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Welcome to the Caique Site. 

New addition of Picture Archive. The feathers on the top of the head an on nape of this white-bellied caique seem to glow when illuminated with a black-light. I took this photo before I contacted Prof. Davidhazy who did a proper job of photographing the fluorescence of these feathers. When you look at a black-headed caique under a black-light, only the feathers on the nape glow.


Latest updates and reminders:



   My book has finally been published. I no longer have any author copies available, so to secure a copy you need to go to either the Avian Publications or Amazon websites. 

     With the publication of my book, I took down the online Caique Manual. My book contains all the the information that was in the online manual plus much more. You can take peak inside it at the Amazon website. I want to thank all the reviewers on that website for their kind comments .


   Update on Ripley!! There is a picture of Ripley, an unusually colored caique, in the Picture archives. We assumed Ripley was a male. Well, this year Ripley laid an egg! She is now 20 years old, so this was a bit of a surprise to her owner Scott Blum.

   I have added another site in the Emergency Links. It may be helpful for those suffering bereavement from the loss of a pet. It was brought to me attention by Marylyn Brooks. It is a page from a the Safenet Company's website.

   There is a new addition on the arts and crafts page. I received a Christmas present of two felt caique Christmas tree ornaments. They were made by Carla White of Distinctive Avian Designs.

   Floss, who bought a caique from me many years ago, pointed me to a website that sells a jigsaw puzzle of birds that includes a Black-Headed Caique. To find it on the web, go to the Ravensburger website, click on the U.S. flag and then type "jungle" into the search window of the new page. 




   This is a link to something completely unrelated to caiques. This link takes you to a set of technical science papers I wrote that never got published in the peer reviewed literature. I did have many papers published, but I was never afforded the opportunity to battle to get these few published. 

   William T. Cooper, who painted all the parrots for Forshaw's Parrots of the World, has a very good website showing much of his recent work. I highly recommend a visit.





   The next annual Convention of the American Federation of Aviculture will be held August 7-10, 2013 in Raleigh, NC.

   The next World Parrot Congress will be held September 22-25, 2014 in Puerto de la Cruz, on Tenerife in the Canary Islands, Spain.





   Haiwei Yin et al. has published a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reporting that the iridescence in Scarlet Macaw feathers is due to photonic crystals. the  title is "Amorphous diamond-structured photonic crystal in the feather barbs of the scarlet macaw." This is a completely new mechanism to explain parrot "color" if we include iridescence as a form of color. This type of iridescence is similar to that seen in opal gem stones. 


   There was a major drought in Amazonia that may be associated with the world wide climate change (The 2010 Amazon Drought, S.L. Lewis et al., 2011, Science vol. 331, p.554.). Millions of trees have died and if the drought persists, it threatens to affect the rest whole world's climate by eliminating a major CO2 sink. See this report from the National Geographic.


   The Ring-necked Parakeet has naturalized a bit too well in England according to this report in the New York Times 


   On the American Society for Microbiology website is a study of bacterial feather degradation. The bacterium Bacillus licheniformis can degrade a feather in only 24 hours!

   The New York Times had a recent article entitled "New Jungles Prompt a Debate on Rainforests" suggesting that some jungles are recovering. I find it hopeful, but is contrary to what I observed in Brazil.  


   I have discovered another antique print of the black-headed caique. It was painted by John Frederick Miller in 1775. The only one I know of that is older is by George Edwards and dates from 1751. This bird was a present to a Miss Ray, beloved of the Lord Sandwich. I do not have an image that I can post, but you can see it and buy a print of it at the Science and Society Website. 


   The Barber Institute of Fine Arts in Birmingham, England had an exhibit entitled "The Parrot in Art." It ended on April 29, 2007 but the website is still up.


   The New York Times has published an interview with Joseph Forshaw, author of many books on parrots including Parrots of the World, on September 5, 2006. This is a man who truly loves parrots.


