Last Updated on November 19, 2023 by Ali Shahid
The White-Bellied Caique or white-bellied parrot is a cherished parrot often referred to as a “dancing parrot” because they prefer to hop rather than fly. These birds, which resemble clowns, rest on their bellies, with their palms up.
This unusual bird is well-known for its white belly and playful personality. These beautiful birds are called the comics of the parrot family since they combine all of the characteristics that make people adore other members of their family.
While this exquisite bird is endangered in the wild, it has become popular among people looking to acquire a bird as a pet.
Origin and History of White-Bellied Caique
The White-bellied Caique is considered endangered because of human interference in its natural habitat. The White-bellied Caique may be found in the higher parts of South America, which is where it was originally from.
Often numbering between 25 and 30 individuals, this species may be found in the rainforests around the Amazon River and enjoys spending time together as a flock. These birds prefer to stick together in groups and are rarely spotted on their alone.
Short and stocky, white-bellied caiques are around 23 centimeters in length, with a wing span of about 38 centimeters, and tip the scales at around 165 grams. Their ceres, the exposed skin above the beaks of birds, are white and hooked, and their nostrils are pink.
Their eyes are surrounded by nothing but skin, and they may have melanistic patches or red irises with grey rings. Zygodactyls like white-bellied caiques have two toes pointing forward and two backward. Their tail ends are square.
Their heads and necks are covered with orange feathers, while their cheeks and the underside of their bellies are white.
Their underparts, legs, back feathers, and wing coverts are all green, while their flight feathers are a dark blue and their coverts are black.
The two recognized subspecies of white-bellied caiques are:
- Pionites leucogaster xanthurus (Paler Coloration)
- Pionites leucogaster xanthomeria (Yellow Coloration)
Because white-bellied caiques are not sexually dimorphic, determining sex requires genetic testing or a blood sample.
Due to the similarity in appearance between immature white-bellied caiques and black-headed caiques (Pionites melanocephalus), the two species are sometimes mistaken. They shed their dark feathers every 6-24 months.
White-bellied Caiques, are an extremely active species that spends most of its day looking around, playing, and chewing. Surprisingly, they often choose to walk rather than fly.
They walk confidently, sometimes even hopping, about the room in search of anything that interests them. During play, babies often keep toys aloft on their feet while rolling them over onto their backs.
Caiques are enthusiastic bathers and will cheerfully do their business in a bowl, under running water, or in the shower. You shouldn’t maintain a White-bellied Caique as a pet if you can’t spend at least eight hours a day with it.
You should use caution while introducing a companion to your Caique due to the species’ tendency toward aggression. However, it’s still necessary to provide companionship when you can’t be around all the time.
After all, they flock together for protection in the wild. They have difficulty coping alone. Keep in mind that Caiques can deliver a violent bite and should not be housed alongside other bird species.
The Art of Caique Training
Caiques will be destructive throughout the house as they try to mark their territory, become too eager to control their play and get into whatever they can.
This highlights the significance of housebreaking your White-bellied Caique and making it aware of its limits. You should absolutely train your Caique to step up so that you can return it to its cage quickly if necessary.
Because it has no concept of cause and effect, punishing a bird will have no effect. Alternatively, if your Caique engages in undesirable behavior such as biting during playtime, try switching up your approach.
Put it back in its cage if the bird doesn’t reply. It needs to learn to relax and that playing is only enjoyable when there is no risk of being nipped.
Speech and Vocalization
When compared to other parrot species, caiques are much quieter. Is that a sign that they’re hushing up? Really, no parrot will ever be silent.
Caiques spend much of the day making relatively inoffensive sounds like whistling, beeping, and gentle squawking. However, they can produce extremely piercing cries when provoked.
It seems logical that they would need to be able to find each other from a distance in the wild.
Overall, caiques are preferable to many other parrot species when it comes to apartment life. Keep in mind, though, that bringing a parrot into the home will likely end your ability to relax in peace without resorting to earplugs.
There is not much information available on how white-bellied caiques mate and build their nests. They have been seen to be monogamous, and there are no signs of courtship.
But when two white-bellied caiques are together, they feed and groom each other before mating. To be fertile, eggs must be laid within 48 hours of mating.
During the breeding season, white-bellied caiques mate every day, and most days they do it more than once. In captivity, white-bellied caiques breed a lot, with up to six eggs in a clutch.
In captivity, breeding pairs use nest boxes, where the female stays for 26 days to hatch the eggs while the male feeds the babies. Chicks are born blind, sensitive to light, with just a few downy feathers and an average weight of 7 grams.
White-Bellied Caique Caring
White-Bellied Caiques require a lot of attention, which is determined by how much time owners have available. The White-Bellied Caique is a social bird that enjoys being paired up with a member of its own species whenever possible.
