur, two other young African Grey parrots who have been a part of the ongoing research program.

Alex has left a significant legacy—not only have he and Dr. Pepperberg and their landmark experiments in modern comparative psychology changed our views of the capabilities of avian minds, but they have forever changed our perception of the term “bird brains.”

For press contacts:
The Alex Foundation and Dr. Pepperberg can be reached by e-mail at the or by phone at 781-736-2195.

If you choose to help support this research, please consider making a donation in Alex's memory to The Alex Foundation, c/o Dr. Irene Pepperberg, Department of Psychology/MS-062, 415 South Street, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA 02454.

For Alex

I knew you not my friend but you touched my life
Not only mine but that also of my wife
You see, before we learned of you
All we knew is that budgies come in blue

Well now it’s your entire fault
That I can’t blame the Supreme Gestalt
That forever and a day
I will be loved by something Grey

My two Grey life’s companions want to thank you
For opening our eyes and expanding our minds
For everything you have done and still will do
For the benefit of Psittacenes and Human kinds

With much love and the greatest respect
Michael L. Graham

Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder is an amazing caique that was hatched at Shady Pines Aviary. Little Stevie was born without eyes. Gloria Balaban, of Shady Pines Aviary, was determined to find little Wonder a good home. What better home then a home that had already experienced the love and wonder of a caique? Stevie Wonder found his new home with Christine Eicher on Friday, August 17, 2007.

Christine writes:

"Little Stevie Wonder was hatched on May 25, 2007 at Shady Pines Aviary. As you can see, he was hatched without eyes. Stevie is developing like any other Caique chick, and, I think perfect every which way! Today is August 5, 2007 and Stevie will be arriving at his forever home from Shady Pines Aviary within a week or two.

Little Stevie the Wonder Caique arrived Friday, August 17, 2007! He is pure joy!!

Little Stevie Wonder's Baby Shower (August 7, 2007 to ??)
Little Stevie's Aunts, Uncles,Caique Cousins, and Parrot friends are throwing a cyber baby shower for him! The gifts they are sending make noise and have very rich textures. Very thoughtful gifts for a blind baby parrot!

I know that when Little Stevie the Wonder Caique arrives here at his forever home, he will want to have his thanks to his cyber friends on video.

Keep checking back to see all the wonderful presents Stevie receives and for the links to his video thank you cards.

Special thanks to Momma Gloria Balaban at Shady Pines Aviary for the Cyber Baby Shower and for choosing me to be the baby's new Momma!

Momma Christine

Little Stevie the Wonder Caique is settling in and seems very content in his forever home with me, Mamma Christine. Mamma Gloria and Daddy Ron, his breeders at Shady Pines Aviary, call every day to see how he is doing and to share their wealth of knowledge on weaning and fledging chicks."

Gloria Balaban says little Stevie hatched from normal parents who have raised chicks before with no previous issues. Stevie is one special birdie!

To see pictures of little Wonder, please check out his photo albums that are being updated almost daily by his loving mom.

Caique Diet

A good diet is the most important aspect of avian health, longevity, happiness, and being a good parrot owner. A bird on a poor diet with have poor plumage, overgrown nails, a flaky beak, and other health problems associated with lack of proper nutrition. What is considered a good diet for a caique parrot?

Caiques are different then other parrot species. Their long beak is adapted for getting pollen and nectar from flowers, and the juices of ripe fruits. In the wild, their diet is made up largely of fresh flowers, pollen, fruits, nectar, and grains. It has been noted that caiques eat the following foods in the wild:
Fruit of the Acai palm
Wild Figs
Seed from the American Muskwood
Seed from the Rubber Tree
Liana Flower
Guava Fruit

A complete list can be found at The Caique Site

What does this tell us about how we should adapt their home environments? Many caique breeders, including John McMichael and longtime bird owner Sally Blanchard, believe in substituting their caiques diets with lori nectar, to mimic the nectar they would naturally gather in the wild. Goldenfeast Lori Nectar contains all organic ingredients, and contains no sugar, unlike some other nectars, and is personally what I choose to supplement my birds diet with aswell.Caiques also have a natural higher fruit intake then other birds.They seem to thrive off the natural sugar highs. Because these birds have such a fast metabolism, and are constantly on the move, they can burn off the natural sugars much more easily then some other parrot species. Caique owners choose to supplement their birds with more fruits then veggies, although veggies are a necessary part of the diet as well. Whilst some bird owners choose to go the all veggie no fruit route for their companion parrots,people who own caiques should allow their birds fresh fruits.Some favorite fruits include:fresh papaya,mango,plum,nectarines,apple,oranges,and grapes.Other foods such as kale and spinach are readily accepted as well.

