Black-headed Caique Pionites melanocephala (Linné)

Also known as the seven coloured parrot.

Description: Green on upper wings and strip under the eye; forehead, crown and nape black; band to nape, throat, flanks and thigh orangey yellow; breast and abdomen creamy white; under tail yellow-orange; primaries violet blue; tail upper side with yellow tips; underside dull olive yellow; bill blackish; feet dark grey.

Length: 9 inches (23 cm).

Distribution: Guyana and Surinam; South East Colombia; North East and Southern Venezuela; Brazil in states of Para; French Guiana: Roraima and Northern part of Amazonas.

Aviculture: This parrot is generally quiet but can give a shrill call. They are confident parrots that soon get used to their owners. They are inquisitive and playful. They need to be kept separate from other parrot species. Be careful when acclimatising they can get chilled and pick up cold infections. Minimum flight area 8x3x6 feet (2.5x1x2m).

Breeding: They are successful breeders, generally breeding starts in April, the nest should be lined with bark, feathers etc. They clutches are generally 2-4 eggs, incubation is 26 days, fledging at about 70-80 days. The young are independent by 90 days, nest box size is 10x10x20ins (25x25x50cm). They are very aggressive during breeding.


Diet:
Variety of fruit and vegetables, a good seed mix containing safflower, oats, canary seed, groats, assorted millets, hemp and sunflower. Sprouted seed should be added to their diet during the spring and summer, also add regular mineral supplements, dog chow and rearing food as well as cottage cheese before and during breeding.

As a Pet: This small parrot is big in character, they clown about and have several whistles. They can mimic human speech. They need to be taken out of the cage daily for fuss and exercise. As with all pet parrots it's important to buy one as young as possible preferably a week or two after weaning, the best pets are handfed. Make sure that the breeder/pet shop is reputable. Typical feed a variety of fruit and vegetables, a good seed mix containing safflower, oats, canary seed, groats, assorted millets, hemp and sunflower. Suitable minerals and supplements from time to time.
 
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