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
I had a pair of parakeets I kept as a pet for nearly 10 years (which isn't quite that long for these guys as they can live 10-15 years). I bought my pair from a local PetsMart, a male and a female bird. They lived together quite happily in the same cage, which I kept near a window. (I grew up in the southern US so we didn't have to worry about the cold). It was nice because I also fed the wild birds outside and on nice days I would open the screened window and the birds would talk to each other. Unfortunately my birds never learned any words, but boy could they squeal when they were unhappy! They will let you know. Mine would tease my cat from their cage and then scream when the cat got too close. NOTE: be sure your cat can't open the cage, mine did and we had to put locks on the sliders. These birds are relatively easy to take care of: food and water daily. Provide supplements like a cuttlebone. It comes from the cuttle fish and is calcium-rich. Many people will also offer their birds fruits and vegetables, just be careful to keep a balanced diet. If they are in a small cage it would be good to let them out but be warned that unless they are trained it will be hard to catch them again. Birds will also chirp along to the television or radio if you play it for them, it's pretty amusing and it gives them something to do too. Overall these are a nice little pet to have, and a good option if you are interested in having birds as pets because they are a good introduction to the proper care and training of parrots. Larger birds are NOT beginner friendly. It's also worth noting that not all veterinarians will care for birds. You must find a local exotics veterinarian that will do so. I recommend you do this BEFORE you take home any birds, better to have one when a problem arises than to have to find one during an illness or emergency..
From janice-love Dec 16 2018 9:57PM
ivermectin is considered a safe, effective treatment for mites
Budgies in particular seem to be highly susceptible to scaly face mites, and oral medications like Avimec or Ivomec (I've seen it sold under both names) have worked very well for me. The disease can disfigure the face, beak, and feet of budgies and other small birds, but this particular treatment is very effective.
Ivomec can also be given as a preventive measure against common mites that torment our pet birds. Follow the instructions. Dali, the bird in the photo, once suffered a brief problem with mites, but it was quickly dealt with.
Of course, be sure your problem is actually mites. This medication can't fix a problem you don't have. But I feel like this product has a place in the medicine cabinet of most aviaries..
From peachfront 182 days ago
Stress reduction is part of the process
Since I have adopted several older or rescue birds over the years, I maybe take stress reduction for granted. Calming the bird, letting the bird have a look around the place, etc. is a pretty natural process. The vet check and the actual travel to the new home may seem quite stressful to the bird, but I follow up with 30 days of "quarantine." This gives you the opportunity to observe and work with your new bird one on one, as well as allowing additional time for any health problems to crop up. The quarantine area should be a quiet, uncluttered area where you can work with your bird, or, at times, maybe just work on other things or read a book while the bird observes you from nearby. Don't force yourself on the newcomer. Keep the active training sessions short, a few minutes at a time, and let a lot of the time just be hanging out. It goes a long way toward getting the new relationship off to a good start.
From peachfront 178 days ago