Since a large majority of caiques diets is composed of flowers, caique owners may choose to supplement their birds diets with fresh blossoms from bird safe plants. A Alist of safe plants includes common house plants such as: Aloe, dandelion, dogwood, gardenia, marigolds, petunia, thistle, yucca, white clover.A complete list of safe plants can be viewed at Planned Parrothood

To fulfill the need for pollen, caique owners can purchase bee pollen and add it to their birds cooked foods, or feed singly to the bird.

Another consideration to make is bugs. Yup, you heard me right. Bugs. Meal worms and crickets are a great source of calcium (as well as enrichment... can you picture a caique hopping after a cricket?). Some people choose to feed meal worms to their parrots in addition to their regular diet. 'Gutloading' the meal worm naturally (allowing the meal worm to gorge on vitamin rich foods, such as yams) is a good way to add calcium and nutrients to your birds diet. Feeding the mini meal worms is recommended, or meal worms that are not yet fully mature. Fully mature regular size meal worms develop pincers on their heads that, if swallowed properly by a bird could theoretically do damage to a birds crop. If you do buy the larger meal worms, as a precaution it is recommended that you remove the head prior to feeding them to your pet bird. Freeze dried preservative free meal worms are an alternative to live. Word of warning on the crickets.. many prefer to feed them dead, as ones who have tried to feed them live, the crickets have escaped and are still alive in the house! If you are not the 'live bugs' type, an interesting bird safe alternative is available... Bag O' Bugs

It is recommended that the base of your birds diet be compromised of a high quality pelleted food, supplemented with fresh fruits, veggies, etc. I believe in supplementing with high quality seed, too, as you can see, caiques are natural seed and grain eaters in the wild. Feeding an organic pellet such as TOPS, Goldenfeast Golden Obles, or Foundation Formula, is a good start to great nutrition. Please refer back to our topic titled 'The Pet Food Recalls, and Your Bird' for more information on these food items.

Want more information on feeding your caique? Check out Caique Crazy where there is both a recipes section and a diet page, with information for you to explore.

A rare look

Poking around the internet one day on my never ending quest for further caique information, I found quite the interesting photo that I would like to share. This photo comes from the Bird A Day Blog


This is Magoo, a pallid caique. Magoo's owner says about him-
"Magoo is a pallid caique from the rainforests of Peru. He is the most hilarious clown, with a terrific personality and most loving curiosity. .. oh, and the healthiest appetite you can see!"

Photos Credit Cynthia: Lima, Peru

Pallid caiques are the only subspecies of the nominate black headed caique, scientific name Pionites Melanocephala. The Pallid is Pionites Melanocephala Pallidas.

Pallids are a rare site to see, as they are not kept in US aviculture in all, and very rarely in collections outside of the US. Only one other breeder has been recognized in the United Kingdom as a breeder of pallids.

The only difference between the two forms of caiques is that the nominate race- (the caique sold in the US as black headed caiques, in the pet trade) have mottled bright orange thighs, whereas the Pallid has pale yellow thighs. The pallid is so rare and lacking in information, it has formerly lead to arguments on whether or not this bird truly exists, or if its a hybrid of the black headed caique, or possible freak mutation.

Little is known about the Pallid Caiques natural territory, other then it appears to be a bit northeast of where the nominate Black Heads reside, in Peru, Ecuador, and Columbia.

Glowing Caiques

I came across this interesting study while surfing the internet:

These Caique parrots belong to John McMichael.

These are "yellow-thighed caiques" and their scientific name is "Pionites leucogaster xanthomeria". These photographs came about as a result of an email that John McMichael sent me that went as follows: "I own and breed a species of parrot known as a caique. I am interested in some pictures of them made using UV photography. These birds have apricot colored feathers that fluoresce a bright yellow under a black light. I have made a crude attempt to photograph this fluorescence. This, however, has proved a challenge since they seem to get agitated when illuminated by the black light and refuse to sit still. Thus, I had to use the fastest color film I could find (1800 ASA) and I wonder if the results could be better.

I would also like to have some pictures made of them with UV reflectance photography. This species is monomorphic. I keep wondering if both sexes still look the same in reflected UV light. Birds are able to see into the near UV, so they may be able to discern sex in this way. I was wondering if you might be interested in this." I replied that this would indeed be of interest to me and the rest is history. So far we have photographed these birds twice. The second time only for fluorescence and this time using a lighter toned backdrop (Photos 4, 5 and 6) but since it did not fluoresce it did not change the tone of the background significantly.

