Natural History

There are two recognised species of caique: Black-headed Caique, which occurs north of the Amazon River, and White-bellied Caique, which occurs in areas south of the Amazon River. Black-headed Caiques (two subspecies) occur in Brazil, the Guianas, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. White-bellied Caiques (three subspecies) occur in Brazil, Bolivia and Peru. The map below shows the native distribution of caiques in the wild. Caiques inhabit humid and evergreen rainforest up to 1000 m above sea level.


BLACK-HEADED CAIQUE Pionites melanocephalus

Also referred to as Black-headed Parrot and Black-capped Parrot. Two subspecies of Black-headed Caique occur:

1. Pionites melanocephalus melanocephalus is the nominate subspecies and has orange legs, flanks and under-tail coverts. Distribution: Brazil, north of the Amazon River; French Guiana, Suriname, Guyana, south east Venezuela and south east Colombia.

2. Pionites melanocephauls pallidus is a pallid form, with yellowish legs, flanks and under-tail coverts. Distribution: southern Colombia to north eastern Ecuador and north eastern Peru.



WHITE-BELLIED CAIQUE Pionites leucogaster

Also referred to as White-bellied Parrot. Three subspecies of the White-bellied Caique occur and differ by the combination of colouring of the legs, flanks and tail:

1. Pionites leucogaster leucogaster is the nominate form and has bright green legs, flanks and tail, with yellow under-tail coverts. It is often referred to as the green-thighed caique. Distribution: northern Brazil but south of the Amazon River.



2. Pionites leucogaster xanthurus is referred to as the yellow-tailed caique and has golden yellow legs, flanks, tail and under-tail coverts. Upper-tail coverts are green. Distribution: northern Brazil (western Amazonas).



3. Pionites leucogaster xanthomerius is referred to as the yellow-thighed caique having yellow legs and flanks with a green tail. The under-tail coverts are yellow. Distribution: northern Brazil (western Amazonas), eastern Peru and northern Bolivia.