Caiques have been called clowns of the bird world for good reason — the clown is a truly appropriate metaphor for this high-energy, medium-sized mischief maker. You haven’t seen playful until you’ve seen a caique in action. Well known as the clown of companion birds, caiques are loved by bird fanciers for their outgoing nature and ability to make people laugh with their playful antics. The proper way to pronounce caique is “kai-eke” — don’t ask for a “cake” at the bird shop, or they might point you to the nearest bakery! If the African grey parrot is the intellectual of the bird community, and the macaw is the show-off, then the caique is the clown. Caiques have been called clowns more often than Barnum and Bailey have had shows in three rings, and for good reason-the clown is a truly appropriate metaphor for this medium-sized mischief maker. Two species of caiques are commonly kept as pets: the black-headed caique (Pionites melanocephala) and the white-bellied caique (Pionites leucogaster). The yellow-thighed caique, a subspecies of the white-bellied, is also kept as a pet, though it is less common in the pet trade. The black-headed and the white-bellied caique have a similar appearance, with a few obvious distinctions. They both are about 9 to 10 inches long, and their color composition is relatively simple, with “sections” of the bird in green, orange, yellow, and white. Black-headed CaiqueThe black-headed caique has, obviously, a black head and black beak, while the white-bellied has, you guessed it, a white belly (so does the black-headed, incidentally), horn-colored beak, and a bright orange and yellow head. The caique is a stocky bird, surprisingly heavy for its size, as most new owners will point out.