Black-headed Caique named Douglas

Black-headed Caique

The Black-headed Caique (Pionites melanocephala melanocephala / Pionites melanocephalus) – also known as Black-headed Parrot, Black-capped Parrot or Pallid Parrot is one of the two species of parrot in the genus Caique – the other species being the White-bellied Caique.

This parrot is endemic to northern South America, specifically northern Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, and southern Venezuela – where it can be found in subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests or swamps. These parrots are social beings. In the wild, caiques are generally seen in pairs or flocks up to 30 birds, calling loudly during flight. Both black-headed caiques and white-bellied caiques prefer the same type of canopies and lowland forests.

These small-sized and high-energy parrots are popular pet birds that are known for their playful and mischievous personalities. Some refer to them as the “clowns” amongst the parrots. These intelligent birds are quick to learn tricks.

Their life expectancy is about 30 years.



The Black-headed Caique is slightly smaller than the White-bellied Caiquet, with an average length of around 9 – 9.2 inches (23 – 25 centimeters).

They weigh between 130 – 170 grams (4.5 – 6 oz).

The forehead, crown and nape (back of the neck) are black and stand out in stark contrast to the bright green plumage of the back, wing and tail feathers. The cheeks, throat, thighs, undertail and flanks are a bright yellowish orange. The black-headed caiques have creamy white abdomen and breasts. They have bluish primaries (longest wing feathers), greyish bills and black feet. Male and female birds look identical.

Juveniles have yellow/orange bellies.

Black-headed Caiques


Blackheaded caiqueCalls / Vocalizations

Caiques are very vocal birds that are known for their loud shrieks and alarm calls. Their vocalizations include trills, songlike sounds, as well as toots. The courtship behavior includes kleeek calls. Pet birds make soft low growl sounds. Their talking ability is limited; however, like many parrot species, they learn sounds that they hear in their environment, including wolf whistles.


Diet / Feeding

In the wild, they eat mostly flowers, pulp, and seeds and possibly insects. Please follow below link to learn about their captive nutrition.

Alternate (Global) Names

Chinese: ???? … Czech: amazónek ?ernotemenný, Papoušek cernotemenný … Danish: Sortkronet Korthalepapegøje … Dutch: Zwartkopcaique … German: Grünzügelpapagei, Grünzügel-Papagei … Finnish: Mustalakkiaratti … French: Caïque à tête noire, Caïque maïpouri, Caïque maïpourri … Italian: Caicco testanera, Pappagallo testanera … Japanese: zuguroshiroharainko, ?????????? … Norwegian: Svartkappet hvitbukspapegøye, Svartkronet Hvitbukpapegøye, Svartkronet hvitbukspapegøye … Polish: barwinka czarnoglowa, barwinka czarnog?owa … Portuguese: cabeça-preta, maipuré, marianinha-da-cabeça-preta, Marianinha-de-cabeça-preta, periquito-de-cabeça-preta … Russian: ???????????? ?????????? ???????, ???????????? ??????? … Slovak: tepuj ciernohlavý, Tepuj ?iernotemenný … Spanish: Cotorra Pechiblanca, Lorito Chirlecrés, Lorito Chirlicrés, Lorito Gordo de Cabeza Negra … Swedish: Svarthuvad vitbukspapegoja

Black-headed Caique - from front, back and side view

Incubation Data:

  • Average Clutch Size: 3 eggs / Incubation: 25 – 27 days


Caiques as Pets – Personality Traits 

Housing Your Caiques

Black-headed Caiques


Black-headed Caique (Pionites melanocephala melanocephala / Pionites melanocephalus)

Care and Feeding:


Pallid Caiques:

Species: Scientific: Pionites melanocephala pallida … English: Pallid Caique … Dutch: Bleke Caique … German: Blasser Berlepschs Grünzügelpapagei … French: Caïque à tête noir pallida

Description: As Black-headed Caiques (melanocephala) pictured above, but all orange plumage yellow; breast and abdomen whitish … Length: 23 cm (9 ins)

Distribution: Southern Colombia, North-eastern Peru, Eastern Ecuador, Brazil … CITES II – Endangered Species

Breeding Data: Average Clutch Size: 3 eggs; Incubation: 25 – 27 days

Black-headed Caique as pet

Species Research by Sibylle Johnson


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