However, they should not be paired with other bird species in most cases. Because of its hyperactivity, this bird needs plenty of areas to roam about. Keep this in mind when selecting a cage.
They will hop and crawl about their habitat nonstop during play hours. To provide security for your bird, pick a cage that is both durable and trustworthy.
Toys are also very significant to this bird species. If you want to keep their crazy antics under control, have a variety of toys in their cage and on hand for swapping them.
This will allow you to observe playtime when you are unable to actively participate in keeping your bird company.
White-bellied Caique diet
Captive parrots frequently suffer from malnutrition, despite it being a preventable condition.
We will discuss what your white-bellied caique requires to remain healthy and happy, beginning with the foods they consume in the wild.
- Wild white-bellied caique diet
Let’s consult the scientific literature to learn more about white-bellied caiques’ diet in the wild. As an avian vet, I will always advise you in accordance with research. Lee et al. (2014) looked at 190 white-bellied caiques in their natural environment.
They counted at least 44 distinct plant species consumed by birds. The diet of wild white-bellied caiques changed with the seasons. They often ate fruit seeds and seeds from other plants.
They also consumed several fruits, many of which were still green. Flowers and flower buds rank third. Wild caiques supplement their diets with leaves and bark in addition to these three staples.
They have been seen eating ants and frequenting clay licks, where they ingest soil to supplement their diet with essential minerals.
- Captive white-bellied caique diet
Water is essential for the survival of any pet. Your bird will stay healthy and happy if you provide it with a full cup of clean, fresh water every day. Make sure the water you give your White-bellied Caique has been boiled, chilled, and filtered.
This guarantees safe water to drink. The health and happiness of your White-Bellied Caique depend on the quality of the food you provide. Feeding your bird a high-quality pellet mix for the first 50–70% of its diet will set it on the correct track from the start.
They really enjoy quinoa, chia seeds, and pumpkin seeds. In the same way, white-bellied caiques need a diet rich in seeds. These seeds need to be soaked before being used as a food source.
As a result, they require less chewing effort and are more pleasant to consume. Feeding your white-bellied caiques a little bit of seed every day can help them maintain a healthy diet. Don’t go with store-bought seeds when selecting seeds.
You might be giving your bird an unhealthy dose of fat and preservatives without realizing it. The White-Bellied Caique, like other birds, requires a varied fruit and vegetable diet.
To prevent chewing difficulties, these delightful snacks should be thinly sliced or finely diced before being offered. You can also feed your bird pureed fruits and vegetables.
Common Health Issues Of White-Bellied Caiques
The White-bellied Caique parrot species is generally considered healthy. Common parrot diseases may theoretically affect them, although this seldom occurs in practice. If not cared for properly, problems like feather plucking and beak swelling might develop.
Sadly, they have a high risk of polyomavirus.Birds less than four weeks old are particularly vulnerable to polyomavirus infection. The gastroenteritis caused by this virus can quickly affect the bird’s kidneys and eventually its heart.
If the infection is not detected and treated quickly, it can be fatal. Those who adopt a White-bellied cat can benefit from a vaccine that protects against the disease.
If you care about your new pet’s health, you should get it vaccinated as soon as possible after adopting it.
White-bellied caiques play an important role as seed dispersers since fruit makes up a large portion of their diet. For food and breeding sites, they compete with other Amazonian parrots.
Rivals include the blue-headed parrot, orange-cheeked parrot, dusky-headed conure, and white-eyed conure.
Parasites like lice, mites, fleas, germs, viruses, and fungi can cause skin and feather diseases in white-bellied caiques.
This is just like many other species in the order Psittaciformes. Parasitic illnesses are common in newly introduced birds and those who spend a lot of time on the ground.
According to the ICUN, the White-bellied Caique is critically endangered in its native habitat. Deforestation, together with hunting and poaching, is seen as a major threat to the species’ survival.
From Where you can get a White-Bellied Caique
The White-Belled Caique is becoming more popular, so it shouldn’t be difficult to track down the ideal pet for your home. It’s possible to adopt a White-Bellied Caique from a parrot breeder, pet store, or even a parrot rescue.
Birdsnow.com and petbirdbreeders.com have white-bellied caiques for sale at price ranges from $1500-$2500 dollars. Research the seller’s history to make sure they handle their birds ethically before buying or adopting a bird from them.
The White-bellied Caique is one of the noisiest and most entertaining pet birds you can own. These birds want to be your friend while enhancing your appearance.
You and your White-Bellied Caique will become inseparable if you give it lots of attention, treat it well, and can stand the bird’s highly energetic antics.
Ali Shahid is a veterinarian by profession and an animal lover. He loves to give expert opinions about different animals. He has worked in top organization of birds like Bigbird Feed and Poultry Research institute. He loves birds, especially parrots and has great experience in different parrot farms.