Species group: Australian Parakeets
Other common names: Budgie; Parakeet; English Budgie; American Budgie; Canary Parrot; Warbling Grass-Parakeet; Cocorito; Shell Parakeet
Scientific name: Melopsittacus undulatus
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.
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.
22 - 32 grams (0.8 - 1.8 oz.)
18 centimeters (7 in.)
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.
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.
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
delightful little creatures, Fantastic Australian Gem, gorgeous appearance, great personalities, cheerful
constant chitter chatter, messy bunch, respiratory problem, cage clean everyday, ocasional fighting
American budgies, english budgies, immitates whistles, American Parakeet, easy keepers, mimic men
Pretty and smart, but unsociable, untrainable, and loud.
Charlie is a handful. I think the clearest way to define his personality is with a pros and cons list, so I'll do that below: PROS Beautiful bird. His birdsong is very pretty. He can be very fun. He loves to run around the coffee table, run around the floor, and he has a sense of humor. This might bother other owners, but he likes to play tricks on people. An example is whenever he's out of his cage, he likes to fly as close to my head as possible and bop me on the head with his wingtip while laughing. Laughter, incidentally, is the only sound he can mimic very well. He loves his cage, and it's not difficult to convince him to 'go home' when playtime is over. CONS Extremely stubborn and difficult to train. In three months of constant training, he's only learned two commands -- 'go home' and 'step up.' When he doesn't feel like following commands, he bites. He screeches very loudly when he doesn't like something that's happening in the house. He does not like to spend time with people. He will sit on my hand for one minute or so, but he flies away after that. He doesn't play with humans, he doesn't spend time with humans. He prefers to ignore us unless we're feeding him or he's smacking us in the head. He mimics one human sound, and knows two words. His laughter is adorable, but he only says 'yup' and 'no.' His speech is not at all clear. Overall, I think he spent too long in the pet shop with no human interaction. Perhaps three months is not enough to tell, but I don't think he's going to come around. I'm not going to get rid of him, but it makes me a bit sad that he doesn't want anything to do with me if I don't have food in my hand..
From jhumes Jul 18 2017 7:39PM
A little bird full of personality
I found out Newton was a female a few months after she had been purchased. A friend gifted her to me for my birthday. She was hand fed and so she was used to being handled by humans but she still needed some training to get used to me. After she was used to me, we became fast friends. She would often sit on my shoulder or hop around my desk while I did homework. She did not like everyone though and would bite those who dared to touch her without permission. She loved to be scratched on her head but disliked belly rubs. Newton definitely needed a lot of attention, as Budgies are very social animals. Interacting with her every day was important. Feeding her a varied diet was tricky. She would pick out bits of food from seed mixes that she disliked and throw them on the floor of her cage. I experimented with fruits and veggies and found that what she liked one week would change the next. She was a curious bird and loved to make noise. Definitely not a bird for someone who enjoys peace and quiet! Covering her cage at night was essential to signal it was time for bed. Cleaning was easy enough, but if seed was not changed often enough, sometimes husks would blow around and make a bigger mess. Newton passed away as a result of a malignant tumour. She had been a very good friend to me and so her passing was very sad but she lived a very full life as a little budgie..
From seestephrun Oct 23 2016 7:56PM
Parakeets are not for Me
Birds are definitely the messiest basic small animals that you can get, and parakeets are no exception. I had rescued two parakeets from a hoarders house where the animals were removed. I then discovered that although I was happy to have rescued them and give them a good home, I was definitely not a bird person.
I kept them in a pretty large cage for their size in a spare room. I quickly realized that if I didn’t want feathers and bird feed all over something, I shouldn’t put it in that room. Keeping up with the cleaning of not only the birdcage but also the entire area where it sat, was a constant task. A parakeets’ food consists of tiny seeds that the birds get to after removing the itty-bitty shells. These shells along with molted feathers tended to be all over my guest bedroom no matter how often I vacuumed.
Parakeets are also very difficult to hand train. To hand train a bird means that they will sit on your hand when brought out of the cage instead of flying around your house like a lunatic. Unless you have some experience and a whole lot of patience, these pets are for viewing and listening pleasures only. In the morning, they would sing. They loved it when the sun rose and the birds that were outside began their own tunes and my parakeets would join right in. To some, this might be a peaceful way to start their day. For me, it was too early to be woken up every single day (parakeets don’t understand the difference between a weekday and the weekend!).
I don’t wish to scare people who are seriously considering being a bird owner. I do, however, want it to be understood that just because it’s a tiny bird in a pretty cage, it is a huge responsibility and can be extremely frustrating if you hate the amount of cleaning more then you love your birds, as it was in my case. Birds are very beautiful creatures and many people greatly enjoy their company. I, unfortunately, am simply not a bird person..
From KelseyRose92 Aug 23 2015 8:50PM