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Budgerigar

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Avg. Owner Satisfaction

3.9/5

(753 Reviews)


Is the Budgerigar right for you?

Species group:

Other common names: Budgie; Parakeet; English Budgie; American Budgie; Canary Parrot; Warbling Grass-Parakeet; Cocorito; Shell Parakeet

Scientific name: Melopsittacus undulatus

The basics:
The Budgerigar is the most popular pet parrot of all time. If trained young, while there is still dark barring on the head, they can learn to be very affectionate. Although their voices aren't always super-clear, they're enthusiastic talkers, and some Budgies learn dozens or (more rarely) even hundreds of words. They're active, social, and reasonably hardy. They're a great starter bird for the beginner's first parrot, yet they can challenge the breeder and show trainer for a lifetime. Most adults are fairly easy to sex, with the males having a blue cere (nostril region) and the females having a brown cere.

The English Budgie is a larger show bird that has been bred for steady nerves, so that it stays calm and shows well. They are certainly attractive, but they are more prone to obesity and fatty livers than the slender so-called American or pet Budgerigar, so you must take care to exercise and feed them more carefully to head off such problems.

The wild Budgerigar is a wide-ranging nomadic species of mostly arid or semi-arid regions of Australia. It is a highly social species, found in flocks that might usually be around 100 birds but which can be several thousand birds. They are naturally light and graceful flyers, so it's best to keep their wings properly clipped so that they can exercise by climbing and playing with toys, rather than zipping around the house. If a flighted bird escapes outdoors, it can become confused and fly a very long distance in the wrong direction, causing you to lose your pet forever.

Appearance:
The natural plumage of this small parakeet is mostly green with a scalloped pattern on its back and wings. Thanks to their willingness to breed in captivity, they're a favorite for people who love to create color mutations-- allowing you to choose from an endless variety including many shades of blue, white, yellow, pied, and more. You can even find individuals with fine crests.

Weight:
22 - 32 grams (0.8 - 1.8 oz.)

Average size:
18 centimeters (7 in.)

Lifespan:
8 - 15 years

Behavior / temperament:
The Budgerigar is highly recommended to the first time parrot owner. A young bird will go to you almost right away. You can easily train these active, people-pleasing parrots to climb, play, and even to talk or whistle – although many people suggest that you do not allow the Budgie to hear any whistling until it already knows how to speak. They honestly seem to know how to use their voice or their actions to make people laugh.

However, I believe it is unrealistic to expect to be able to tame an adult bird that has never had the proper training. Those birds should not be taken on as pets by the beginner; instead, they might be better as part of an aviary or breeding program. Always bear in mind that the Budgerigar is a highly social bird that would not be alone in the wild, and they like life and noise around them, rather than a dead silent house. Spend time playing with your Budgie every day. With these easy-to-handle birds, it isn't a chore; it's a delight.

Housing:
Even a Budgerigar can chew, so provide a powder-coated metal cage of at least 24”w x 18”d x 24”h for a single pet. Install a variety of perches of different sizes, to reduce wear on the bird's delicate feet. I like to provide an assortment of toys designed specifically for these small, energetic birds, but sometimes people complain that a single Budgie can become too aggressive if given a mirror. Handle your new Budgie every day, and start right away if you plan to teach the bird to talk. Like many smaller birds, they have to learn to appreciate people and to talk at an early age, or they may never learn at all. Offer a playpen area, but also make sure that the bird spends time climbing on your arm and body. These affectionate birds will benefit greatly from being socialized at an early age.

Diet:
The Budgerigar is a hardy, ground-foraging bird that evolved to roam widely in arid or semi-arid territory in search of seeding grasses, agricultural grain, and water. I have been told of Budgies that cannot even recognize pellets as food. Offer a high quality seed-based diet, including regular servings of freshly sprouted greens. They love playing with leafy greens that you put in the water dish, so encourage them to get their greens by splashing a dark green edible leaf like kale or swiss chard in water. You may be able to encourage them to widen their diet a bit by allowing them to sample the food on your plate, but make sure any poultry is well-cooked, and never allow them to try avocado or chocolate. However, the reality is that most Budgies are not very adventurous eaters. Consult with your vet or breeder to decide if you should supplement the diet with vitamin A or a multi-vitamin.

Written by Elaine Radford

wonderful

delightful little creatures, Fantastic Australian Gem, gorgeous appearance, great personalities, cheerful

challenging

constant chitter chatter, messy bunch, respiratory problem, cage clean everyday, ocasional fighting

interesting

American budgies, english budgies, immitates whistles, American Parakeet, easy keepers, mimic men

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