   The late Alba Ballard was famous for dressing up parrots. The New York Times presents a slide show from Arne Svenson's book "Mrs. Ballard's Parrots." Alba dressed up her parrots in stylish clothes and photographed them. Her menagerie 

   While mucking about in Google archives I found this. It is a story about Maj. Gen. Arthur Brown. He saw service in the Philippines and later became the President of the "Administrative Committee for the Leticia Trapezium." This is the southern most point in Columbia and was the site of a war between Columbia and Peru that ended in  June 1934 when General Luis Sanchez Cereo, President of Peru, died. The League of Nations formed this committee to mediate the end of the dispute. He brought a caique back with him after that service, and it was still living with him in St. Petersburg, Florida in 1943. 

       [That the General was enamored of caiques is clear from an ad he placed in the magazine Aviculture in 1938 that read "WANTED--two Black-headed male caiques. Major General A. W. Brown (Retired). Judge Advocate General's Office, War Dept., Washington, D.C.]

© 2001 through 2011 by John McMichael.  First posted on net May 19, 2001 and periodically updated. All rights reserved. No part of this website may be commercially reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or via any information storage and retrieval system, without permission from the copyright holder. Please notify the author of any errors or omissions.

I wish to acknowledge the staffs of the Library of Congress, Carnegie Museum Library, Cornell University Library, Rochester Public Library, and the Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi. I am also indebted to the many caique owners and breeders who have shared their knowledge. I especially want to thank Ms. Terri Fields for her assistance in obtaining many of the references cited in this website. 


This web site is devoted to the medium sized parrots called caiques. These feisty birds are rapidly becoming popular pets.  To learn more about them, click on the hyperlinks on this page.


Caiques are divided into two species and five subspecies*. Because the common name can vary from country to country, and even from person to person, the following common English names are used in this site:


Pionites melanocephalus = Black-headed caique

 Pionites melanocephalus melanocephalus = Black-headed caique. 

 Pionites melanocephalus pallidus = Pallid caique.

Pionites leucogaster = White-bellied caique

 Pionites leucogaster leucogaster = Green-thighed caique

 Pionites leucogaster xanthomerius = Yellow-thighed caique

 Pionites leucogaster xanthurus = Yellow-tailed caique

*Note Pionites, the Latin genus name, is considered masculine gender. According to taxonomic rules, the species and subspecies names are adjectives of the genus name and should have same gender. Thus, the correct species name is P. melanocephalus. One often sees P. melanocephala as the scientific name for the black-headed caique. I suspect this due to the earlier use of the genus name Caica. Caica is feminine in Latin, and melanocephala would have been the correct species name if Caica had been retained. David and Gosselin (2002) provide more details on this.


Guide to information in this site:

Caique Food Manual. This is a set of pages about the caique's favorite foods--those that are safe to feed, some that are not so safe, and a bit about what they eat in the wild.

Publications and Presentations. This is a collection of articles and summaries of presentations on caiques that that I wrote for avicultural magazines or presented at meetings.

Common Names for Caiques. This is a list of common names for the different species and sub-species of caiques in several languages.

Early Caique Breeding Records. This is a table of breeding records from before 1980 when the breeding of caiques was considered a rare event. 

Parrot Glossary. This is a large glossary of terms related to parrots that I have gathered over the years.

Bibliography. These are references consulted in the preparation of The Caique Site.

Sanitizers and Disinfectants. This is a list and description of sanitizers and disinfectants used for cleaning bird cages and equipment.


Links to other websites:

Emergency Links. These are links to sites that deal with veterinary emergencies and grief from the loss of birds.

Parrot Research Links. These are sites where you may learn more about aviculture, avian medicine and avian conservation.

DNA Sexing links. These links connect you to companies that offer DNA sexing of birds.

Aviaries and Zoo Links. This is a list of public Zoos and Aviaries of interest to caique and parrot owners.

Government Links. These are links to Federal, state, and CITES treaty regulations related to pet bird ownership.

Non-Profit Organization Links. These links connect to national and international organizations interested in parrot conservation and aviculture.

Other Websites and Chat Sites. This is a list of links to other sites containing good caique information. Some are commercial sites.

Arts, Crafts, etc. These are links to sites selling fine arts, crafts and other items related to caiques.

Posada Amazonas and Tambopata Research Center. This page describes a trip five other parrot lovers and I made to Peru in November, 2001.

Brazil: Pantanal, Serra da Araras, Cristalino Lodge, and Humaitá. My search for the yellow-tailed caique. 


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