Anyway, you can find out a LOT more about these birds at John McMichael's website located here:

The camera that was used for these photographs was a Canon A1 with a 100mm f/2.8 Canon FD lens. The parrots were first photographed using 3200K Tungsten illumination on Kodak Vericolor Portra film using the camera's metering sytem to determine the shutter speed and aperture automatically.

Next, since they naturally exhibit strong UV excited fluorescence, they were illuminated by a Sunpack 555 flash (operating at full power) whose reflector was covered with a Wratten 18A filter. To keep ultraviolet away from the film and allow only visible wavelengths through the lens was covered with a Wratten 2E filter. The scene was recorded on Kodak Extachrome 400 speed film at an aperture of f/2.8 with the flash-to-subject distance being adjusted from about 12" - 36" from the birds to achieve the equivalent of bracketing.

Finally, to record the reflectance of UV radiation from the bird's feathers, the lens was covered with the Wratten 18A filter to allow only UV through to the film. The lens was focused on the birds but the focus point was brought opposite the infrared mark (as suggested in my article: Guidelines for UV and IR photography). The flash was located on a bracket attached to the camera and both were thus about 4 feet from the birds. The best aperture at that distance was something like f/5.6 based on a series of bracketed exposures. The film for this was Kodak TMax 400 processed in Rodinal 1:25 for 6 minutes at 68 degrees with agitation every 30 sec.

Normal WBC
This is a pair of nominate race WBC's

UV 1
Caiques under UV lighting

UV 2
Caiques by reflected UV light

for more pictures, please visit: Exhibit- Caiques

Hopefully informal studies like these will soon be taken more seriously in the avicultural world, as caiques are one of the least studied parrots that are currently kept as pets. The more we know about them, the better we can care for them.


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Fame coming to CCF!

Its true, folks. Been hearing rumors lately that a certain black headed caique mom is making her way over to the caique crazy forums? Well, its true! Sally Blanchard and her sidekick Spike are joining the Caique Crazy community! Sally has graciously agreed to participate in several live chat sessions with CCF members, and we are also currently working out a Q & A schedule. Chat sessions are FREE- but you must be a member of the Caique Crazy Forums to participate. This keeps out spammers, and allows us to carefully moderate sessions to ensure that everyone is having a good time! As soon as details are worked out, they will be posted- so check back soon! In the meantime, if you are interested, head on over to to register an account. Remember- you must be a registered member to participate in our chat sessions! Thank you!

Bird Auctions- death to birds?

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The above is an advertisement for an 'exotic bird auction'. 600+ birds will be displaced, shuffled off to new homes to on June 16, with whomever has the highest bid and the cash on hand to pay for it.
A scary thought, isn't it? Many rare and exotic species that aviculturists yearn for- work hard for so many years to buy, care for, then breed to increase species numbers- auctioned off like some fresh cut of meat. Advertised as 'proven money makers' and 'proven breeding pairs', like the birds will return whomever invests x amount of money in them as long as they throw a nestbox in the cage.

Even worse is the fact that this is being put on by a world renowed veterinarian. Dr. Susan Clubb, who works for Loro Parque, Kaytee, and Parrot Jungle Gardens and owns Hurricane Aviaries, is selling her exotic bird collection to cover divorce costs.

But- does that explanation satisfy outraged parrot owners all over the internet? Of course not. Speculation goes that this has turned into a quick and easy way to make money. Each hyacinth in the collection- there are currently four- should sell for an estimated $9,000 each, which is speculated on message boards that, that amount of money should be enough to pacify general divorce costs. The Queen Of Bavara, or Golden Conures, (3 pairs) will go for an estimated 1,500 each.

So why choose this route? For someone so world renowned, this auction must be degrading. One has to wonder if the human ego has taken over, and then greed for money has overcome personal desires.

A petition to stop all exotic animals has started at: with encouragement from everyone in the avicultural community to sign.

Some are defending Dr. Clubb, saying that in a short amount of time, this was the quickest and most effective way to dissipate her 'collection'. But, others must wonder why she chooses the informal route- selling to the highest bidder, her years of hard work going all over the globe (select species of birds have been approved for exportation), rather then contacting some of her many contacts in the avicultural community, and selling her collection that way. Surely some breeders of whom Dr. Clubb knows and places her trust in are looking to add some rare birds to their current flock? Rather then just any old Joe, who will do goodness knows what with their new 'purchase'?

The whole situation has left the avicultural community in turmoil, and this blogger in sadness and frustration.

Hey all, just a quick word.

