The Caique is known by a variety of names such as the Seven Color Parrot, Yellow Thighed Caique, Black Headed Caique and the Dancing Parrot. There are, however, two Caiques, namely the Black Headed Caique (Pionites melanocephala) and the White Bellied Caique (Pionites leucogaster). Over the years they have slowly become more popular as pets, as they are known for their playful personalities, curiosity and entertaining talents. Their wonderful coloring is another beautiful feature that they offer, and more bird owners are starting to warm up to the Caique as a pet bird.
Growing to a length of approximately nine to ten inches, the Caique is a relatively small parrot. The Black Headed Caique has black plumage on its head, with green just below the eyes and orange cheeks. Green plumage covers the upper tail feathers and wings, while its belly is beige, with grey coloring to its beak and legs. The White Headed Caiques feature pink legs, yellow and orange head plumage, white bellies and green on the tails and wings. They can live an estimated twenty years and are very energetic.
Caique parrots crave the attention of owners, so owners need to be very interactive with them. These clever little parrots are able to quickly pick up and mimic tunes whistled to them. They do have the ability to talk, and speak in tiny high pitched voices. They need a lot of activities and toys to keep them stimulated, as they bunny hop, swing and roll to keep themselves entertained. Bells, ropes, swings and hoops are recommended toys for Caiques, as well as toys they can destroy by chewing and biting. They are able to adapt to being alone in a cage, or with a mate, but do not do well in a cage with other bird species, as they are known to become aggressive towards them and can deliver a harsh bite when provoked.
Nutrition wise, the Caique can be fed the same as any other pet parrots, supplemented with fresh fruit and vegetables. If bird owners are searching for a pet bird that they can cuddle, love and play with, the Caique is the ideal bird, as it is interactive, excitable and always ready for attention and love.
The practice of beak trimming is somewhat controversial, and in making up your mind as to whether or not to trim your bird’s beak, it may be helpful to look at why a bird’s beak may need to be trimmed. The beak of a bird is made up of the jaw bone, which is covered by a sheath of keratin known as rhamphotheca. Keratin is the substance that our fingernails are made up of, and just as our fingernails continue to grow, a bird’s beak continues to grow throughout its lifetime. In the wild, this growth is worn down through the bird foraging for food, eating a hard diet, using its beak to climb, grooming activities and rubbing its beak on abrasive surfaces.
To ensure a healthy beak, provide your pet bird with a range of toys to chew, preferably something with different textures, such as a rope with pieces of wood, mineral blocks, pieces of leather and tough fabric attached to it. Most pet stores have these types of toys for sale, or you could make your own. Providing a cuttlefish is always a good idea. While some may advocate the use of sandpaper perch covers, others are against them as they may be too rough for the bird’s feet and cause problems. Rather see if you can find a cement perch, which is made specifically to ensure beak and nail health. Be sure to house your bird in a sturdy cage appropriate to its size, as biting through flimsy bars of a cage can cause damage to your bird’s beak. However, despite taking all these measures, at times a bird may develop problems with its beak overgrowing, and when this happens, it is imperative to go to an avian vet for an assessment and treatment, as there are some medical problems which can cause beak overgrowth.
Bearing in mind that the beak is used for climbing and playing, as well as for eating and obtaining nutrients for overall health, if a bird is developing beak problems, the quicker it is dealt with, the better. It is a good idea to check your bird’s beak on a daily basis, taking note of any cracks, discoloration, flaking or overgrowth. If your bird’s beak appears to be growing unevenly it could be an indication of an imbalance of nutrients in its diet, or even an underlying problem such as a liver disease. Even if the overgrowth has no medical cause, trimming a bird’s beak is best left to an expert to ensure a minimum of discomfort to your bird.
Should you be concerned about any aspect of your pet bird’s health, including beak overgrowth and abnormalities, nothing can substitute for the care and advice provided by a qualified avian veterinarian.
Rosellas (genus Platycercus) can be found in the wild in various countries around the world, but are most commonly found in Australia. They tend to remain near the coast, inhabiting coastal plains and mountain regions, but can also be found in city parks and in the gardens of local residents. This beautiful and colorful parrot has also become popular as a pet bird, and there are a few facts and care requirements that future pet owners should be aware of before they decide to take on a Rosella as a new member of the household.
Growing to approximately thirty centimeters in size, Rosellas are one of the smaller parrot species. They are divided into two general groups, namely the white cheek and blue cheek group. Within these groups are various different Rosellas, such as the Tasmanian Eastern Rosella and the Golden Mantled Rosella that fall under the white cheek group, while the Crimson Rosella and the Adelaide Rosella are in the blue cheek group. They make wonderful pets as they have a lifespan of more than twenty years. Housing a Rosella in a metal cage or aviary is advisable, as they enjoy chewing on timber and wood. Cages and aviaries should also be large enough so the Rosellas are able to fly and get a certain amount of exercise. They do enjoy human companionship, but need a little freedom to enjoy a fulfilled life. A small bath is also recommended, as Rosellas enjoy bathing and playing in water.
These magnificent birds have a wide variety of dietary needs, so owners should be vigilant in offering their Rosellas more than just the usual mix of grey striped sunflower seeds, canary seeds and hulled oats. Rosellas also eat seeding grasses, berries, fruit and nectar, which are essential to their wellbeing. Breeding pairs should be kept on their own, as this will prevent the production of hybrids and birds should only be allowed to breed when they are between eighteen to twenty-four months old. Breeding pairs have been known to raise young until the age of ten years old. Over and above being spectacularly beautiful, Rosellas are very rewarding birds to have as pets. They are colorful companions and make wonderful additions to the family.
Clicker training is a positive reinforcement training method that makes use of rewards for desired behavior rather than dominance and punishment for unacceptable behavior. The clicker training method can be used to train almost any kind of animal, and bird enthusiasts are having a great deal of success in using this method for the training of birds.
The colorfulness and friendliness of Lorikeets may easily entice aspiring bird owners to bring one of these delightful birds home after a visit to the pet shop. However, it pays to do careful research about what is involved in keeping Lorikeets before embarking on this adventure.