WHITE BELLIED CAIQUE (Pionites leucogaster) ©Roundtoad
Endemic in the Amazon Basin in South America. They generally prefer forested areas and subsist on fruit and seeds. Caiques (kī-EEK) are generally canopy dwellers, spending most of their time in the tops of trees, foraging and playing. They are highly vocal and typically seen in pairs or small groups.
The two species of Caique also exhibit a unique behavior known as ‘surfing’, where the bird will vigorously rub its face, wings and chest against a soft item (e.g. carpets, towels, cushions, crumpled paper, curtains or human hair) while using its beak to pull itself along. This behavior is thought to be a cleaning or bathing motion and occurs regardless of age or sex. In the wild, Caiques use wet leaves instead of carpets or towels.
They have a peculiar call which has been compared to a smoke alarm, used for warning and for making contact with flock members who are out of visual range. This call is high, piercing, and loud enough to alert flock members across the jungle (or a neighboring apartment.) They are extremely active, prefer lots of physical interaction and playtime, and are prolific chewers.
They have also been nicknamed in aviculture as “the dancing parrot” for their habit of hopping and “dancing”, especially when encouraged by rhythmic clapping.
Caique wing feathers produce a distinctive whirring sound in flight.
Fact Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caique
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