CC now has a myspace account! Written from the views of the admins birds- Higgins, Rosie, and Cupcake. Please take a moment to visit, and if you have an account, add us to your friends!

See you around the net!

Caique Experts

Are you a caique expert? Do you breed caiques, or are you just a knowledgeable hobbiest? Do you know about caiques in the wild, have in depth information and knowledge of caique behavior, diet, and attitude? We want you!! Caique Crazy Forums is putting together a panel of experts, to answer member questions that are in depth about their birds. These questions may be anything from molting, to breeding, to behavior. If you are interested, please contact Amy.

Funky Happenings...

Anyone who visits the site frequently or even infrequently may have noticed to odd happenings going on over this past month. The site has undergone some wacky changes, and the whole forum looks different. E-gads, whats going on?

Due to some turmoil within the administration, the original site was pulled from its server. It has been rehosted and is currently undergoing changes to make it bigger and better then ever. Look for regular updates to the blog, new site features including an interactive caique quiz, and more articles pertaining to the care and keeping of caiques.

Please check out the new forum located at and keep tuned for further features to come!

The Pet Food Recalls & Your Bird Food

I'm sure you have all heard about the dog and cat food recalls that started happening early April. Over 30 brands of recalled wet food, due to melamine contamination. Now, some dry foods have been recalled, and the list of possible contaminates just keeps spreading.

Does this affect our birds? Its my belief that its only a matter of time before it hits all animal foods. This is just the calm before the storm.

Previously, the only bad boy on the label was wheat gluten. Now, there are 6 possible contaminates. Wheat gluten, corn gluten, corn meal, soy protein, rice bran, and rice protein are all being inspected by the FDA for possible contamination. I just inspected the ingredients list of Roudybush, the pellets that I feed my birds. Wheat gluten- check. Soy meal- hmmm. Corn products, check. Roudybush rice diet, which I feed my plucker, also has rice bran, and rice protein. Comforting, isn't it?

Are you thinking- 'well, I don't feed pellets, I feed seed!'. You are not going to be happy with my findings. A quick search on the internet scouring common brand seed ingredients revealed startling discoveries. Topper Bird Ranch Seed uses wheat gluten. They have assured me that they only use US sources for all their wheat gluten (why use it at all? Wheat gluten is a cheap, unhealthy filler) so it should be safe, right? One would think... until you hear about the recall of Chicken Soup products, who is US based, and did not use imported products, but still found traces of melamine in their Kitten and Puppy Formulas?

A quick look at the ingredients of another popular food, Kaytee, shows that their seed contains Corn Gluten Meal, Wheat Middlings (don't know what wheat middlings are? A cheap way to feed cattle to fatten them up before slaughter. Don't believe me? Google it!) and Ethoxyquin . Their pellets contain - surprise surprise.. ground wheat middlings (again, cattle feed!), Corn Gluten Meal, Ethoxyquin, and of course, some sugar for good measure *insert sarcasm here*

I could go on and on, but you get my point. Just about every label reads the same. So now what? with more foods being recalled, how do we know what is safe to feed our birds?

My personal recommendation? Go organic. If you don't already- feed only organic fruits and veggies to your birds. If your pellets have any of the possible contaminates, ditch them. I've found 4 pellets that do not have any of the contaminates in the ingredients list- and, are healthy and use organic ingredients. They are:
TOP Pellets- Totally Organic Pellets.
Goldenfeast Golden Obles-
Foundation Formula-

Honestly, I plan on switching my birds over to the TOP pellets ASAP. I refuse to risk their lives because of human idiocy.

Want info on the latest pet food recalls? Click on any of the following:
Chicken Soup Recall

Specific Brand List of Recalled Foods

Site with constant updates about the pet food situation

Why Human Food Is Affected By Pet Food Recall

and of course... the scariest of the them all. Pet Food May Have Been Spiked On Purpose

The first post

Amy here-

Welcome everyone to the Caique Crazy blog! This is my first ever blog posting, so please be patient as I learn the ropes :)

Have you noticed the new site? Topps has done a wonderful job setting up a new format for us! Please note the new URL-

We have also been hard at work setting up a new forum for our CCF members. Proboards was getting to be a pain, and there was just too many logistical problems to count. We were getting increasingly frustrated by the things we wanted to do with the old forum, but simply couldn't. So, CCF packed up all its gear and moved to Invision board style hosting! I gotta say, I love the changes. It runs faster then ever, and there are seemingly no limitations. For anyone who wants to take a peek, check us out at

Like the changes that have been happening? Sign our guestbook and let us know! Feedback is greatly appreciated.

Until next time